For reasons too boring to explain, I’m going to hand over to Tim de Lisle for the morning session. You can share your hopes, dreams and Clockwise quotes with him on email or via Twitter. See you later!
There’s plenty more cricket going on today, and Tanya Aldred is placing scores on doors as we speak.
“I was at the Oval yesterday and didn’t give England a sniff before the opening partnership,” says Robbie Chedburn. “But I’m putting my pessimistic self away for the day and I reckon we’ll win. What better time to solidify an opening pair! Also think India are going to miss Ashwin!”
I’ve seen some hostages to fortune in my time, but an England cricket fan promising to put their pessimistic self away for a whole day is right up there.
“Hi Rob,” says Marc Greenhalgh. “WE CAN DO THIS!”
But who are we, Marc? Who are we?
Morning! The best Test matches are a crescendo; they start slowly and build to an intoxicating final-day cliche. This marvellous match has had a slightly different song structure – it started loud, went quiet and now appears to be building towards a stentorian climax. Yes, I did get that from an online thesaurus.
Once you reach a certain age, few things stir the soul like the anticipation of a fifth day on which all four outcomes are possible. More importantly, the main three results are all credible. The fact it’s 1-1 in a tough, topsy-turvy series only enhances the excitement. The situation is so simple that you could put it on a mildly patronising scoreboard: England need 291 runs, India need 10 wickets. The pitch is flat for the seamers but doing plenty for Ravindra Jadeja, especially to the left-handers.
I don’t know about you, because you still won’t answer my WhatsApps, but I gave England no chance at the start of their innings. The giddiness started to kick in during a tranquil opening partnership between Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, and I’m here for the lads as they chase a record target. England’s highest fourth-innings score to win a Test is 362 for nine against Australia a couple of years ago. Ben Stokes isn’t at the Oval, but I suspect he’s been all over the team WhatsApp group.
The CricViz win predictor is on a diet – in descending order, it reckons the most likely results are:
Draw 45 per cent
India 33 per cent
England 22 per cent
Tie 0.00000000000001 per cent
The sun is shining, the Kia Oval is full. It’s going to be emotional.