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England v West Indies 1st Test

England 553-5 dec & 284-8 dec v West Indies 437 & 89-0 (match drawn)

England and West Indies drew the first Test after rain and bad light limited them to only 20 overs on the final day.

More than three hours were lost after showers arrived 35 minutes into the morning and the light worsened 12 overs after play resumed at 1530 BST.

In between, Chris Gayle (47) and Daren Ganga (31) had few problems as the Windies ended on 89-0, chasing 401.

Matthew Hoggard (thigh) was sidelined again and is set to sit out the second Test starting on Friday at Headingley.


By Ben Dirs


e-mail (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject) or use 606


1754: I've just looked at the word count on this clockwatch, and bizarrely we've written more words between us than we did for day one. Odd. Right, that's a wrap folks. Sorry it's all been a bit rubbish today, although, as always, your chat has been exemplary. I'm only on day five for the second Test - you will be in the hands of Tom Fordyce for most of that one. Enjoy, and see you all soon.

1741: Sorry about that, got sucked into a chat about the state of British boxing and who's going to write a piece about it. Right, a final decision will be taken at 1800, but take it from me, this game's dead.

1713: Mark from Leeds has asked how many emails I get an hour. Well, we have thousands and thousands and thousands a day, so that's a few hundred an hour I s'pose, but it might be more than that. Is that any help? I've just heard that the next World Cup will have 53 matches compared to the recent World Cup's 51. Who said the ICC doesn't learn from its mistakes? Boycott is putting the cricket world to rights on TMS - go and have a listen, he's talking a lot of sense.

Geoffrey Boycott
"The World Cup was terrible, it just went on and on, people thought it was tedious, pointless, and it didn't do West Indies cricket any good and it didn't do cricket any good."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

1710: Any England rugby fans out there, I've just been told I'm doing South Africa v England live on Saturday, which has virtually guaranteed Brian Ashton's side will be stuffed 60-0...

"Carefully remove all the screws holding your colleague's keyboard together then phone him up pretending to be the IT Helpdesk, asking him for the keyboard serial number that's on the underside. Watch in horror as he turns it over and all the keys and springs fall out."
Chris in the TMS inbox

"Ben, have you realised your name sounds a lot like Benders?"
Graham Clinton in the TMS inbox

1659: The umpires are out in the middle and, rather dispiritingly, Aggers says he can barely make them out from the TMS commentary box. Alec Stewart has rated the England players on his latest blog - have a look on the adjacent link...

"A couple of my favourite office japes: empty the hole punch into a colleague's umbrella or Sellotape the little springy-up bit of the phone down, so that when your colleague picks up the receiver, the phone keeps ringing. What is that bit of the phone called anyway?"
Hornetfish, Hemel Hempstead, in the TMS inbox

"One time, everyone in my office scanned in our faces and hands pressed up against the scanner (would recommend closing your eyes) and set the pics up as our desktop backgrounds. The room looked as if we had all been sucked inside our computers in some cheap horror movie."
Christine, Northampton, in the TMS inbox

1651: Not looking good folks, this game needs to be put out of its misery like the rabid badger it is turning out to be. Sarah from Bucks asks if I'm doing the Headingley Test, to which the answer is "only the fifth day", which, modern Tests being the way they are, means I probably won't be doing any of it. Tommy Fordyce is on for days one, two and four and Mark Mitchener is on day three.

"Do I win the prize for your most ignored correspondent?"
Carole, Maidenhead, in the TMS inbox

"Given the enormous outlay of resources required to stage a modern-day Test match, wouldn't it be slightly less ridiculous to have some sort of reserve days back-up system to prevent the kind of farcical situation we are currently witnessing? Where on earth do the relevant cricketing powers-that-be think we are playing these Test matches? Benidorm?"
John Lewis in the TMS inbox

"I would like to complain about all these computer jokes posted in your column. It's people like me in IT support who have to fix these problems, which in turn takes us away from the much more important cricket."
Tom, Leeds, in the TMS inbox

"Do you think that Johnny Borrell always wears white because he's hoping for a game?"
Melanie, Oxfordshire, in the TMS inbox

1632: Right, this isn't looking good, the Lord's scoreboard is lit up like the Piccadilly Circus advertising hoardings. My bet - no more play tonight...

"If you pour coffee into the hard drive of your work colleague's pc, it will start sparking and smoking. However, ensure the fire bucket is not being used as a jousting helmet, you may need this."
Huw, London, in the TMS inbox

"More computer tomfoolery: wait until a colleague leaves their desk, take a screen print of their current screen, save it as a JPEG, open up the picture and press the F11 key. It all looks normal but when they try doing something they will find nothing responds. Laugh at bewildered faces of said colleague."
Glyn, Lancs, in the TMS inbox

"Shouldn't Johnny Borrell from Razorlight entertain us with the England Ashes anthem Before I Fall To Pieces when rain stops play? Like Cliff Richard does at Wimbledon."
Ian, Bristol, in the TMS inbox

"Right, dane thot rolwr thlnf om tfer jeys, naw wgat dq I dq?"
Lee Kernan in the TMS inbox

"Using a ruler, the plastic type, not the Queen, you can lever off any of the keys on a keyboard and then swap them with other ones. It's fun to play on people who do not touch type."
Matt W, Norwich, in the TMS inbox

1614: Gayle launches Plunkett over wide mid-on for four before picking up a brace over mid-off with a top-edged pull. The umpires have a chat and players are off. A few boos and catcalls and this is all a bit depressing after four days of splendid cricket. 89-0

1611: Ganga turns Monty through mid-wicket for three before Geoffrey Boycott is sent into raptures in the TMS commentary box, Ganga coming down the pitch and lacing Monty through the covers for four. Very murky out there now - let's be honest, this is all a waste of time, isn't it? 83-0

1606: Crackerjack straight drive from Gayle off Plunkers. Gayle is having trouble picking up anything short of a length and he misses out with a Lare-esque flamingo shot. Gayle works Plunkett off his legs and a fine full-length stop from Monty limits the batsman to just two. Doozy of a delivery last up, Plunkett getting one to pitch and leave Gayle's lazy waft. 77-0

"Why does tea still need to be taken? They've had enough rest and time to scoff themselves as it is. Play through 'til 7pm with only a drinks break you soft muppets."
Sara, Blackburn, in the TMS inbox

1603: Just a single from Panesar's over. 71-0

1559: Gayle, as if someone's nailed his feet to the crease, has another wild and windy woosh at Plunkett. Rib music from Plunkers and Gayle didn't like that, fending it off to an imaginary short-leg. What is going on with these fielding positions? Odd. Many of you, like me, have fallen foul of the despicable Kevin from Ebbw Vale and are asking how to fix it...seriously, you can work it out yourself... 70-0

"Can you please publish the fix to Kevin in Ebbw Vale's Alt Gr tomfoolery? My neck hurts."
James Hopkirk, London, in the TMS inbox

1556: Ganga plants his front foot and whip-cracks Panesar through the covers for four. Ganga picks up one more for a tickle down to long-leg for one and the left-handed Gayle is on strike. Gayle looks to hammer Monty straight down the ground, but Monty gets something on it to limit the big man to just one. 65-0

1552: Ganga punches Plunkett through cover for three. Gayle has a nibble at one outside the off-stump before trying some humpty and missing. If he'd connected with that, the ball would have ended up in Croydon. Monty's coming on! 59-0

1547: Gayle picks up a single with a defensive poke. Not much atmosphere at Lord's, as you might expect. There's the odd drunken shout and the odd bit of barracking, a bit like walking through Bas Vegas at 3am on Sunday morning. 59-0

"Another way to pass the time is to switch your mouse and keyboard wires with the person sat opposite you. When they sit down after getting a coffee, they may be a bit shocked to see their cursor moving about on its own and the computer typing insults at them..."
Steve in the TMS inbox

1543: Gayle nudges Plunkett through extra-cover before Plunkers goes up for a decent lbw shout against Ganga, but umpire Rauf thinks that was sliding down leg. Someone has just sent me a trailer for the new Rambo film...please do not disturb for the next three minutes... 54-0

