I woke up to rain in Leeds on Day 2, but like the eternal optimist we England fans need to be I headed to Headingley to arrive in plenty of time. I drove and parked in the street, giving me around a mile to walk to the ground, so, getting some steps in, but not a feeling of exhaustion as I had after Day 1!
The rain was still going as I walked in so I went in search of shelter, I found it under the North Stand. To my amazement Jonny Bairstow was chatting to a couple of people. I amazed myself with my self control, it’s a mission of mine to get a photo of him, but I managed to resist. He’s such a good ambassador for the game, always willing to give photos and autographs, ready to fulfil dreams for the many children at the ground.
I chatted to 2 friends on a trip to watch the cricket, one a Southerner, living in Harrogate, the other a Yorkshire man living in London. They were lovely to talk to, and kind enough to buy me a cup of tea! I also met up with Kevin, a Twitter friend and his wife Jane, it’s always good to put names to faces, again more good chat was had.
After 90 minutes of standing with no news on the cricket, my knees were locking up leading me to seek a seat! I went to the area I was due to be sitting in and found a seat with shelter, then had another conversation with someone who turned out to be an Essex fan and his Yorkshire/MCC member friend. We chatted cricket and rugby union, you can probably tell by now I’m something of a chatterbox, I think they were fairly surprised by the amount of live sport I get along to!
The umpires came onto the field and covers were removed, play was a real prospect. hen lo and behold the players came out to warm up, it was good to see the England players with bat and ball in hand before the usual game of 5 aside football.
Play started at 2:45pm with tea due to be taken at 4:40pm, heaven forbid tea should be missed! There were to be 59 overs in the day, what could the Pakistan bowlers do with them? England started the day on 106 for 2, with Joe Root and Dom Bess at the crease.
I’d missed Day 3 at Lords so missed most of a great innings from the young Somerset cricketer, he made 57 on his debut, helping give some respectability to a woeful England performance. Bess had come in as the Night Watchman, but he certainly wasn’t;t batting like one on Day 2! He played sensible, self assured cricket and was highly impressive to watch.
Joe Root had looked happy at the crease on Day 1 and carried on in the same way. Amir, who takes the role of senior bowler, was the best of the bowlers but was having no joy, I couldn’t see Joe Root’s face, but I believe he was smiling at Amir as balls failed to make their mark. That, along with a rookie getting runs was clearly frustrating Amir.
However Amir had the last laugh when Root edged a ball to Sarfraz, he’d made 45 from 72 balls, it was as good to see him judging balls, lifting his bat and going for a forward defensive shot as it was to see him make scoring shots, Joe Root was playing test cricket!
Dawid Malan joined Bess, in need of runs he also played some cautious cricket. What was quite amazing at one point was seeing Bess walking down the wicket to give him advice after a ball had come close to catching him out. The 2 put on 62 runs, England’s best stand of this test, however Malan didn’t look too comfortable at the crease and hit a ball towards Sohail who took a great catch from the bowling of Amir. He’d made 28 and England were 200 for 4.
Malan’s departure brought Yorkshire favourite Jonny Bairstow in to bat, he’s certainly become one of England’s best amongst this generation of cricketers, especially with bat in hand. Young Dom Bess was heading to his second England half century in his second test, Sarfraz had introduced young spinner Shadab, a difficult ball from him was hit with some pace into the hands of Shafiq fielding at slip and Bess was out for 49. The action has given me one of my first favourite photos of 2018!
A very disappointed Dom Bess trudged off, he really had deserved at least 50 and looked fully capable of scoring more. Enter Jos Buttler, his inclusion has caused me some angst, I was hoping he’d play a test innings alongside Jonny Bairstow. Both men played with the hard hitting style we’ve come to expect when watching them play white ball cricket, but they also played with more caution than I’d expect, especially from Buttler.
Both looked well set, but, Bairstow edged a ball to Sarfraz form the bowling of Faheem, he’d faced 48 balls and made 21. England were 260 for 6 and approaching a lead of 100.
Bess coming in at in effect 4 meant England still had players capable with the bat coming in, and one such, Chris Woakes was next up. His stay was a short one, just 31 balls from which he scored 17, including 3 Fours, he became Sarfraz’s 5th catch in the innings, taking a catch from each of his seam/pace bowlers this time it was Abbas who did the trick! England were 285 for 7, a lead of just over 100. Woakes faced some ‘difficult’ balls,I’m sure he’ll be looking forward to returning the favour to the lower order Pakistan batsmen.
A day before his 20th Birthday Sam Curran was next in, I’ve seen him make an impression with bat in hand, in particular scoring 90 against my county Essex last summer, I really hoped he’d do well. He and Buttler had 7 overs to survive and young Curran did more than that, he faced 29 balls and made 16 runs, including 3 Fours. At the other end Jos Buttler was working his score up with some patience, at the close of play he had 34 runs to his name, he’d batted for 118 minutes and faced 67 balls, he can bat with patience. England were 302 for 7 at the close of play, a lead of 128 runs.
An observation to finish of Day 2, I’ve been struck by the lack of appreciation for good play by Pakistan by the crowd. If I were to award marks out of 10 for good sportsmanship I’d give Lords 10/10 so far the Headingley crowd gets 3/10, disappointing to hear/not hear appreciation for good cricket.