33rd over: New Zealand 80-3 (Latham 32, Taylor 0) In the history of Test cricket there have been 3,054 debuts, but none quite look Ollie Robinson’s: 42 runs, seven cheap wickets and a public shaming. He loses his line at the end of the over, spearing a delivery down the leg side for four byes. James Bracey was pretty gutted that it wasn’t called a wide.
WICKET! New Zealand 74-3 (Wagner c Bracey b Robinson 10)
A third wicket for Ollie Robinson. Wagner, roughed up by a couple of good short balls, top-edged a hook miles in the air and was calmly caught by James Bracey.
32nd over: New Zealand 72-2 (Latham 31, Wagner 10) Stuart Broad gets a chance to bowl at Neil Wagner, who dismissed him yesterday and celebrated with a red-faced flourish. Broad appeals for LBW first ball, but it was going down on the angle. Wagner then cracks two boundaries, a flash up and over the cordon and a majestic flick through midwicket. I’d love to hear Broad’s internal monologue right now.
“This fuss comes up regularly,” says John Starbuck. “’Batter’ is, agreed, both an Americanism (by way of the English invention of baseball) and a flour, milk and egg mixture. But think what might happen if we used ‘bowlsman’ as a standard. If we can do it with one essential element of cricket, we can do it with the other. Besides, look at the ambiguities of ‘pitch’ and ‘wicket’, which vary a lot depending on context. Language is meant to be fluid.”
31st over: New Zealand 62-2 (Latham 30, Wagner 2) Ollie Robinson will open the bowling, a reward for his forensic excellence last night. He switches over and round the wicket to Latham, giving him precisely no opportunities to score. Thus, it’s a maiden.
“The OED has instances ‘batter’ being used in relation to cricket going back about 200 years, so it’s not like it’s without precedent,” says Andrew Cosgrove. “Also, you don’t talk about a ‘bowlsman’ do you? Anyway, do you think England are capable of batting out two sessions for a draw?”
I do, I do. A collapse wouldn’t shock me but I think it’s unlikely, especially as there are likely to be one of two rain interruptions.
This is a majestic piece from Andy Bull, with a particularly brilliant intro.
“I am becoming more & more dismayed by the use of the term ‘batter’ in cricket,” says Ben Carter. “All the commentators are doing it. The term is BATSMAN. Are you all coordinated by someone who tells you what to say?”
Yes, last month Mother Cricket gave her 475 children a collective brollocking for our sexist terminology. Seriously, though, with everything else that’s going on in the world right now, is a change of language designed to increase inclusivity really worthy of dismay? I can understand thinking it’s a bit heavy-handed, not that I’d necessarily agree, but dismay, I can’t have that.
The draws are back in town. Today, all things being equal, England will draw their consecutive Test at home for the first time since the late eighties. And though that’s mainly down to the weather, it also reflects a different approach and a greater resilience under Chris Silverwood. The Bayliss-era England might have thrown the towel in when they slipped to 140 for six; instead, Rory Burns and Ollie Robinson (with bat and ball) stalled New Zealand’s momentum to such an extent that they finished the day crawling along at two an over.
New Zealand will resume on 62 for two, a lead of 165. With a maximum of 98 overs to bowl, they could still force victory on a pitch is becoming more uneven. But with a forecast for showers – of the meteorological rather than the middle-order kind – that looks unlikely. Madame de Stael said that one must choose in life between boredom and suffering. England politely request a boring last day.