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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions