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PAKISTAN FIRST INNINGS (ENGLAND 233)
So that's it from me for today, thank you for your company and Stuart Broad stories. Mark Mitchener is in the seat for day two - join him from about 1030.
So what are the prospects for Frid...I mean Thursday? Yasir Hameed is looking as solid as three-day old porridge and should England scuttle nightwatchman Riaz early doors, they'll have Mohammad Yousuf and his 7431 Test runs to contend with. The former Pakistan captain has a batting average of 53.07, which rises to 70 against England with a highest score of 223.
Can I just say how much I've enjoyed your tremendous contributions today? No?
From Tom, Knutsford, Bracknell, text 81111:
"I once saw Yasir Hameed in a series of BBC Historical sitcoms with settings ranging from the Middle Ages to World War II... Erm... I think..."
From Phil in the UAE, TMS inbox:
"Today I saw (former Arsenal and England left-back) Nigel Winterburn in a Hotel reception in Abu Dhabi. We both looked at each other and then did a double take, which I found strange because he is probably more famous than me."
At last! A proper day of Test cricket this summer. Kudos to Pakistan to come back fighting after yet another humiliating defeat at Edgbaston. Remember Andrew Strauss opted to bat first after winning the toss, while Salman Butt admitted he would have done the same had he called correctly. On reflection he'll probably revise his opinion from this morning, especially after the performance of debutant Wahab Riaz, a left-arm seamer with a penchant for bowling fast. The 25-year-old says Eoin Morgan's dismissal was his favourite of his five-wicket haul.
From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox:
"Further to enquiries (1518hrs), I am happy to announce the forthcoming and long-awaited 'Monopoly of TMS Live Text Comments' World Tour this autumn. The tour starts on 1st October in Burnley, followed by appearances in many venues as far away as Haslingden, Oswaldtwistle, Accrington and even Clitheroe. More information at www.howtogetpranavbenmarktomandotherstopublishyourlatestinanewitterings.com"
From Kevin, Italy, TMS inbox:
"In reply to you at 1815, How about this? "Hard-hitting controversial strokeplayer Imran Farhat dramatically blocks out his 31st successive dot ball off Steve Finn, who once walked past my house."
DAY ONE: ENGLAND 233, PAKISTAN 48-1 1836: Pakistan 48-1
Anderson, bowling from around the wicket, gleans a thick inside edge as Farhat pushes outside off stump, but manages to chop the ball back on to his stumps. Huge relief around the ground - but it's not the end of the day's play. Out comes nightwatchman Wahab Riaz, who maybe regretting his earlier tete-a-tete with Anderson during England's first innings. Unsurprisingly, the Burnley Express bangs a short delivery in to the debutant followed up by a stare which could cut through bank vaults. The last ball of the day is a nasty inswinging yorker to the right-handed Riaz, but umpire Tony Hill shakes his head and says not out. Good decision too as replays show the ball clearly missing leg stump. Cracking day of cricket, well done everybody.
1831: Pakistan 48-1 Wicket Farhat bowled Anderson 11
Farhat's played on!
1830: Pakistan 44-0
After playing with so much composure, Yasir Hameed almost loses the plot as he attempts to smash Graeme Swann to Lord's but completely misses the ball. Fortunately for him the ball hits his foot, otherwise he would have been stumped by a couple of feet. Swann is looking threatening though, this time provoking an uncertain bat-pad chance which evades the close fielders. Swann absolutely rattles through that over and looks like we're gonna get another over.
1828: Pakistan 44-0
Anderson installs three slips as he opts to bowl around the wicket to Imran Farhat, presumably attempting to line up the left-hander with a couple of inswingers before slipping in the one that goes the other way. There's a huge shout for an lbw or caught behind appeal, but umpire Tony Hill shakes his head. A swift conflab and Strauss decides against opting for one of his referrals - and good job too as Hawk-Eye shows the ball would not have hit the stumps while Hot-Spot reveals there was no contact with the bat either. Close though.
From Gareth, Birmingham, TMS inbox:
"I held the door open for Alistair Cook at Edgbaston last week and he didn't say thank you. In my book that's reason alone to drop him."
1823: Pakistan 44-0
With no joy for his so-far rampant seamers, Strauss tosses the ball to Graeme Swann, who very nearly bags yet another wicket in his first over as a ball bites and keeps low past Imran Farhat's outside edge, but the ball spins too much and misses the off stump. Not too dissimilar to that
dismissal at Edgbaston. And after an eternity stuck on six, Farhat eventually adds to his total with a single through square leg. Encouraging start for the off-spinner.
1820: Pakistan 43-0
While Imran Farhat shuts up shop, Yasir Hameed is single-handedly keeping the total ticking as he adds a couple through midwicket off Anderson, who is not having his own way like in Nottingham or Birmingham. Maybe he can only swing the ball like bananas in places that end in ham. Like Petersham. Or Wrexham. Or Brisbaneham.
From John, Hornchurch , TMS inbox:
"I gave Stuart Broad a little wave outside his hotel on the day he went on to take 5 wickets against the Aussies at the Oval last year. I'd like to take a little credit for his performance that day."
1815: Pakistan 41-0
Imran Farhat blocks out his 31st successive dot ball off Steve Finn. Try dressing that up into some irreverent, light-hearted yet informative and editorally justified banter at this hour.
From Tony, Bristol, TMS inbox:
"Graham Hick once strolled past me- quite oblivious as to who I am. He is quite a tall chap."
1811: Pakistan 41-0
Sublime from Yasir Hameed, dispatching Stuart Broad through extra cover for yet another expansive drive for four. Wonderful shot, a high elbow finish, the sort of shot I imagine PBH May or WR Hammond would play with regularity in their day. Excellent post-stroke flourish too from the right-hander.
From Asher, Karachi, TMS inbox:
"Don't be fooled by Yasir Hameed's stylish strokeplay. After making two hundreds on debut against Bangladesh, he averaged 26 in his next 22 matches. "
1807: Pakistan 37-0
Finn keeps it full and around off stump, but no movement to keep him excited. Farhat isn't exactly a picture of confidence, but he's playing with circumspect which will please his under-pressure captain.
From Owen, London, TMS inbox:
"I saw Stuart Broad at the urinals in a swanky London club. I pointed him out to my friend, who thought he was the guy from Busted. It was a bit awkward."
1802: Pakistan 37-0
Broad is building up a decent head of steam, rattling the splice of Yasir Hameed's bat with one which spits from a good length. Hameed holds the follow through of a rather elegant defence as Broad gathers and finishes his over without conceding a run.
From Chris Hughes, TMS inbox:
"I've had enough of working late and am going home, so it's irrelevant whether or not you print this."
