Question: What’s the last time England fielded two captains against Australia on the same day, when both top-scored, both were left-hand bats and right-arm bowlers?
A pause for thought.
The answer was 2 July 2023.
The honoured pair were Ben Stokes and Grace Scrivens.
One of my continuing weaknesses is the inability to be in two places at one time. So the extraordinary innings of BS comes to me second-hand. Jonathan Agnew was moved to say: ‘I’ve never seen a day like that at Lord’s’. His focus was on the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow, for obvious reasons, but he did find space to call Stokes ‘an extraordinary phenomenon’. His 155 included nine 4s and nine 6s.
Scrivens wouldn’t term herself a phenomenon just yet, but she did top-score with 87 off 106 balls, and she hit eleven 4s.
As unlikely a coincidence as you’re likely to find.
The Board showed itself in its best light when I was offered access to the Guildford ground at the eleventh hour (almost literally).
That promptness and generosity stand in stark contrast with other aspects of the ECB operation which cricket fans across the country must find galling.
In this instance: where are the England A-team fixtures against Australia posted? I know they were revealed some time back. But if you search on the ECB’s website, you can find ‘England Women’, then their fixtures stretching right ahead to 6 September, when they play Sri Lanka.
But the A-squad? Where’s the scoreboard and a report on the Guildford game? Answer: on espncricinfo.
Is England second team so unimportant? Could we not be let into some of Jon Batty’s thinking, when it comes to selections and onfield decisions (who bats, who bowls, who’s included, who’s allowed to appear in the RHF Trophy)?
Normally we need hypocaust to keep us up to date. By the way, I suspect that pseudonym covers a few dozen people, able to watch games in Antigua, Netherlands, Uganda and Sri Lanka at the same time, give us updates and clips, YouTube access, and provide details about England women that the ECB doesn’t.