1539: I wonder if Gayle does anything with any effort? I'd like to see him doing a stint as a trawler or a removal man. I was a removal man in Sydney for six months. What those Aussies do with anything marked 'fragile' you would never believe...maiden from Harmison, but he's really not posing any questions. Get Monty on, Straussy, there's a good lad... 51-0

1535: Plunkers gets one past Gayle's tentative prod before the big man makes room and swings the Durham man through cover-point for four. That's the Windies 50. 51-0

1531: Right, we're off, England have 49 overs in which to take 10 Windies wickets...Harmison's first ball is a rank long-hop and Ganga slathers him over gully for four. That's Ganga's 2,000th run in Test cricket. Can someone please explain to me why England have only got three slips? Does Strauss think Gayle's going to score a double-ton in less than 50 overs? GET SOME MEN ROUND THE RUDDY BAT MAN! This country...jaffa from Harmison last up and Ganga is beaten all ends up. 47-0

"I am sick of having to read people's utter nonsense criticising Michael Vaughan. Vaughan is by far the best batsman in the country and is an outstanding and inspirational captain who deserves his place in the England team for years to come. Now leave him alone!"
Mrs Vaughan, Yorkshire, in the TMS inbox

1526: Harmison and Plunkett are out in the middle marking out their run-ups and we have play in six or seven minutes. No pressure lads, but you've got to bowl their entire team out in about three hours.

"Is the Langdon School that David Miller refers to the one whose choir recorded I Dream of Christmas with Anita Dobson? That's 'I dream of Christmas' with Anita Dobson, and not 'I dream of Christmas with Anita Dobson'. Which would just be wrong."
Rob, Edinburgh, in the TMS inbox

1519: Blowers on TMS reckons "it looks like very much like we'll get no play this afternoon and this match will be drawn"...wait a minute Blowers, Sky are showing pictures of the covers coming off and DI Gower reckons they're having an inspection in 10 minutes. I'll keep you posted...

"Don't worry Ben, I can't spell surreptitiously, either!"
Katie (more female company) in the TMS inbox

"To Kevin in Ebbw Vale, that is genius. Why has no one told me about this before? I look forward to seeing my boss turn his monitor upside down."
Huw James in the TMS inbox

"All the talk about Onions and Mustard up at Durham inspired me to produce an all-time Culinary XI: Fred Bakewell, Alistair Cook, Mark Butcher, Allan Lamb, William Oates, Ian 'Beefy' Botham, Edward 'Curry' Aburrow, Phil Mustard, Alan Peach, Derek Pringle, Graham Onions Would probably make an interesting feast!"
Craig, Exeter, in the TMS inbox

1508: Some female company at last (see Fiona and Jennifer below). A woman walked into our office earlier on and everyone went a bit quiet, slumped in their seats and tried to look at her surreptitiously between their computer and TV screens. One bloke on the football desk even giggled and snorted.

"Re Jonathan Jones' comment about cutting slots in a metal waste paper bin! I find this idea absurd. Why doesn't he use a metal fire bucket, cut two slots in it and use the handle to go over the chin, acting as a strap? This would be much safer and it would prevent the bucket falling off if the unruly office staff were throwing hole-punches at him."
Fiona Ross, Bishop Auckland, in the TMS inbox

"I don't think Vaughan should be around the England side at all. I am fed up of hearing him referred to as the 'England Captain'. Strauss is the England captain. I am sick of Vaughan hanging around the England camp like a desperate lover. He ought to be sent back to his county until he can prove he deserves to be in the England side on form."
Jennifer Reed, Manchester, in the TMS inbox

1501: Kevin from Ebbw Vale! You swine! I just fell for your dastardly trick and had to phone support to get them to put it right. The funny part was, he didn't know how to fix it, but I worked it out while I was on the phone. Does that make me more intelligent than the BBC IT people?