1758: Pakistan 37-0
Two-thirds of The Oval is bathed in radiant sunshine as Steven Finn is introduced for his first joust of the day. And the Middlesex man has Imran Farhat groping feebly outside off stump on two occasions with absolute jaffas. Nothing the opener could do about those, he could have another bat attached and still not manage to lay willow on those bad boys. Maiden over. However, Farhat looks content to play the anchor while Hameed unravels the fireworks at the other end.
From Paul, Luton, TMS inbox:
"In reply to Lynchy, I knew somebody would make one up eventually."
1753: Pakistan 37-0
Yasir Hameed is a class act, leaning on to his front foot and dispatching Broad through extra cover for boundary number four, swiftly followed by number five as a controlled nudge finds its way past the diving left hand of Kevin Pietersen at gully and down to third man. I remember Hameed scoring a hatful of runs against India a few years back in Pakistan, but was dropped for the corresponding series on Indian soil in 2007.
From Barney, Newcastle, TMS inbox:
"In the early 90s Chris Broad owned a wine merchants on Hotwells Road in Bristol. He sold some fine Beaujolais, Bordeaux and Rioja."
From Lynchy, TMS inbox:
"I once saw Alastair Cook in the middle of a cricket pitch for two hours."
1749: Pakistan 29-0
Uh-oh, the sun is out. History from the previous two Tests suggests the pitch will be as flat as Alastair Cook's confidence. Anderson keeps it tight but can't find a way through Farhat's defences.
From Kingsley, TMS inbox:
"I once said 'hello' to Paul Collingwood at a village fete near Chester-le-Street. You know what he said to me? 'Who are you?'"
1745: Pakistan 29-0
Creamy boundary from Yasir Hameed, punching Stuart Broad on the up through extra cover for a sumptuous boundary, swiftly followed by a wristy cut through backward point for four more. What in Flashman's name was that? Hameed hits a six over first slip - with the back of his bat. How to explain... Hameed gets in totally the wrong position to pull a shortish delivery, but somehow manages to make contact with the wrong side of his bat. But the contact is so good it sails over the boundary rope. Hameed breaks out in a nervous grin, a similar expression to what Stuart Broad is wearing. Extraordinary.
From Stuart Rider, Bracknell, text 81111:
"Stuart Broad has the same first name as me."
1741: Pakistan 15-0
James Anderson commits a front-foot error and is called for a no-ball, but he's making the ball swing nicely. The extra is the only aberration of a promising over.
From Carol, Portugal, TMS inbox:
"You haven't printed a single message from a lady / woman/girl all day, except for Heather from Fareham. Why have you gone all misogynistic? I've sent several highly amusing emails as well, which you've ignored completely. Sniff sniff."
1736: Pakistan 14-0
Broad cramps Hameed up for run, but the opener squirts a single through square leg while Farhat steals the single from the last delivery of the over. No real discernable movement for Broad so far.
From Vicky, Hampshire, TMS inbox:
"Collingwood once walked into a hotel bar that I was in raucously celebrating a friend's 21st, him and his Durham team mates took one look at us and left. Not quite the party person our Paul!"
1732: Pakistan 12-0
Anderson offers width outside off stump and Hameed obliges by scooping the ball over the slips for the first boundary of the innings. Not sure whether that was intentional or not but effectively nonetheless. A man in a wedding dress joins a French maid, complete with four pints of amber nectar. The French maid was also a man, before you all start demanding descriptions. Another boundary follows, although Imran Farhat wasn't quite in full control of the stroke as a thick outside edge rolls away to the vacant third man boundary.
From Angus, TMS inbox:
"I saw James Anderson once at a test match at Chester-le-Street. He was wearing a pair of shoes."
1728: Pakistan 3-0
Stuart Broad, arms swinging like pistons, offers no buffet bowling as Farhat watches vigilantly, retracting his bat as the Nottinghamshire seamer probes outside his off stump. Maiden over.
From Matt Jarvis, Greenwich, text 81111:
"Stuart broad looked at my England flag in Barbados last year while my missus was in the first aid tent."
1724: Pakistan 3-0
Imran Farhat gets Pakistan off the mark with fine leg glance for a single off Anderson's first delivery, handing the strike over to Hameed, the first time England have had to contend with a left-hand, right-hand combination all summer. He's off the mark with a leg-side push for two. Encouragingly for England, there is movement.
We're out again and James Anderson will open the bowling.
From Chris Jose, London, TMS inbox:
"I saw Stuart Broad in a bar in Nottingham once. He had a pink shirt on."
Umpire Hill's finger goes up - and it's another good decision as Finn can't quite get his front pad outside the line of off stump against Ajmal. Mohammad Yousuf will be a relieved man, but I would urge you to watch the highlights to see the worst drop ever. But another impressive innings from Matt Prior, who is fast becoming England's most reliable batsman in a spot of bother. So England's seamers are once again in action under overcast yet humid conditions. But they have a different opening partnership to contend with as the recalled Yasir Hameed will open with Imran Farhat, with captain Butt dropping down to three.
From Bilal, knowing this won't get published because I said it won't and Pranav fancies a change, Lancs, TMS inbox:
"Seeing as everybody is acting all clever today (stress on the word acting) by using big words, I quite fancy getting in on the act (acting clever, not using big words). During the Sajda, strictly speaking, the ground is not kissed as per popular opinion/cricket tradition, it's actually just a straightforward prostration."
ENGLAND FIRST INNINGS - 233
1710: England 233 all out Wicket Finn lbw Ajmal 0
It had to end sometime soon - Mohammad Yousuf has just dropped the easiest catch you will ever see - even worse than that one from Umar Amin at Edgbaston as Matt Prior spoons a top-edge to cover. Seriously, my seven-year-old nephew would have pouched that. Behind his back. With his eyes closed. But it matters not as Ajmal has Finn trapped in front with the very next delivery.
From Joe, Southampton , TMS inbox:
"I saw Broad out and about in Southampton after the T20 finals, he looked about as pleased with that decision as he did when my mate suggested he joined us in the queue after failing to secure his private table. Well batted though, I'd back his batting over his dancing any day, like a giraffe with rollerskates."
1704: England 232-9
Smart running from Steve Finn, who turns an easy one into a very tight two as the throw comes in to the non-striker's end from midwicket. Matt Prior takes two steps down the track and thumps the ball right back at Asif, who collects the ball and hurls the ball straight back at the batsman. But the throw is a good two feet wide of the stumps and to make matters worse for the tourists, the Dukes cherry rebounds off Prior's heel and down to the fine leg boundary for four. Asif apologies as Prior goes off for a quick hop to shake off the sting, but I don't think there was any malice from the bowler. Prior once again steals a run from the fifth ball while Finn defends resolutely, a stroke met with huge cheers of appreciation from The Oval crowd.
