Radio Days

With two rain-shortened days gone in Galle, England have forfeited any chance they may have had of squaring the series with a lacklustre display of bowling and fielding. I've been too heavily occupied with work and Christmas preparations to see very much of it, but I did get to listen to Test Match Special for a very interesting couple of hours before I left for work this morning.

Readers outside the UK may not appreciate this (although I'm sure there are overseas equivalents), but if you've followed cricket in England over the last fifty years or so, Test Match Special or 'TMS' will have been an important part of your life. You'll have your favourite commentators or summarisers, those you can't stand, and your favourite moments. Sometimes it really hits the mark, other times it misses it like a Steve Harmison wide shooting down the leg side.

This morning was one of the former. During the lunch interval Jonathan Agnew interviewed two former Harrow schoolboys who were playing on the Test ground in Galle when the tsunami struck three years ago; their depth of experience, modesty and articulacy made it a wonderfully informative exchange, and one of the best things I've heard on TMS in a long time. I also enjoyed hearing Christopher Martin-Jenkins (always my favourite commentator) ripping into England's moronic and repetitive habit of throwing the ball at the wicket-keeper from anywhere on the field, with the apparent purpose of trying to intimidate the batsman but with the unwittingly obvious result that their over rate gets even more slow and, as this morning, overthrows can easily result. I first became aware of this during the Tests at Lord's last summer and I've hated it ever since; it's good to hear more people criticising it but if such criticisms find their way into the Team England 'bubble' they're more likely to persist with it than abandon it.

C'est la vie...

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