"An extension on the Russian Roulette theme - Nip over to your boss's computer whilst he's away from his desk and press Alt Gr (the key to the right of the spacebar) and the down arrow key. This doesn't work on all PCs, but does on quite a few. If it does, you can sit back and laugh as he comes back and stands on his head to view his screen." Kevin, Ebbw Vale, in the TMS inbox

1453: This is a load of old rubbish, the whole day could get wiped out at this rate, although I'm not sure where all this rain is coming from - I'm about three miles away from Lord's and there's hardly anyting coming down. Ho hum...

"I was in a game which was held up by an enormous hairy caterpillar which pottered across the square. As I was keeping wicket and therefore in possession of large gloves, I was duly directed to carry it to the boundary."
Greg Weaver in the TMS inbox

"I have to say that I agree with Boycs about Michael Vaughan. He should not walk back into the England team until he has scored some big runs for Yorkshire. This would accomplish several things. It would allow Shah a chance to stake a claim, it would allow Vaughan to confirm his fitness and gain some form which was just starting to re-appear at the end of the World Cup and it would provide a boost to county cricket."
Alex in the TMS inbox

"Jonathon, it's all the more fun with marshmallows though. Award 50 points if you can eat the article on the end of your opponents umbrella without being skewered. It's a high risk strategy, but with a little practice, it yields great rewards."
William, Essex, in the TMS inbox

"I went to Langdon School in 'the Wilds of East London'. We once bowled a team out for four, one of which was a no-ball, so don't feel too bad about you lacklustre performance."
David Miller, East London, in the TMS inbox

"I sell lead (that heavy grey stuff) for a living and was once told of an incident by some of my former colleagues. Sometime in the 80s, they stripped the leather off a cricket ball and glued it back around a 3Kg lead ball used for cleaning obstructions in pipes. During that day's lunch hour they were having the usual knockabout in a field near the factory when the company 'weekend willow waver' took to the wicket. Out of courtesy, they tossed the ball to him to allow him a practice shot. Keen to show off the skills that got him into the local town side, he decided to launch it toward the boundary. The rest, including his bat, his pride and several bones in his hands, is history."
Dave Tomkinson, Nevis House, in the TMS inbox

1434: Peter, Paul and Mary - the covers are going back on, there's more weather moving over Lord's...

"I'm not anti-Vaughan, I'm anti-indulging a player who hasn't played Test cricket for two years. We still don't know if he's Test quality - and why wasn't he off playing for Yorkshire yesterday?"
Mike Selvey on TMS

"Regarding Greg's (see below) idea of putting marshmallows on the end of your umbrella to avoid eye loss, I find by cutting a slot in a metal wastepaper bin and wearing this as a helmet there is no need for marshmallows."
Jonathan Jones in the TMS inbox

"Whilst playing for Belvedere under 13s here in Dublin, we played a schools cup match and made around 100 off 20 overs. We bowled out the opposition for 5! I took 7-5 runs and my opening partner took 3-0."
Conor in the TMS inbox

1414: There is some activity out in the middle and we have an inspection at 1430 BST. The umpires have said play could be possible at 1445, and rain has actually stopped. Cross everything.

1409: Right, I'm back...Lloyd Meredith screams: "Oi, Dirs! What are you having for lunch? I bet it's not as nice as the stuffed aubergine with couscous I just had." I had carpaccio of cauliflower with chocolate jelly to start, saddle of venison for main and an Angel Delight for afters. You win again...

1332: Right ladies and gents, I really need to go and get some lunch, so if I could politely ask you to stop emailing for a few minutes, it would be much appreciated. Hopefully we'll get some cricket sooner rather than later, but it's still raining at Lord's, sorry to say...

"May I suggest a round of 'email Russian Roulette' to pass the time? Type some particularly vitriolic text into a new message window, then look away, hit a random key and then send the email to the first person in your address book to come up. Trust me, it can cause quite a stir and if you are still in need of things to do to while away the time afterwards, explaining your way out of it can actually take several months of legal proceedings."
Ben Evans in the TMS inbox

"Jason of Manchester (see below) - if statistics backed your opinion regarding picking the same set of players, I would be right behind you with my banner. However, being as 'the same set of players' i.e Cook, Pietersen, Bell, Collingwood all scored 100s this Test, I feel your argument falls flat on its face."
Guy, Gloucester, in the TMS inbox

"Whilst playing for Royal Ascot, I was once pursued by a dehydrated, rutting stag on a blisteringly hot day in Bushey Park. I'm still not entirely sure whether its intentions were violent or amorous."
Sam Browne, Ascot, in the TMS inbox

"My church choir team got wiped out for a total of 10 at Claygate back in the '60s. Our stirring tally included six byes and yours truly top-scored with 2. And while I'm at it: I bet I'm the only person to have been shot with an air-rifle while batting for a church XI."
Graham Clarke in the TMS inbox

"Whilst on the subject of lookalikes, my wife and I happened to notice just how much our nine-year-old son, Liam, looks like Matthew Hoggard yesterday."
Mick Faver in the TMS inbox

"Pushing that youth off the train and killing him was the right thing to do. Think of the money the NHS would have wasted on him when he got cancer of the lungs. Well done Ben for saving the tax-payers money."
Andy, a rather dry Liverpool, in the TMS inbox

"Am I right in assuming that Adam Binks (see below) is not the health and safety officer at his office? He has made no mention of putting marshmallows on the tips of his umbrellas to avoid having your eye out."
Greg Weaver, Coventry, in the TMS inbox

1323: To RP (below): I have three words to say to you - Guardian, Times and Cricinfo. Guardian Unlimited provides witty and irreverent live updates from a variety of very talented journalists. I haven't read Times Online's efforts, but I think they are slightly more cricket-centric, and Cricinfo is a no-nonsense update service with the occasional quip.

"As someone who is condemned to have to read the generally puerile, frequently obnoxious and at times deeply offensive drivel served up by Mr Dirs and his like-minded chums out there, in order very occasionally to come across a nugget of information (far too often factually incorrect, in retrospect) about my beloved game of cricket, I marvel of the hypocrisy of those taking a swipe at Noel Edmonds and his equally pathetic show."
RP, Southampton, in the TMS inbox

"Pick Ramprakash again? Surely that would go against England's whole selection ethos of ignoring form and just persisting with the same set of players to the point of farce. You'll be suggesting dropping Vaughan next."
Jason, Manchester, in the TMS inbox

"So you reckon Borrell's been on the sauce? Still, I suppose it explains how he can think writing twee tripe like 'America' makes him better than Bob Dylan."
Jason, Manchester, in the TMS inbox

1313: Embarrassing cricket tales. When I was about 14, my school team played against a school called Langdon, somewhere or other in the wilds of East London. They batted first and racked up 180-3 off 20 overs. We got 13. My PE teacher called it the most humiliating day of his life. Years later, he got done for sex offences. I wonder what he thinks now.

"And now you've admitted it, Mr Dirs, you will be hearing from my solicitors. Did you happen to get 'Grandad's' name? I could do with someone else to sue as well. That'll learn you for thinking you're the law."
Nick Wesson in the TMS inbox

1303: For those writing in to complain that I never post your emails, my sympathies are with you. However, what is wrong with you lot?! It starts lobbing it down and my inbox starts throbbing with new missives like never before. You never had that much to say when Matt Prior was going berserk with the willow on Friday, a drop of rain and you're all pontificating on everything from 'have a go grandads' to office jousting...KEEP IT UP!

1258: Thank you, Andy, for your magnificent thesis on why old people are more likely to 'have a go'. I, for one, was just trying to get home without my nose being bitten off.

"Re: Older people standing up for what is right. I suspect there are several reasons why this might be so. Firstly they can still remember when it was the norm for youth to 'respect their elders'. Secondly they had family and friends who had fought and died to defend what they saw as "right" and are more ready generally to 'have a go'. We on the other hand have sadly come to accept things as they are, and we are perhaps more aware that little 'Smokin Joe' may well have a knife in his pocket and be quite prepared to use it over a ciggie!"
Andy, Halesowen, in the TMS inbox

1254: Still no break in the skies, we are nestled under a blanket of slate grey just about everywhere in London and the covers are still on at Lord's...

