Heavy Going

If you walk into Lord's during the lunch interval of a Test match, as I did last Friday, you're hit by a metaphorical wall of frenzied activity - tourists, MCC members, catering staff and anybody else who happens to be there (many of whom have already imbibed freely) get down to some serious socialising - and the impression is one of barely suppressed chaos.

Once I'd battled my way to my seat in the Warner Stand, virtually the first thing I saw was Ian Bell lifting Paul Harris for a majestic six, but, with KP already out, the game, in terms of entertainment value, was largely downhill from there. Belly was fantastic; he deserved the extra run and we can only hope that he can build on it and show the world how very good he is. This time I think he will. He was superbly supported by Stuart Broad, who already looks like a very good Test number eight who will surely go higher, even if his bowling still needs work and may cost him his place in the side before too long.

From late on Friday until its confused conclusion yesterday, the game was a war of attrition, and, by Sunday afternoon, at least in the pavilion, the optimistic buzz of Friday lunchtime had been replaced by a range of slumbering bodies.

It wasn't necessarily South Africa's fault though; apart from the gritty Prince they made a mess of the first innings, the pitch was (too) slow, and the situation demanded several days of grinding. Smith, McKenzie and Amla certainly provided that, although I think the gentleman in the MCC library (where I found myself yesterday lunchtime) who made great play of stating what a marvellous innings McKenzie had played was pushing it a bit.

Yes, a very good innings of its type, but, next time, just don't ask me to sit through it, okay?

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