1658: England 224-9
Prior eschews a single and chooses not to expose Finn at the start of Wahab Riaz's 18th over, a decision which allows him to caress a boundary through midwicket, lovely shot. Prior clips another leg-side half-volley through the area for four. A care-free Prior is a sight to behold in full flow, but he's also an intelligent operator as he drops a single to square leg from the fifth delivery, allowing Finn to shoulder arms to a delivery outside off stump from the last ball of the over.
1652: England 214-9
Wasted referral once again, it really should be used for the howlers, not just because you've got a couple left and might as well give it a go. Andrew Strauss would be livid if Matt Prior is given out when he really shouldn't be with no offer of a reprieve. Solid defence from last-man Steve Finn, but the cloud cover is back and the ball is moving around. It's probably a very good time for England to be in the field right now...
1650: England 214-9 Wicket Anderson lbw Asif 0
Mohammad Asif gets the ball to hold its line on middle and leg and raps Anderson on the front pad. A huge appeal is upheld by umpire Steve Davis, with Anderson immediately calling for the referral. And once again the replay confirms the ball would rearrange the batsman's furniture, so up goes umpire Davis's finger for the second time in a minute.
1646: England 213-8
Riaz kisses the ground (the sajda
) and celebrates his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket with a higher being, becoming only the sixth Pakistani debutant in history to do so in a first innings. New man James Anderson receives a sarcastic round of applause from Riaz following a forward defensive, probably not the wisest move considering the number of wickets Anderson has taken in this series. Not short of confidence this lad.
1642: England 213-8 Wicket Broad lbw Riaz 48
Ayayayayaaaaai! Stuart Broad attempts to marmalise Wahab Riaz through cover with a outlandish swish outside off stump, but forgets to move his front foot to the pitch of the ball, which kisses his inside edge and just misses his stumps. More fortune for Broad, who has been flirting with fortune throughout his innings. However, a slower ball traps Broad in front and a huge appeal follows - and umpire Tony Hill points his right index finger towards the skies. Broad thinks he has hit the ball and immediately calls for a referral, but the replay shows the ball clattering into middle and leg with no contact with willow. Third umpire Billy Bowden confirms this to Hill and up goes the finger for the second time.
1636: England 213-7
Mohammad Asif gleans an outside edge, but Prior's hands are soft enough to prevent the ball from carrying to Yasir Hameed, who took an excellent catch to remove Trott earlier. Another outside edge follows but once again falls short of the slips. Maiden over.
From Rob, Northants, TMS inbox:
"Stuart Broad has striking resemblance to a young Chris Broad. Quite spooky really."
1632: England 213-7
Pakistan are slowly unravelling here, a wayward Riaz delivery on leg stump brushes Stuart Broad's thigh pad and squirts down to the fine leg boundary for four. The ball is gun-barrel straight (does a blunderbuss count as a gun barrel?) with no deviation off the pitch.
From Matt, Lancashire, TMS inbox:
"To Nick in Windsor - I was just resizing my window to hide my lack of work, when the furious mouse dragging attracted some colleagues over to see what the excitement was. I'd got away with it up 'til then. Thanks."
1628: England 207-7
Sumptuous front-foot drive from Prior, dismissing the returning Mohammad Asif through mid-off for four incredibly gorgeous runs, bringing up England's 200. Who would have thought that possible at 1150 this morning? Another exquisite boundary is crashed through extra cover for Prior's 11th four of his innings, moving him along to 66.
From Phil Smith, text 81111:
"Whilst on the subject of fauna I feel obliged to correct your taxonomy. chances are if it was a fly, the insect offending Mr Broad was of the order Diptera not Hymenoptera."
1622: England 199-7
Wahab jostles his way to the crease, arms pumping, but sees Prior open the face of the bat and guide another expert boundary through slip for four down to the vacant third man area. Matty P is on the money right now.
From Nick, Windsor, TMS inbox:
"To 'Nick, continually getting caught reading the live text at work in Halifax' - the solution is to reduce the size of the live text window until it is only as wide and tall as each updated paragraph. Then one can simply place it at the bottom of one's screen whilst Outlook is open and it's very well concealed. I've been reading it for years and no-one in my office even knows I like cricket."
1618: England 194-7
Another industrious cut by Prior off Ajmal for two brings up the 100 partnership, the best against Pakistan for the eighth wicket. Oooof! Huge left-off for Broad as he pushes with hard hands at a delivery from around the stumps, but the ball squirts through the fingers of short leg. Missed chance.
1614: England 191-7
A scorching cover-drive from Prior unerringly picks out extra cover: no run. Riaz looking a bit tired, a bit slow and he's not finding lateral movement. Prior gets to his fifty with a slightly loose drive over gully for four, a well-played innings from him - and he should try to cash in and score a fair few more. Broad's lucky with one of his funny shots into the off-side, could have gone to mid-off, but lands safely.
1609: England 184-7
Ajmal into Prior, and there's a well-struck cut shot behind point for a couple to advance Matt Prior's score. A single down to long-on follows and he's round the wicket to Broad with this partnership now worth 90.
1606: England 181-7
And we're off again with Wahab Riaz bowling the first over of the third and final session under glorious celestial blue skies. "He's gone all Mitchell Johnson!" shouts the man to my left as the left-armer slings down a wide wide signalled wide by umpire Tony Hill. Broad plays what can only be described as a forehand smash high over extra cover for four to move to 44, a shot he could only really play at The Oval or Old Trafford.
From Nick, continually getting caught reading the live text at work in Halifax, TMS inbox:
"Was it a Conservative majority of cheetahs before this summer?"
From Mike Stockport, text 81111:
"Those who deem this service immature of infantile please take note. I had no idea what an ibex was being a jacuzzi-sitting, beer-swilling Neanderthal and was so inclined to Google (other search engines available - fairness ed
) said animal and find out. Thus encouraged to perform my own independent research as well as being provide with enthusiastic informative bat and ball commentary. License fees well spent I say."
From Raj, London, TMS inbox:
"Surely you can recall from numerous Sunday afternoons in front of the box that cheetahs are solitary hunters."
Surrey's chief executive Paul Sheldon is on TMS during tea where Aggers will be speaking to him about the rather inflated price of tickets which have contributed to the lack of a sell-out for the first time in donkey's years during the first day of a Test at The Oval. In the meantime, I'm off to eat fancy-shaped pasta.
From Richard, TMS inbox:
"Supremely confident you will use this...For goodness sake - it's a coalition of cheetahs not a pack. And you were doing so well with insouciant and pulchritude."