"In reply to Nigel from Edinburgh, my wife thinks Chris Gayle looks like Doctor Pratt from the series ER..."
John Hawes in the TMS inbox

"I think Chris Gayle has a hint of Laurence Fishburne about him."
Drew Campbell in the TMS inbox

"Dear David - why not fill up a coffee cup with small balls of paper and then pretend to trip as you deliver it to a female colleague. Never fails to cause hilarity and you have the bonus of scrabbling around her legs to pick up the debris."
Martin, Shoreham, in the TMS inbox

"David, why not office jousting? Get two wheeled chairs and a willing opponent, then get two umbrellas. Use the chairs as horses and away you go - one point for a chest shot two for the head."
Adam Binks in the TMS inbox

1241: Anyone see Kirsten Dunst and Johnny Borrell at Lord's at the weekend? I was quite shocked. Dunst looked like she'd been kipping on Pete Doherty's bathroom floor for the last eight weeks with only tins of mackerel and some cans of Bird's custard (and no can opener) for sustenance while Borrell looked like the bloke who fitted my kitchen last year. Winston Churchill once said: "I took more out of alcohol than alcohol ever took out of me." Alas, for fans of Dunst and Borrell, I don't think they can say the same.

1231: On TMS, they are talking about all sorts, but you can email in and ask them to play your favourite piece of commentary ever - apart from the Johnners and Aggers Beefy 'leg-over' clip, they had that on the other day apparently.

"Ben, you should feel proud for acting at all. I work as a police officer, and the total lack of care people show for each other these days is staggering. No-one ever wants to get involved. We got a call last week: 'There's a bloke lying in a field not moving. He's been there about 12 hours but I don't want to go check on him". And that's fairly typical."
Joe, Swindon, in the TMS inbox

"Was your story (see below) a casual confession of murder? Pushing him off a moving train for smoking seems a little extreme. You were probably right to hold back whilst the murderous pensioner went about his business, but the killing was a step too far..."
Michael Wilton in the TMS inbox

"Re. your altercation on the train Benjamin, good to see your journalistic research is taken to such highbrow levels as to read what must have been a two day old copy of a free rag on your trek back to chez Dirs. The licence payers hard earned is in good hands..."
Grogs in the TMS inbox

"Simon Langley Evans (below): Sir, I salute you. Not only can you spell a couple of rude body parts using your name, I also came up with these: A VEGANS LIME NYLONS, A LEAN GNOMES VINYLS SNIVEL ON MY LASAGNE. I just hope my boss is equally impressed when I turn up empty handed with those figures he wanted by midday."
Gumbo, Shenfield Cricket Club, in the TMS inbox

1221: Still raining its backside off at Lord's, all the covers are on. Mark Ramprakash? Would you consider him again for the England team?

"Can Andy also inform Mr Edmonds that although it is nice to see him and his wonderfully trimmed beard back on TV, having 21 people rhythmically chanting 'Blue, Blue, Blue' will not affect the colour of the piece of card inside a box sealed by 'an independent adjudicator' any more than chanting 'Sun Sun Sun' will give us some more play at Lord's."
KG, Wandsworth, in the TMS inbox

"After squinting at Channel 5 last night, I finally realised who Corey Collymore reminds me of. It's Marvin Gaye, circa 1971, and his classic What's Goin' On period. But Chris Gayle looks like someone famous too, and I can't think who. Can anyone help?"
Nigel, Edinburgh, in the TMS inbox

"Now the cricket is off, can any readers suggest any amusing office games I can play to wile away the boredom? I have limited resources, but any reasonable suggestions will be considered."
David in the TMS inbox

1211: Who do you fancy being on Strictly this year? I assume it's become obligatory to have a cricketer on each year. Dominic Cork?

"Worthing - just charity shops and an ironmongers? That's outrageous - we have some nice coffee shops, a pier that hasn't burned down and some of the finest Peruvian buskers this side of the Andes."
Russ, Worthing, in the TMS inbox

1206: Right, if you lot are to be believed, we have clear skies in Leicester, Exeter, Cumbria, Southampton, Swansea, York, Salford and Ottery St Mary. Some of that's got to blow London's way at some point in the near future, surely...

