Thursday, 16 July 2009

Lord's: A nightmare for the serfs...

Did you know that England haven't beaten Australia at Lord's since 1934? Of course you f*&^ing did. It's been repeated so often this week, even Ricky Ponting's remembered it. Strangely, some far more relevant stats have gone unremarked. Namely, and firstly, that before this season Australia were the last team to win a Test of any description there, back in the hazy, crazy days of 2005.

Since then, six matches, six draws*. First innings totals in those games: 551-6; 528-9; 553-5; 298, 277, 593-8. The teams batting last in those games scored: 537-9; 214-4; 89-0; 282-9; 269-6; 393-3.

In those six matches, England took, in order, 19 wickets; 14 wkts; 10 wkts; 19 wkts; 16 wkts; 13 wkts. 

There is just one anomaly that brings hope to that forsaken, low-living breed, the bowler: only once, against New Zealand last year, has the team batting second taken a first innings lead - England made 319 to New Zealand's 277.

In all, 7,287 runs have been scored at an average per wicket of 44.16. Of the 240 wickets available, 165 have fallen. 

The pitches have started flat and deadened. So the spread bets are on. After 181 overs in Cardiff, how many more will England bowl at Lord's?

* Discounting the midwinter game against West Indies, who were present in body only. 

NB: The forthcoming retirement of the Human Urn has necessitated some backtracking from Phil Space Trophy contender Paul Hayward: 'The 2005 mythology resists most attempts to assert perspective on what he has achieved since in England colours'. Er, no it doesn't, but luckily, Hayers recovers in time for one more stab at defining exactly what Andrew Flintoff was: 'He was the spirit, the entertainment, the aggression, the patriotism and the bonhomie of the Ashes, all telescoped into one set of whites,' he writes. 

'All along there has been a delusional quality both to the faith placed in Flintoff by St George's flock and those Australian players who still feared his potential to win a match all by himself...' And of course by P. Hayward. Let's hope he doesn't lose interest in his space-filling mission now that he's asserted some perspective on Freddo...

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