Hello. Let’s talk about erectile dysfunction. If you live in the UK, chances are you’ve recently been assaulted by a television advert for Numan. You know the one: a male voice barks various synonyms for the membrum virile – “PENCIL, PISTON, PUZZLE, WIENER, WANGER, WILFRED”, etc – as they flash up on the screen. Then it rises to a frantic, slightly troubling crescendo: “DONG DONG DONGDONGDONG!”
A 30-second promotional onslaught concludes with, well the hard sell. “Call it what you want – but when it stops working, make the right call, do something about erectile disfunction. Clinically proven, discreetly delivered, order today at blah blah blah.”
That advert has been in my head all morning. Yes, very funny. It’s because, at some stage before 11am, we will all use at least one adjective to preview today’s play. Take your pick: BIG, VITAL, COLOSSAL, MASSIVE, CYCLOPEAN, SIGNIFICANT, HIMALAYAN, EPOCHAL¸ CRUCIAL, CAREER-DEFINING, GINORMOUS, BROBDINGNAGIAN, WELL CONSEQUENTIAL, HUGE HUGE HUGEHUGEHUGE.”
Call it what you want – but when it starts, make the right call, do something about following the cricket. Clinically unproven, indiscreetly delivered, follow today on the Guardian.
It’s not that big a reach to say today’s play could shape the match, the series, the year and even the legacy of Joe Root and Virat Kohli’s captaincy. England will resume on 53 for three, a deficit of 138. Crucially, one of the three is Root, who was bowled by Umesh Yadav late last night. For the first time in the series, he won’t be England’s top scorer. Whether this is a good or bad thing is the subject of your next philosophy essay, to be handed in at lunch.