On the Front Foot: Birds of a feather but Swann fails to take flight straightaway

To general disbelief, the new ball for England in the First Test was shared by off spinner Graeme Swann. It was a tactical ploy by Andrew Strauss because Swann had bamboozled Devon Smith in the West Indies, dismissing him three times. The ruse did not quite work and Swann was withdrawn after two overs – though he bowled Smith later. The last spinner to open for England was John Emburey, who did so with Graham Dilley at Old Trafford in 1988. He was captain and it was at the end of the day when West Indies had only two overs at the start of their innings. Before that, in similar circumstances, the off spinner Sam Staples shared the new ball with Wally Hammond at Durban in 1928. In earlier days it was a regular occurrence. Strauss is in good modern company. Mark Taylor, one of Australia's greatest captains, three times asked off spinner Colin Miller to open the bowling with Glenn McGrath, the second against England at Sydney in 1998 when Australia played three spinners. What's good enough for Taylor...

Still producing the goods

It was jolly good to see Peter Baxter, the erstwhile producer of 'Test Match Special', at Lord's signing copies of his excellent memoir 'Inside The Box' (Quiller, £18.99). In it he reveals the animosity between him and the late commentator Don Mosey, who loathed public schoolboys like Baxter. Mosey, a bluff Yorkshireman, did not bear this against Jonathan Agnew because apparently he did not rate Agnew's alma mater, Uppingham. Between roistering tales of tour exploits, Baxter diplomatically avoids dispensing much advice about the future direction of 'TMS'. But he does give a discreet plug for the superb Simon Mann, who is in the Christopher Martin-Jenkins league ("for the long-term future he should be a stalwart") and who, for inexplicable reasons, will be barely heard this summer.

And finally... nothing

If 'TMS' and BBC Radio continue to offer wall-to-wall coverage of the international game the same cannot be said of their TV counterparts. There was, abominably, no mention of the Lord's Test on the Ten O'Clock News on the first two days, bespeaking ignorance, folly and misjudgement.

Ring us another time

Defeat for West Indies inside three days deprived their former great off-break bowler Lance Gibbs of the chance to ring the five-minute bell before play yesterday. England's World Cup-winning team (women, that is) missed a chance to parade their booty round the ground at lunch too.

Blow to nether regions

In mentioning the shortlist for the Cricket Society Book of the Year last week, this column idiotically gave the wrong title to Joseph O'Neill's novel. Instead of 'Netherland' OTFF called it 'Amsterdam', a novel by Ian McEwan that contains even less cricket (i.e. none). The error unfortunately gives succour to those who think this space is all double Dutch.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste