Mystery of the bails that will not move

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The Independent Online

This was an off-on sort of day for England. A lot came off for them - except the bails, yet again - and a Dane came on.

The biggest mystery of this Test has been the immovable objects, aka the bails. Just before lunch the New Zealand opener, Mark Richardson, got an inside edge on to his pads, the ball cannoned into his leg stump, before making its way to fine leg.

It was the third time in the match that the ball had made contact with the stumps without dislodging the bails. The first two saw Daniel Vettori chopping on to his stumps in the first innings and Andrew Strauss brushing his off stump as an attempted drive took an inside edge. On each occasion the bails remained unmoved. Even those who believe in coincidence must find three times just one too many.

But that is the way it is. Even though Channel Four have inserted cameras into four of the stumps, all three at the Pavilion End and the middle stump at the Nursery End, the broadcasters cannot be blamed for this phenomenon.

Indeed, if anything, the presence of the technology lends itself to making it easier to knock the stumps over. If they are hammered in to the ground so hard that they are absolutely rigid, when the ball hits them the wood around the camera tends to split. Thus, Channel Four has to ensure that the ground immediately around the stumps is well-watered, which lowers the resistance, as it were, and makes it easier for the stumps to fly out of the ground.

And so to the presence of the Danish international. Frederik Klokker is an MCC Young Cricketer based at Lord's, who made his Danish debut four years ago in the NatWest Trophy. He turned out for his country again against Leicestershire in the C&G trophy last season and made his "England debut" after lunch, standing in for Simon Jones for some 15 minutes.

Apparently there is nothing in the sport's regulations, either in those of the International Cricket Council, or indeed those of the England and Wales Cricket Board, to prevent a country roping in a player of any nationality to stand in for one of their own while he is otherwise indisposed.

Hence the appearance of Klokker, a 21-year-old wicketkeeper from Odense, who apparently played in the Beach Cricket World Cup, for Denmark naturally, last November, when it was staged in Blackpool. However, the only rock he saw yesterday was Richardson for New Zealand.