1542: England 175-7
Broad is ravaged by a wasp or some other buzzing insect, but the offending Hymenoptera is shooed away before a classic forward defence ends an intriguing second session. Very impressive resistance from England but this partnership, worth 79, exemplifies what a fine track it is for batting when the sun comes out. Which has been the story of this series so far.
1539: England 173-7
The Amir v Broad duel is back on, although the England man gets off strike with a single to mid-off from the first delivery. Prior, who had been so circumspect the over before, then totally loses it attempting to spank Amir to Clapham with an expansive drive, only forgetting to make contact with the ball. The wicketkeeper admonishes himself for his aberration, slotting back into doughty resistance with the rest of the over. Just enough time to squeeze one more over of tweak before tea.
From Doug, Bristol, TMS inbox:
"I had to pop home to walk my dog, Florence, at lunch. I watched a few overs on the telly. It felt like I was cheating on Live Text. I feel a bit dirty now though. Mind, I bet my telly is feeling used now that I'm back in your electronic arms."
1535: England 172-7
With five minutes to go before tea, Prior pulls down the shutters and closes up for business, getting everything behind the bat to keep Ajmal at bay. Maiden over.
1533: England 172-7
Amir, charging in with all the groundspeed of an isolated gazelle evading the prying attentions of a ravenous pack of cheetahs, sees Broad waft and miss outside off stump but nothing to prise his posterior from the crease. Maiden over.
From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox:
"I had not anticipated my first engagement with TMS Live Text a little while being untendentiously serendipitous in respect of the seemingly heuristic lexicographical developments now at play under your guardianship, Pranav. But then of course any serendipity is, but its very nature, closed to prior deterimination. How silly of me. Anyway, I think Broad's innings thus far reflects the unexpected but welcome qualities of the text nicely." This reminds me of that dictionary episode of Blackadder III...
1525: England 172-7
Saeed Ajmal attempts to introduce a modicum of variation bowling around the wicket, but Prior clips a well-flighted delivery on middle-and-leg through midwicket for his seventh boundary to move to 41.
From Liam, Sheffield, TMS inbox:
"I think you have got Stuart Broad all wrong. Surely he would be a lion. The pristine mane and occasional bad temper, but all round admired creature in the animal kingdom."
1525: England 168-7
Broad overtakes Prior's total with a beautifully controlled leg-side push through midwicket for four off Amir. Dander up, Broad attempts a lavish whoosh on the off side, but completely forgets to make contact with the ball. Apart from the boundary, a useful over from the teenager.
From Al, Poole, TMS inbox:
"See, live text is also educational. I looked up 'pulchritude' because my dad always uses it to mean 'utter rubbish'. I'll add it to the (short) list of misquotes that begun with 'Foist with his own petard'.
1521: England 164-7
Ah, just a quick change of ends for Saeed Ajmal, but still no wicket for the off-spinner. He probes outside off stump but Matt Prior's defence is as firm as Packhams pear I bought yesterday with the intention of eating today. It will probably be ripe by the time of the third Ashes Test. Just a single from the over for Broad, who moves to 34, just three runs off Prior's total.
1518: England 163-7
Salman Butt's brief soiree with spin is cancelled as Mohammad Amir is recalled, but the lithe seamer, who would probably be a gazelle if he was an animal on the African plains, cannot wedge either of these two out. Stuart Broad would be an ibex. I have no idea why.
From Hillsy, (not Paul), trying to locate Paul, Lancs workshop (not in Lancs), TMS inbox:
"I've just noticed, we haven't heard from Paul, Lancs all day? Does anyone know if he's alright? Or has he maybe created a touring workshop entitled 'Paul, Lancs, and the art off comment board monopolisation'?"
1514: England 162-7
Broad drives on the up, presenting a straight blade to guide a full Asif delivery past mid-on for four, although I don't think that's where he wanted the ball to go. Nevertheless, four thoroughly effective runs. Lovely shape from Asif, producing a beautifully semi-circular outswinger which Prior leaves well alone. However, this partnership is fast becoming like a rather annoying wasp which refuses to stop flirting with your ice cream for Pakistan.
From Jay, Thornaby, TMS inbox:
"RE: Irfan 14:50 - I've tried sending you my self amusing musings in the past to no avail so I'll try a new tack with hard facts, oh yes! Anyway, my understanding is the Pakistani players can forgo Ramadan whilst they're travelling, though they're expected to make up for lost time on their return. I make no promises for this being wholly accurate. If this doesn't get on the commentary I'll probably have to resort to "you won't print this but..."
1508: England 156-7
Ajmal continues but his doosra, unleashed so effectively at Edgbaston, remains behind closed doors for the moment. Nothing to cause alarm for either batsmen, who add three runs without any encumbrance.
From Jon, London, TMS inbox:
"You won't post this, but I'd like to complain in the strongest possible terms about the use of intelligent vocabulary in this live text update. Please can we return to the normal mindless nonsense as soon as possible. I nearly spilled beer in my Jacuzzi when I saw you use pulchritude correctly. Shocking."
1505: England 153-7
Broad throws the kitchen sink, the conservatory conversion and a landscaped back garden, with an organic vegetable patch at the back, at a wide Mohammad Asif delivery outside off stump through cover for four. Blimey, how did Broad keep that out? The Nottinghamshire seamer attempts to shoulder arms, but realises too late that the ball is swinging back into his pads and just evades his stumps. But he remains and moves on to 26.
1459: England 147-7
Huge strains of "catchit!" as the ball balloons high into the air off Kamran Akmal's gloves but evades the diving leg slip as Stuart Broad attempts to defend an Ajmal doosra. Didn't look like there was any willow on that though. Broad moves into the 20s with another sweep while Matthew Prior punishes a rank delivery outside off stump through the leg side for his sixth boundary. This eighth-wicket stand is now worth 53 runs. Tally Ho.
1456: England 140-7
Another beauty to add to Mohammad Asif's gallery of pearlers, bisecting the front pad and bat of Matt Prior, whistling over the bails before brushing the diving left glove of Kamran Akmal for four leg byes. But what's this? Hot-Spot shows there was contact with the inside edge, which means Kammers has dropped one! Breathe out gentlemen, normal service has been resumed. To be fair to the chirpy stumper, it was a toughie, but a dropped catch nonetheless. There's former Crystal Palace manager Alan Smith with former Crystal Palace defender Gareth Southgate. Doesn't get any better than that for those who sit in the Holmesdale End at Selhurst Park, does it?
1450: England 136-7
First glimpse of spin as Saeed Ajmal, who impressed at Egbaston, is introduced and immediately has an appeal for leg before, but the ball pitched well outside leg stump. There are men all around the bat, chirping all sorts of encouragement. Broad then unfurls a deft paddle sweep, guiding the ball down fine for four. Carbon copy shot from the next delivery, carefully moving his head out of the way should the ball take a nasty leap off a top edge, for a couple more. Broad moves his score on to 18 with a leg-side push while Matt Prior unfurls another sweep to steal the strike. Irfan
, not too sure what the deal is with the Pakistan players but agreed, hats off if they are.
