Cricket / Second Test: Too easy to be easy

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THERE has been a deadening inevitability about the first two days at Lord's, almost as if there was only a formality to be gone through in an atmosphere which was sadly and completely lacking in challenge.

It was all summed up by two incidents in the afternoon session on the second day which although unconnected spoke volumes for the all-pervading lethargy which can take hold of a game when it becomes so dreadfully lopsided.

David Boon, always scuttling about and busy even in these circumstances, came down the pitch to Peter Such and clipped him in the air to midwicket where Chris Lewis, the best fielder and safest catcher in the England side, was standing.

It was an eminently straightforward catch and the only problem was that it came to Lewis's right at chest height and he had to decide which way to take the catch with his hands. He moved slowly, almost lackadaisically and the ball went away through his hands for runs.

It was a feeble attempt and this miss encapsulated the despair which must by then have been running through the England side. It was not a convincing argument either for the retention of Lewis in this series.

The other example came soon afterwards when Mark Waugh was bowled off his pads by Philip Tufnell when one short of his 100. This was a poor stroke with Waugh aiming through midwicket without getting to the pitch of the ball.

It illustrated how even when 99 the overall inconsequence of what is going on can communicate itself to the batsman as well as the fielding side. If Waugh had been under any pressure he would not have played such an indifferent stroke.