"In reply to Tim (see below), I have to say that's a bit of a slur on Worthing. We also have one of the highest concentrations of 'pound' shops in the Western world. Certainly plenty of places for Treacle to get herself something nice...and cheap!"
Tom Mills in the TMS inbox

1201: I almost had a punch-up on the train last night. Some clown sparked up a cigarette and started blowing it all over everyone like Puff the Magic Dragon and an elderly gentleman took exception and tried to wrestle it from his hand. "@$*&@ off grandad," was the horrible youth's pithy reply, at which point I discarded my Metro and entered the fray and we pushed him off. Why is it always old people who step into the breach first? And should I feel ashamed at not acting sooner?

"Matt Prior is on to a winner if he takes his girl to Worthing for a special treat, especially with weather like this. They could sit in Macaris Ice-cream parlour on the front and watch the wind whip the drizzle across the dilapidated pier."
Clive Padgett in the TMS inbox

1156: Amit emails to tell us it's "nice and dry in Leicester". Cosmic, Amit. What's it like in Marbella?

"Andy (see below) can you explain to Mr Edmonds that there is no way to play a 'good game' when picking random numbered boxes for someone to open and then maybe gunge him."
Paul Unseld in the TMS inbox

1143: Matt from Bristol has just asked me what the most boring match I've ever done a text commentary on was. It's a toss-up between Dott v Ebdon, Snooker World Championship final 2006, and the entire Cricket World Cup 2007. If I remember rightly, Dott was wearing some nice patent leather shoes in that final, so probably the cricket.

"In response to Andy from Huntingdon, I have a question for Noel Edmonds: Who does he think would be a more effective replacement for Hoggard? Mahmood or Mr Blobby?"
Ash in the TMS inbox

"The weather is glorious here in York, could they not plonk the players, umpires and the crowd on the 12.06 from Kings Cross to York and set them up in the field that overlooks my office? My desk would be the perfect vantage point for Aggers and the boys, I might even be able to rustle up a Victoria sponge."
Stephen, York, in the TMS inbox

"Suggestion for Sarah from Bucks (see below): go as Treacle. You'd get a good day of cricket, and if it rains, Prior might give you a roll of twenties and you can go up West instead."
Simon Langley-Evans, Nottingham, in the TMS inbox

1133: Umpires Rauf and Koertzen have a conflab and they decide to play on. Well done chaps. And it's Monty time! No it's not, the umpires have had a change of heart, players traipse off and on come the groundstaff. Sorry ladies and gents, this is all very frustrating...

"As Matt Prior is based in Brighton & Hove, if he implored his girlfriend to 'go up west', she'd end up in Worthing, where there are only charity shops and an ironmongers."
Tim in the TMS inbox

1131: Gayle is having a go at this, make no mistake. He punches Plunkett through point for four before opening himself up and marmalising the Durham man over mid-wicket for another. It appears to be lobbing it down everywhere apart from Lord's at the moment - "it's raining knives and forks" says Martin in Kilburn. A bumper from Plunkett and Gayle ducks underneath. 42-0

"I've got tickets for Deal Or No Deal on Friday. Does anyone have any messages they would like passed to Noel Edmonds?"
Andy, Huntingdon, Cambs, in the TMS inbox

1127: Gayle tickles Harmison round the corner for a couple and Monty needs a few tries to field it, like he's trying to pick up a particularly deadly scorpion. Four byes from Harmison down the leg-side...not getting much better this. Monty! Get those fingers loose...Brollies are going up, I'm afraid to say. 34-0

Christopher Martin-Jenkins
"It looks like drizzle and it almost smells like drizzle, but it's certainly not sufficient to drive anyone off."
Christopher Martin-Jenkins on TMS

1123: Plunkers drops just short of a length and Gayle steers him through the covers for four. That's a ropey old shot from Gayle, trying to heave Plunkett over I don't know where and missing. Those two shots were Gayle in a nutshell. 27-0

"Suggestion for Sarah in Bucks: Any Test crowd will always appreciate a young lady dressed in a St Trinian's uniform."
Phil Day in the TMS inbox