From Irfan, London, TMS inbox:
"Just wanted to know if the Pakistani players are fasting as it's the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan? They would have had breakfast at around 4am and will not eat/drink anything until 8.25pm. Hats off to them if they are."
1444: England 128-7
Mohammad Amir goes around the wicket in an effort to break Matt Prior's belligerence, but the Sussexman watches and judiciously allows the ball to pass without a stroke and into Kammers' gloves. Maiden over and it's time for drinks. Incidentally, the names for the ICC's annual awards are out and England's Graeme Swann and James Anderson have been nominated for the Test Player of the Year award. Eoin Morgan and Steven Finn are in the Emerging Player of the Year, along with Mohammad Amir and Umar Akmal.
From Tom, TMS inbox:
"Good old England batting collapses, I've missed 'em. Today's effort can't hold a candle to Adelaide '06, but it still brings a tear of nostalgia to the eye."
1440: England 128-7
Stuart Broad earns an earful of Riazian philosophy as he evades a short delivery from the debutant left-arm seamer. Don't think Stu is the most popular man in the Pakistan camp following his ill-advised petulance at Edgbaston with Zulqarnain Haider. Riaz sends down a horrific wide, an extra which means sundries have now overtaken Eoin Morgan as England's second top scorer. Broad then plays a "touring" back-foot slap over mid-off for three, the kind of shot you see from members of London-based cricket teams on village greens in August in the west country or Norfolk. Riaz is hitting his straps now - he's bowling at over 92mph. PS - the score went a bit wrong in the over before, refresh and all will be well.
From Richard, Bath, TMS inbox:
"Ok, I like 'pulchritude' and 'insouciant', but I bet you can't work the work 'peccant' into your text commentary."
From Rob Moz, Blythe CC, text 81111:
"Wahab Riaz played in the North Staffs league for a couple of years and only ever bowled bouncers and yorkers. It got him plenty of wickets and us plenty of broken toes! He's quite a character and often indulged in the odd comedy run-up."
1434: England 121-7
Huge no-ball from Mohammad Amir, who for all you inquisitive people has asked his name be spelled with an "i" rather than two "ee"s, his front-foot heel a good inch beyond the popping crease. Glorious drive from Prior, who uses the pace of the ball to punch a drive straight back past the bowler for four. He adds his second boundary of the over with a controlled edge past the slips for four, moving the partnership on to 27 - the highest of the innings.
1427: England 112-7
Just a change of ends for the spritely Riaz, during which time our heroic assistant editor Paul Grunill has drudged up England's lowest Test totals against Pakistan. They are: "130 - Lahore 1987, 130 - The Oval 1954, 136 - Headingley 1987, 143 - The Oval 1954. In that 1954 game, the highest score in all four innings was 164 and Pakistan won by 24 runs." Prior moves to 19, the highest score of England's innings with a drive of excessive pulchritude through cover for four. Broad adds his second boundary with yet another aerial shot through gully, only this time with plenty more conviction.
From Stuart, Manchester, TMS inbox:
"Remarkable use of the word 'insouciant', although I would be the first to admit that I have NO idea what it actually means? Impressive nonetheless."
1420: England 103-7
New man Stuart Broad, who probably thought he was going to spend his afternoon flicking through various monthly publications figuring out what the latest gentlemen's fashion trends are this autumn, joins Prior at the crease. The left-hander has 27 runs in three innings so far in this series, so nothing to write home about for someone heralded as England's future number seven. Riaz takes a well-earned rest and is replaced by Mohammad Amir, who is smoked for a couple behind point by Prior before a further three runs through midwicket. Broad brings up the England 100 with a thick outside edge aerially through gully for four, a boundary as streaky it wouldn't look out of place in a Frazzles factory.
1415: England 94-7 Wicket Swann ct Umar Akmal b Asif 8
The curse of touring wicketkeepers - a swinging ball after pitching - does Kamran Akmal over as a leg-side delivery from Mohammad Asif curls beyond the diving left glove of Kammers down to the boundary for four byes. Meanwhile Swann clips the seamer through midwicket for four. Lovely shot, standing tall and ensuring his weight is over the ball to keep the ball along the ground. Oh dear - he's out the next delivery, edging to third slip where Umar Akmal takes the catch.
From Sean Pyman, Llandudno, text 81111:
"Could we please ban Kamran Akmal from future games, he's like a human vuvuzela between balls on TMS."
1410: England 86-6
Hello you lovely - and incredibly inquisitive - people. Thank you to the insouciant Oliver Brett for stepping in to the hotseat while I conducted a postponed interview - life as a text commentator throws all sorts of curveballs when you are writing inane drivel about indie bands from Oxford and the merits of Mohammad Asif's new haircut. If you wouldn't mind manually refreshing your web browser
you'll see I'm back. Riaz, sporting a healthy 5 O'clock shadow covering of stubble, saunters in but concedes two horrible wides - both flying towards first slip as well as a front-foot no-ball. But the sundries have hardly damaged his figures, currently boasting 4-19 in his first Test match. Matt Prior remains stoic in defence, although he misses out on runs when a leg-side delivery clatters into his thigh pad.
From Matt Herrick, Bangkok, TMS inbox:
"I always wondered why whoever is working on a Test needs a break for an hour to get a sandwich? Typing a bit of text whilst watching the days play doesn't strike me as the most strenuous days work ever, while its a bit puzzling what they are doing during the lunch and tea interval as they don't add any more text then. Is there something special that you all get up to during this breaks that means you can't eat then, or are there only set times they will let you eat sandwiches at the BBC, or are you just a bunch of workshy chancers? You have my utmost respect sirs if it is the last reason."
1404: England 83-6
If anyone scores 20 they'll be England's highest scorer, I fancy. Prior's making a play to take that accolade with a fortuitous carve over gully for four off Asif, then a misfield brings Swann on strike... who immediately plays the shot of the day, a crisp off-drive for four.
1359: England 74-6
Bit of bounce, bit of pace, bit of seam movement. Not an impossible ball to play but it's too good for Morgan, who compliantly nicks to the wicketkeeper. In comes Swann.
1356: England 74-6 Wicket - Morgan c K Akmal b Riaz 17
Very serious trouble now, very brilliant debut from Riaz.
1353: England 74-5
Asif continues to ask searching questions of the Prior defence. He gets a chance to drive, but mistimes to mid-on. He gets a second chance, and drills his shot low and hard, beautifully timed for four even though it takes a big deflection off the stumps at the non-striker's end.
