It’s been almost subcontinental, this Test: slow, slow, quick, slow slow quick and potentially very quick. Except this track, as well as offering nowt to the quicks has offered nowt to the spinners either. Today, though, will be a trip.
Those of you who remember the 80s will be exceedingly au fait with what we are about to see, namely England getting whacked in a Test match. And you will also be familiar with the game of Othello, along with its strapline: “a minute to learn, a lifetime to master”. On Thursday and Friday, England reversed this maxim, first proving that they can actually bat properly, then ceasing to bat properly because once you’ve mastered it, what’s the point?
The thing is, England really should save this match, given batsmen whose highest level is extremely high and a ball that does almost nothing on a pitch that’s doing absolutely nothing. If they play sensibly, concentrate hard and deny themselves pleasure, they will pull it off. New Zealand do have some handy bowlers, it’s true, but that’s so of England too, and we saw what happened to them.
As we all know, sport is like, like life, yeah – and never has that been more so than it is so today. England are faced, not with a test of skill but a test of will, and as such we will see how they respond when confronted with the single, thorny question that taxes every single one of us on every day of our lives: can I be arsed?
Play: 11am local time, 10pm GMT.