I have to confess to delaying writing this particular ‘event’ up for some strange reason.  I am inclined not to write any words and just post lots of photos.  But, that’s not my way so here we go. IMG_2461

IMG_2464 Lords – the Home of Cricket – is the one ground I had no control over when it came to which day/days I attended the test match.  It’s all about the ballot and my pot luck gave me Day 4. IMG_2474 IMG_2475 IMG_2477 Before the Ashes started I told myself I wanted to be at every venue and that I might have to accept seeing great cricket played by the Australians rather than England. IMG_2482 IMG_2501 IMG_2502 I was slightly worried to have 3 Day 4’s amongst my 12 after the horror that was the Ashes Down Under.  However the cricket played against New Zealand and a wonderful win in Cardiff saw me add Day 5 to my haul. IMG_2503 Clearly I was hopeful!  Michael Clarke won the toss, apparently deciding to change his standard call of tails, that saw the Australians go in to bat. IMG_2516 IMG_2517 IMG_2518 To say they made the most of things would be a total understatement – batting on what was purportedly a flat wicket they amassed a huge 566 for 8 declared. IMG_2529 IMG_2535

IMG_2536 David Warner opening with Chris Rogers fell early to Moeen Ali with Jimmy Anderson catching him.  And so Steve Smith arrived he’d been temporarily knocked off his top batsman in the world  spot after a poor show in Cardiff, but he shone to say the least! IMG_2555 IMG_2566 IMG_2567 Smith hit a remarkable 215 runs from 346 balls, this man may well be unorthodox but wow he’s a star!  Chris Rogers very nearly matched him with his own 173.  The remainder of the lineup added runs, with the next highest scorer being Peter Nevill on his debut. IMG_2577 IMG_2584 Michael Clarke declared late on Day 2 and wow that flat wicket?  Well it certainly produced something for their bowlers! IMG_2586 IMG_2595 IMG_2600 IMG_2601 I was listening in as I travelled to the Oval then keeping track on @ByTheMinCricket on Twitter, England found themselves on 30 for 4!  With Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and unusually Joe Root walking back to the pavilion within the first 11 overs!  What a disaster! IMG_2602 IMG_2611 IMG_2619 Step up Ben Stokes and Alastair Cook – Cook had watched the wickets tumble from his openers’ spot.  The 2 men put on 145 runs before Stokes fell to the bowling of Mitch Marsh on 87.  Cook played a solid innings and came very close to his century – falling on 96, just after Geoffrey Boycott had said – ‘he’ll get his century’ – no he didn’t Geoffrey! IMG_2628 IMG_2639 IMG_2661 Amongst the remaining batsmen Moeen Ali added a very useful 39, he is making an argument for giving up the order.  England finished on 312 all out, a differential of 254. IMG_2668 IMG_2669 IMG_2672 My day at Lords started with Chris Rogers and David Warner at the crease as Australia looked to build an unassailable lead, rather than force the follow on. IMG_2693 IMG_2696 My seat was in the Mound stand – Row 4 – yet that row was in fact the front row – although not a fan of a sideways view it has to be said I had a great spot for taking photos!  I am now going to be quite politically incorrect.  The 2 seats next to me were empty for the 1st hour or so, then filled with 2 men who were clearly lovers of a big lunch!  I couldn’t get my seat down when they did take their seats, then when I did, I basically had half a seat!  Uncomfortable wasn’t the word – it seemed I’d paid £90 for a cramped seat – taking photos was going to be hard!  To my relief they left as Australia declared and didn’t return – a very long lunch I presume! IMG_2707 IMG_2721 IMG_2728 And so to the ‘cricket’ and I am going to use that term loosely!  In the second over of the day I believe Chris Rogers suddenly looked to be in difficulty and sat on the ground, I’d have to say the medical staff were quite slow in coming out to him. IMG_2735 IMG_2737 IMG_2738 Rogers had been hit on the head in his 1st innings, it has since been said this wasn’t delayed concussion, I hope he’s well and we see him opening at Edgbaston.  He was closing in on his half century but was led from the pitch on 49. IMG_2740 Warner was joined by Steven Smith the pair were a delight to watch, it was a pleasure to see shots from Smith that you’d expect to see in a T20 game rather than a test match at Lords!  Warner was more circumspect and scored a great 83 before he was caught by Cook from the bowling of Ali. IMG_2748 IMG_2755 IMG_2765 Michael Clarke joined Smith, he’s a man in need of runs having been out for 7 in the 1st innings he was not out 32.  Smith fell to Ali – that part time bowler –  having scored 58 – a superb test for the man back at the top in the World. IMG_2788 IMG_2793 IMG_2819 Mitch Marsh joined Clarke and scored 27, including 2 huge 6’s, before his captain declared having doubled the Australian lead they were 254 for 2 – England had taken only 10 wickets over both innings!  And amazingly Jimmy Anderson didn’t have a single wicket to his name. IMG_2833 IMG_2835 IMG_2836 And so in came the England openers, I’m very concerned that I might just be typing a huge row of !!!!!!! here – so I’m going to keep this brief like England’s innings. IMG_2839 IMG_2846 IMG_2847 I think I’ll just sum this up as quickly as possible – England needed to play a calm innings, they were highly unlikely to make the total set, but there was an outside chance to draw the game if weather intervened. IMG_2862 Well, they must have had a day trip planned for Day 5!  Did they come remotely close to the 500 plus?  No they didn’t – they were all out for a frankly shameful 103!  I can’t even bring myself to go through any details – all I can say is that Stuart Broad was the top scorer on 25!  That doesn’t leave many runs for the rest! IMG_2865 IMG_2866 IMG_2877 A mention for a wonderful throw by Mitch Johnson striking the stumps at some speed – he ran Stokes out, he seemed to be in his crease – but was up in the air when the ball struck! IMG_2889 IMG_2913 IMG_2917 A superb perfomance by the Australians – to come back in such a fashion after their loss in Cardiff has to be admired.  Unusually for me I’m not going to ramble on about England – but the word diabolical comes to mind! IMG_2918 IMG_2922 A couple of facts

  • Cost of Ticket           £90.00
  • Various Beer            £  4.80
  • Soft drinks               £   2.20
  • Ice-cream tub         £   3.00
  • Ladies loos – as always at cricket barely any queue – clean and well replenished

IMG_2118 I enjoyed my day in spite of the English collapse – As always I met and chatted to some lovely people.  Next up Edgbaston,  I have Days 1 and 2 for that – phew! IMG_2924

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