1349: England 70-5
If you've not seen Wahab Riaz before, and I imagine most of you haven't, he's a little bit like a left-armed Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. The sun peeps out from behind some clouds but Morgan can't get the scoreboard moving post-lunch.
1344: England 70-5
Prior faced just one ball before lunch, now he's facing Asif who is bowling his accurate outswingers to the right-hander. A blocked off-drive to mid-off for won't get the Sussex stumper off the mark, and that'll be a maiden.
Afternoon all. Still pretty cloudy overhead. It's Oliver Brett
with you for a mini-session, let's see if I can stop England bleeding wickets. Please refresh to bring up the correct byline.
Hi all. Good news - the TMS video scorecard with all its gadgets and gizmos is working again and, if you'd be so kind to refresh the page, is available for website users based in the UK.
From Fred, London, TMS inbox:
"Chris the potential stay-at-home father: the deal maker or breaker is whether you want your second-born's first coherent sentence to be 'my mother could have hit that with a stick of celery' in a broad Yorkshire drawl. A good anecdote for the dinner-party circuit, but a difficult thing to explain in those Baby's First... memory albums."
Chris Gabbett, TMS inbox:
"My wife and I are debating who should give up work to be primary carer for baby number two. She's favouring a 'Presidential' style system where, having completed her term of childcare it's my turn to step up to the crease. There would be some advantages - I'd appreciate an indication of how many home husbands are regular listeners/readers of TMS. It could be an important deal maker or breaker."
Ian, (no surname published please) but 'you won't publish this anyway', Jerusalem, Israel, TMS inbox:
"Was skimming through the morning's drivel and didn't at first misunderstood "strains of Jerusalem" (10:56). I'm sat just down the road from the old city of Jerusalem, and have recently seen it teeming with people attending prayers during Ramadan. I presume the cricketers aren't fasting, but has cricket ever been distinctly Ramadan-affected?" A very salient point Ian ofnosurname, I remember a tour of Pakistan which coincided with Ramadan when England's players had to take their drinks break in their own dressing room. Can't remember exactly which year it was, but it was a while ago.
From Alan, working hard and on a well deserved lunch break, Leeds, TMS inbox:
"You won't use this (that ought to do it), but perhaps you could concentrate on writing coherent English before trying to crowbar in your "clever" music puns? Is any of this meant to make any sense? Ok, maybe its just me in a bad mood after this morning's play
" Errrrr, I really needed the loo and my desperation made me lose complete control of my ability to communicate. About sorry that.
1302: England 70-5
Wahab bangs in a very sharp bouncer, although the ball loops out of harm's way into Akmal's gloves. Riaz toils away but Morgan is the very picture of obduracy, leaving anything remotely leaveable well alone. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is lunch.
From Ben, TMS inbox:
"Pranav, Its just occurred to me that you as a commentator could quite easily be fabricating the whole days play. As David Rosier has given me a ticket to go on Friday I'm going to be watching you closely..."
1258: England 70-5
Asif toils away and once again outrageously flirts with the outside edge, this time it's the Kookaburra of Eoin Morgan. The Middlesexman is a doughty soul though, brushing aside the inconvenience to settle for three runs from the over, carving a couple through midwicket before a cheeky single to nick the strike for the final over of an eventful first session.
From Tom, TMS inbox:
"It's good to see England's benevolent side shining through. We really were in danger of completely shattering the Pakistani's self belief before today. Thank goodness for our nations sporting motto of "it's not the winning, it's the taking part". My relief at saving the Pakistani's feelings is palpable."
1254: England 67-5
Morgan pushes Riaz for a fine boundary with a cheeky glance before Pietersen becomes Riaz's third wicket with another snorter. The ball spits outside off stump, rearing alarmingly as the former England captain pushes around the delivery outside off stump and into Akmal's gloves for the wicketkeeper's third catch of the session. Matt Prior joins Eoin Morgan with his country in Dire Straits as Pakistan's Sultans of Swing take complete control.
1248: England 67-5 Wicket Pietersen ct Kamran Akmal b Riaz 6
From Alex, London, text 81111:
"This is just KP's type of situation. Lets hope he is not out by the time you receive this text. "
1248: England 62-4
Asif has the ball on a stick right now, dangling another corker which is within a stoat's hair of Pietersen's outside edge before manipulating the ball to go in the opposite direction a couple of deliveries later as the ex-Hampshireman plays inside the line. In between all of this is a delivery which raps Kaypee on the pads, but he's batting well outside his crease, decreasing the chances of Tony Hill doing his "pointy" finger routine. Really, really intelligent bowling from Asif, conceding two runs from his eighth over.
From hopeforthebest on 606:
"I've heard a strong rumour that Geoff Miller is on the phone to Michael Carberry and Andy Flower is busy writing a get well soon card to Ian Bell."
1243: England 60-4
The fleet-footed Amir, long hair billowing in the south London breeze, beats the outside edge of Pietersen's bat once again with a ball that holds its line outside off stump and into the gloves of Kammers behind the sticks. His radar needs tweaking following a wild delivery way outside off stick, called a wide, as Morgan flicks an overpitched delivery on leg stump through midwicket for four. Nice positive stroke, one of only a handful this morning.
From Keith, similarly bored, London, TMS inbox:
"Ian (12.26) - presumably your virtual cricketers are playing 'Tippex-and-run" cricket and given that post-it notes are in use the wicket is slightly sticky?"
1236: England 52-4
Riaz (2-11 in five overs) ends his memorable maiden spell as a Test bowler, to be replaced by Asif. He's the chap who bowled that terrific over to Cook which began this horror story for England. Pietersen plays a controlled pull shot for one. No boundaries for either him or Morgan yet, and there's another play-and-miss by Morgan outside off... and another.
1232: England 51-4
Amir is swinging the ball like Benny Goodman now, beating the outside edge of Morgan's bat with a brutish outswinger, although the flame-haired left-hander plays a good-looking push into the offside for a couple from the next delivery, bringing up the England 50, although there's hesitation between the England batsman running the second. In the end the throw is wayward and danger is averted.
From Rob, London, TMS inbox:
"So it's the same story as the first two tests then - a shaky batting line-up, low on confidence and form, versus a fielding side boasting a deadly bowling attack, a safe pair of hands behind the stumps, and fielders capable of taking world-class catches. Oh, hang on..."
1228: England 49-4
Riaz, nicknamed Cap'n Wahab by our beaming, esteemed assistant editor, sniffs the outside of Morgan's willow outside off stump with another beauty. the Irish-born left-hander gets off strike with a single, but no boundary balls on offer for Pietersen to tuck into. I believe the word is "attritional".
