Saturday, 18 July 2009

Declaration Time?

England face a nice problem in the Lord's Test against the Australians. How many runs will make the game safe? How much time is needed to take ten Australian wickets? It was exercising the Sky commentators through most of the session after Tea, but I thought Atherton summed it up well. 'Bat through to about 40 minutes of the morning session, then declare,' he said.

At the time he made that statement, I thought England needed less time and more runs, and suggested batting through to mid-afternoon. Then, somebody made the comment that Lord's lately had proven to be a hard ground to take wickets on days 4 and 5. (Or maybe it was just day 5.) People often say such things, then you look it up and they are completely wrong.

Test             Day 4      Day 5
2004 vs NZL 9 3
2004 vs WIN 8 7
2005 vs AUS 5 n/a
2006 vs SRL 3 3
2006 vs PAK 8 4
2007 vs WIN 11 0
2007 vs IND 11 6
2008 vs NZL 10 6
2008 vs RSA 1 2

Mostly memory is a case of people remembering the last time. In 2008, England couldn't buy a wicket at Lord's against South Africa for two days. In fact, looking over the past six years, taking ten wickets starting sometime on the fourth day looks pretty attractive. With a full day on Monday, I think England should calculate on getting 4 wickets. So how much time will it take to break the first six partnerships on Sunday?

I think Atherton has it about right. Declare sometime during the morning session, and go for it.

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