1119: Plenty of chirp from Prior behind the timbers. I can't say I've ever heard Prior speak, but he strikes me as a bit of a 'geezer'. In fact, if he had a row with his girlfriend, I reckon he'd make-up with her thus: "Sorry treacle. Here's some money [PULLS OUT THICK ROLL OF 20s], take yourself up West and get yourself something nice...[SMILES, WINKS, SLAPS TREACLE ON BACKSIDE]...and tight..." Harmison drops short and is flailed through the covers for four. Harmy then strays onto his pads and is flicked away for a few. Hmmm.... 21-0

1115: Better line from Plunkers but he's not really asking any questions of the West Indies batters. 14-0

1110: This is better from Harmy before he shows a bit of dog, digging one in short and subjecting Ganga to the whiff of leather. Ganga, however, picks up three with a push into the covers. 13-0

Geoffrey Boycott
"I don't think it can be a technical thing with Harmison because there are plenty of ex-pros who can tell him he's falling over and pushing the ball down leg-side, so it must be a mental thing..."
Geoffrey Boycott on TMS

"I think Sarah from Bucks (see below) should go as Frank Spencer."
Tom, London, in the TMS inbox

1106: Gayle dabs Plunkett into the off-side for one. Quick single, KP a bit rusty in the covers, he got down to that like Metal Mickey. Plunkers is getting plenty of hoop away from the right-handed Ganga and he's showing a lot more control than he did last night. Ganga does pick up a single with a flick off his hip. 10-0

1103: Harmison has first go and his first delivery is wide outside off-stump at about 80mph. Cloud cover - check. New ball - check. Three slips - check. It's all there for you Harmy, go get 'em sunshine. His second delivery is wide down leg-side, but he almost removes Gayle with his third, another down leg that Gayle contrives to balloon to mid-wicket. One for it, and one from the over. 8-0

"I don't fancy revising or working later on either. It would only take me an hour to get there but if I get caught, there could be hell to pay. Any fancy-dress ideas that I would be able to rustle up quickly to stop me from getting busted would be much appreciated."
Sarah, Bucks, in the TMS inbox

1058: England are out on the field and they fall into their weird little huddle. Here come Gayle and Ganga and we're almost off.

1056: Harmison is having a run-out in the middle - Mike Selvey is suggesting on TMS that he might have the cricketing equivalent of the 'yips', and who is anyone who has seen him bowl in this match to argue. England, with Hoggard on the sidelines and Plunkers also bowling like Tim Rice at a charity match, need the big man today. Monty, I hope you had a good sleep...

"I don't fancy teaching today. Can I jump on a train and come down to watch. I could try and blag it as some sort of educational field trip..."
Rebecca Williams in the TMS inbox

"A Michael Fish wannabe here with the very latest weather situation for you. Radars show heavy outbreaks of rain moving north into Kent and Sussex now, and it's not far from London. And there's plenty more in the Channel moving north. Not looking good I'm afraid."
Paul, Suffolk, in the TMS inbox

1049: Bit nippy in London today. The pitch is looking in pretty good shape, according to Mike Selvey on TMS. "I think it will still play pretty well," says Selvey. However, Monty could still get a bit of turn out of the rough into the left-handers...Cash only by the way if you're planning on heading to Lord's.

1046: Some word on Chris Gayle, who was struck what could have been a devastating blow to the jaffers by Steve Harmison shortly before stumps last night. The good news for Gayle is he is no longer wearing them as earrings. The bad news is the swelling has almost entirely gone down.

1041: Morning all. Bit of weather about today - could be frustrating. Not many people in at Lord's but if you've got the day off, don't fancy double maths (that was a joke - education is groovy, kids...) or can't be bothered turning up for that exam on the Viking invasion of England you haven't revised for, jump on a train and get down there - 20 for adults, 10 for OAPs, under-16s free.

0930: "The forecast suggests rain could spoil the final day and with 98 overs to survive the West Indies will be searching for all the help they can find."
Jonathan Agnew on Five Live

"West Indies I predict will try to blow Monty out of the attack with the sweep and playing over the top"
Rob Whittle in the TMS inbox



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