From Ian, slightly bored in Brentford, TMS inbox:
"Could we have a little more detail on field placings please? I'm trying out a new 'virtual cricket' demonstration for my colleagues using office stationery for the various players and umpires and whereas placing the two bottles of correction fluid works for the batsmen, I'm struggling with the precise location of the eleven post-it note packs."
1226: England 48-4
Fresh from a confidence-boosting boundary with a lovely straight-bat punch to a half-volley from Mohammad Amir, an inside edge bounces into the ground and just kisses the off bail off its groove, much to the delight of the rampant Pakistani players. However, it was an very crooked angle on Colly's bat, closing the face of the bat at impact. In comes England's last specialist batsman Eoin Morgan, who is immediately off the mark with a single.
1220: England 47-4 Wicket Collingwood bowled Amir 5 From Jeff, London, TMS inbox:
"Regards the twitter from our man Dirs, is he under threat from a sniper and been afforded some protection behind bullet proof glass? Surely his text commentary is not that bad
. granted, he's no Pranav Soneji."
1216: England 42-3
There is a delay following that dismissal as Trott refuses to leave the crease and has a chat with Pietersen - surely England can't refer the decision? However, replays show Riaz's heel was right on the line, with Pietersen staring at the bowler's front foot at the point of impact. Very intelligent from the non-striker. Umpire Tony Hill consults Kiwi compatriot Billy Bowden, recognising the call was very tight, but according to Christopher Martin-Jenkins, third umpire Bowden says the ball was OK. In comes Paul Collingwood, who is off the mark with a single. The tourists are all over this right now.
Test Match Special's Christopher Martin-Jenkins:
"The catch was taken perfectly normally at second slip, but the umpires thought they would just check the no-ball. Once you open the Pandora's box of technology you don't know where it will end."
1211 - England 40-3 Wicket Trott ct b Hameed 12
Lenny, below, did you know that the act of playing tinny dubstep or grime through the speaker of your mobile phone, instantly annoying anyone sitting within a 10-foot radius of said cellular implement, is called Sodcasting? It's a regular feature on the 316 from White City to Cricklewood. And Trott's caught! A brilliant catch by Yasir Hameed at second slip as Trott attempts to drive outside off stump to the left-hander, but instead offers a low catch to second slip, where the diving Hameed clings on to a beauty as the ball was travelling at real pace. It's all going Pakistan's way this morning.
From Lenny, Mauritius, TMS inbox:
"I once made up a genre in conversation with a trendy London type to try and pretend I knew something about music. Apparently he'd heard of 'Rungle', a made-up fusion of Ragamuffin and Jungle, which baffled me."
1203 - England 39-2
Riaz, lolloping to the crease with a long-legged stride, beats Pietersen outside off stump with a beauty - and at some pace too, tickling the speedgun towards 89mph. Another good over from Riaz, whose build TMS summariser Vic Marks compares with Waqar Younis, now Pakistan's beleaguered coach. The Oval was the very ground where Waqar bruised a myriad of toes bowling for Surrey during his halcyon days playing county cricket in the late 80s, early 90s. Some of his reverse-swinging yorkers at 90mph+ defied belief. Time for beverages.
From Sam, Leicester, TMS inbox:
"I'd like to congratulate the great baking efforts of the staff and students of the Geology department at the University of Leicester who've contributed to a fine spread of cakes - that Aggers and co would be proud of - to raise money for those affected by the Pakistan floods."
1158 - England 39-2
Some intriguing lunch-time listening from 1300 on TMS when the team rewind four years for that infamous forfeited Test in 2006, including an account from Darrell Hair, the umpire at the centre of the controversy. I was there that day (as a paying punter) and had no clue about what happened until I got home and found out the result. Asif continues to make the ball sing as Trott stays rooted to his crease, but bowls a little too wide of leg stump, beyond the despairing dive of Kamran Akmal for four byes.
From Sam, Epsom, TMS inbox:
"In reply to Graham from Reigate. You sitting right behind me in the office And should be getting on with your work. You only managed to hold on to your job by the "skindred" of you teeth (see I added to the genres with raga death metal)."
1154 - England 35-2
Well well well, Andrew Strauss will have some explaining to do on that one tonight. There's no way he could claim he didn't feel contact with his bat because the deviation off the edge was so obvious. Maybe this referral system will force batsmen to walk because they are going to look like fools by Hot-Spot. Well done Wahab Riaz though, his first Test wicket with his ninth delivery. And Kamran Akmal caught his second catch too - well done Kammers. In comes Kevin Pietersen within the first hour of the match - Pakistan would have bitten your hand off - and probably your elbow too - if you had mentioned this scoreline at the start of the session.
1150 - England 35-2 Wicket Strauss ct Akmal b Riaz 15
The Pakistan fielders are all up in unison as Wahab Riaz beats the outside of Andrew Strauss's bat and into Kamran Akmal's gloves, but umpire Tony Hill says no. Salman Butt is having none of that and immediately refers the decision to third umpire Billy Bowden. AND THERE'S A MASSIVE NICK! It deviates on the replay, never mind Hot-Spot, which shows clear contact with the top of the bat. Tony Hill crosses his arms across his body and sticks his finger up in the air - Andrew Strauss is out.
From Jonathan Bundock, Norwich, TMS inbox:
"On the subject of office cricket (from shouldbeworking CC) we made do in our 5x5m office by using two bins precariously balanced on top of one another for stumps, a tennis ball and a stag antler for a bat. It came to a rapid end when the ball came right out of the middle of the antler and broke a window. 6 and out."
1147 - England 35-1
Asif is bamboozles Trott with a leg-cutter that moves like a Shane Warne leg-break - but about 30mph faster. This is an awesome display of controlled seam bowling, making the ball talk in helpful conditions despite a very good batting wicket. Maiden over. Heather
, below, unbelievably there are some people who actually read the comments about cricket. I know, weirdoes.
From Graham, Reigate, TMS inbox:
"Pranav, are you taking part in one of those 'how many different bands/genres of the rock music type can you mention today' bets? First the Foals/Bombay Bicycle Club mention, then emo kids. If you were to somehow mention post-melodic-death-grindcore in one of your updates, you would be my idol. Other genres are available."
1141 - England 35-1
Our first sighting of Wahab Riaz, a broad-shouldered fellow with a penchant for left-arm swingery. A bustling run-up, which is one of the longest I have seen in a long time, before a skiddy action with a low bowling arm. His first over in Test cricket is creamed for two boundaries by Strauss - the first straight out of the MCC coaching manual, the bat as straight as a night out with Anne Widdecombe before guiding a half-volley on leg stump through midwicket. Quality batting from the England skipper.
From Heather, Fareham, text 81111:
"Is it wrong that I mainly read the updates for other people's comments? And to check the score?"
