The Light Roller: England's renaissance is a work in progress

Diary of a cricket obsessive

So far, so good - but how will England accommodate Stokes and more spin?

England's new dawn finally shone bright under floodlit skies yesterday evening at Lord's. In the end there was no magic moment that could force a win but there was a sense of unity about the team which had been notable by its absence in Australia. And this was no illusion in the aftermath of victory but a tangible asset in the pursuit of a positive outcome.

Quite aside from serving as a reminder of test cricket's unparalleled capacity to surprise and thrill, the match showed that England do have some quality in their ranks. Anderson has still got the X factor; Jordan is developing it; Root and Prior have got over their traumatic winters; Ali and Ballance both have serious batting potential; Bell has the grace of Gower - and the same habit of getting out just when it looks like he will be in forever.

Plunkett and Robson did enough to stick around for Headingly but didn't look completely convincing. Cook needs runs and wins, though his peculiar field setting to Sangakkara yesterday was a sign perhaps of a more imaginative approach to captaincy.

Still, there are issues beyond the short-term. An interesting feature of Saturday was the appearance on the boundary rope of Simon Kerrigan. England will be desperate for him to prove he has what it takes to be given a second chance. The simple fact is that world-class spinners who bat in the top six are as rare as a vampire's steak. If Ali can pull it off, good for him, but it is inevitable that England will need a specialist spinner at some point.

It is also, surely, inconceivable that Ben Stokes will be on the sidelines for long: and he will presumably bat at six. In short, the chances of the current line up being in place throughout the summer seem slim.

 

Crowd mis-behaviour takes many forms

Lord's crowds are pretty respectable things. Mexican waves start under the media box and end by the time they reach the Mound Stand. Snakes of plastic beer glasses are more adder than anaconda.

But, as I discovered on Saturday, fan fury is manifested in many ways. There I was at five in the afternoon, having spent a pleasant day in the lower Edrich stand (much better than I had feared), when the chap in front of me turned and said: 'May I ask you a personal question?'

Somewhat surprised I replied that of course he could, so he continued: 'Right, well I'd like to know what exactly it is that makes you think that kicking the back of my chair isn't going to piss me off?'

As it goes, I don't think I had kicked his chair - indeed, there was a bag between my feet and his seat. If I had done, I certainly hadn't realised the fact.  Plus of course we'd been sitting there for some six hours by then. But in any event, it is nice to know that passive aggression is alive and well among the outwardly polite visitors to cricket's HQ.

 

Other lessons from Lord's

 

Some things I learned during this test match:

1. Moeen Ali's beard is just as outstanding from 100 yards as it is in a TV close-up.

2. The Lord's bicentary celebrations extend to a beer having been brewed for the occasion. It is very bitter and quite metallic. Stick to the Pedigree.

3. Liam Plunkett may be big lad who bowls at 90mph but he still skips into his delivery stride like a joyous schoolboy.

4. My father's idea of a bowl of something healthy from the supermarket salad bar is enough potato, pasta, rice, cous-cous and chicken to feed three people.

@willjgore

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam