A Touch of Irony

As England set themselves up for what should develop into a huge total today, comfortably the most enjoyable part for me was watching Owais Shah. Denied a proper opportunity to display his qualities at Test level under successive coaches, Shah batted with the spiky assertiveness of someone who was keen to make up for lost time. However, someone could have done to have told him that he didn't necessarily have to try to reach his century by the close of play; if they had he might not have run himself out in such a clumsy manner and could still be there today with power to add.

That said, he's surely assured now of a place in the side for the rest of the series, and, with a bit of luck and a following sea breeze, some really big runs could follow.

Meanwhile, at the other end, his captain was playing what was probably his best attacking innings for England, and, in the manner of the usual tone of English media discourse, it only falls for me to declare that the slide to 51 all out can be safely forgotten and all in the garden is rosy once more.

In fact, bring on the Australians...

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