1137 - England 27-1
Strauss belts four through midwicket with a confident clip off his pads while Trott is beaten by another deceptive Asif delivery which bites off the true surface and cuts back and hits the Warwickshireman's front pad. A stifled appeal from the Pakistanis but the ball was comfortably missing leg stump. Really clever bowling from Asif, who curls the next delivery away from the bat, which Trott watches judiciously into the gloves of Akmal. Apologies to all you video scorecard fans, we're having problems with it. A man behind the scenes is currently turning his computer on and off in an effort to fix it.
1132 - England 22-1
Trott squirts a couple to fine leg from a thick inside edge before picking up a boundary with a fine glance off his hips as Mohammad Amir holds his head as if he's just discovered his teenage sweetheart has left him for an Emo kid.
From Shouldbeworking CC, TMS inbox:
"Managed to break my trousers yesterday in a game of Office French Cricket and had to walk to the car with a belt made of cable ties. However, having had this valuable time in the middle, myself and colleague are now available for selection to replace Cook and await Giles Clarke's call... "
1128 - England 16-1
Ooooh! Tight lbw call for Strauss, who is rapped in front by a ball that swings back into his pads by Asif. A huge appeal but umpire Steve Davis says not out. A mid-pitch conflab between the Pakistanis sees them decide against referring the decision, although replays show the ball absolutely clattering leg stump, although bizarrely it would have been the umpire's call. How does that work? It would have knocked out leg. Baffling.
1123 - England 15-1
There's new Norwich City board member Stephen Fry alongside Sir Trevor McDonald, who's sat next to John Edrich. Reckon there'll be some riveting conversation later doors, maybe something about cod liver oil or the state of modern pensions. Nothing threatening from Amir though, despite the firecrackers at the other end hurled by Asif, with Strauss picking off two runs off his pads. PS - today is not a sell-out at The Oval, so if you've got a spare six hours today...
From Bad Mick, Cambridge, TMS inbox:
"No way! The girl in the office you I quote 'I am not having a go in the sweepstake, as I know nothing about cricket' was forced to have a go and had Cook at 0-15 runs. She is now £10 better off."
From Chris Hughes, TMS inbox:
"On a brighter note, at least Cook has top scored so far this third Test."
1118 - England 13-1
Jonathan Trott, a man my colleague
Oliver Brett described as Mr Dependable,
is off the mark with a velvety front-foot drive through cover for four, his first delivery too. But he's beaten like a size five egg by another ripsnorter from Asif, lifting and leaving the outside edge of his bat. Another useful over from the seamer, who is looking menacing as a pitbull this morning.
1114 - England 9-1
I blame Bad Mick, you bad, bad man. However, it was a snorter from Asif which Cook really couldn't do much about. Perfect line on off stump before seaming away from the bat as Cook committed to the defensive stroke. Jonathan Agnew says Cook has one more innings to rescue his place in the England side before the Lord's Test. Tough times for the southpaw. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir smashes out a maiden, although most of it was left well alone by an observant Strauss. Not one of the teenager's best overs with England vulnerable early on.
1108 - England 9-1 Wicket Cook ct Akmal b Asif 6
Mohammad Asif's haircut makes him look like he should be playing bass in Foals or Bombay Bicycle Club rather than swinging a new Dukes ball around and causing Alastair Cook all sorts of bother. His second delivery holds its line as Cook thrusts his bat while his feet remain static, edging the ball through gully for a thoroughly unconvincing boundary. Asif is called for a front-foot aberration by umpire Steve Davis - but the Australian umpire's finger is pointing skyward the very next delivery as the Essex opener edges a beauty behind to Kamran Akmal for a simple catch. Silence around The Oval.
1103 - England 2-0
Deary me - England are off courtesy of two byes from Kamran Akmal via an awkward nutmeg on the second bounce from Amir. The rest of the over is tidy, a hint of hoop but nothing to write home about.
Out come the Pakistanis, every single one of them clad in chunky-knit wool. Mohammad Asif has clearly had a trim and currently sports a side parting which wouldn't look out of place in Shoreditch. Mohammad Amir will get play under way. James
, below, it's never too early to complain about anything - we're British. Keep your thoughts rolling in through the day via
(UK) or +44 7786200666
(worldwide) or via the TMS inbox.
From James, TMS inbox:
"At what point is it deemed acceptable to start complaining about the quality of the commentary and it's juvenility? Is it too early?"
I'm slightly annoyed about missing the second half of Homes under the Hammer this morning. Tuesday's episode was a corker - the intro line to a dilapidated property in Dover bought by two brothers called George and Michael wondered if the pair would have "faith" in their investment. That show does a superb line in puns, as well as choosing appropriate music to match the property or owner. My dream job. Strains of Jerusalem, five minutes to go.
From Brian, Liverpool, TMS inbox:
"Marvellous! I've missed this - just got time to settle back in the jacuzzi with a couple of beers and wait for the infantile banter to commence. I only hope the cricket doesn't get in the way..."
Bad man Bad Mick, although it hasn't exactly been a bed of begonias for the Essex left-hander, who has
scored 100 runs in seven Test innings this summer.
However, Cookie (or is it Cooky?) and Straussy are just 67 runs shy of become England's most prolific opening partnership in Test history. "I'm delighted the selectors have kept faith with me for this Test and I aim to repay them with runs," said Cook in his column for Metro this morning. And TMS is back on the radio too. Ah yes, and should England take a 3-0 lead in this four-Test series, then they usurp Australia in the ICC world rankings. Whose smile just got about two inches wider?
From Bad Mick, Cambridge, TMS inbox:
"Just done the office sweepstake to see how many runs Cook will score. I got 51-70 runs. Drat and double drat."
So England, rampant after six successive Test victories, will once again look to smash a huge total on probably the best batting pitch in the country for their triumvirate of seamers to knock off the brittle Pakistan top order in record time. The tourists have made a host of changes, with former captain Shoaib Malik and Umar Amin making way for opener Yasir Hameed and the recently-returned-from-exile Mohammad Yousuf, while Umar Gul's hamstring injury means a debut for left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz. And wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider, whose belligerent knock at Edgbaston frustrated England for the first time in this series, is out with a fractured finger so the much-maligned Kamran Akmal and his ear-piercing shrieks return behind the stumps.
Toss time - and England have won the toss and elected to bat first. "Usually a good wicket to bat on," says captain Andrew Strauss of The Oval wicket. Weather update - after waking up to glorious sunshine this morning, Pakistan captain Salman Butt sees the clouds converge in rapid time, which means there could be a bit of wobble for his seamers.
Homes under the Hammer
- is there any better viewing on a Wednesday morning? A Test match you say? At The Oval? But it's Wednesday...