BUMBLE AT THE TEST: Shah was terrific on a fiery Old Trafford pitch

BUMBLE AT THE TEST: Yasir Shah was terrific on a fiery Old Trafford pitch, Ollie Pope reminds me of Ian Bell and will be an England No 3 one day… while Shane Warne was very excited by my Kylie Minogue glasses!

  • England’s slips are too narrow and they have been for a long time now 
  • This Old Trafford pitch is tailor-made for Yasir Shah, because the ball is turning 
  • Ollie Pope is well-organised with a cover-drive that reminds me of Ian Bell 
  • The sharp-eyed will have noticed I’m wearing my Kylie Minogue eyewear again

An intriguing final two days lie in store after England mounted a fightback in the final session on day three of the first Test against Pakistan. 

Yasir Shah ripped through the England middle order and was aided by fellow spinner Shadab Khan in mopping up the tail, but England’s seamers led the fightback fought to leave the visitors at stumps.

Here, Sportsmail’s David Lloyd gives us his take on the proceedings on day three.

An intriguing final two days lie in store after England mounted a fightback late on day three

England have clearly been second-best in this game, but the fact remains they have created chances in this first Test. Shan Masood was given two lives on 45 in the first innings, and went on to make 156. 

And on Friday Abid Ali was dropped by Ben Stokes in the slips off Jimmy Anderson. But the slips are too narrow – and they have been for a long time. 

It was Joe Root’s catch, but Stokes went across him. They need to stand further apart and – on a quick pitch like this – further back.

England’s slips need to stand further apart and – on a quick pitch like this – further back

The perfect leg up 

That was a terrific spell from Pakistan’s leg-spinner Yasir Shah. This Old Trafford pitch is tailor-made for him, because the ball is turning – and, above all, it’s bouncing. Leggies love bounce. 

It accounted for Root on Thursday, as he tried to cut one that was too close to him, and on Friday for Dom Bess, who gloved one that leapt at him. 

All Yasir wants is a big first-innings lead. Well, he’s got it. Look out for more wickets in England’s second innings.

This Old Trafford pitch is tailor-made for Yasir Shah, so expect more wickets from the spinner

This camera’s candid 

I like this new system with the no-balls, where the third umpire has a dedicated square-on camera and takes the burden off his on-field colleagues. 

People often wonder why umpires have failed to call so many, but I’ve done the job myself and I can assure you that some bowlers had actions that simply blocked your view of the front line. 

When I started umpiring in the mid-1980s, I was advised to concentrate on the business end. Now there are so many cameras around that no-balls are treated like the biggest deal ever. We must have missed hundreds…

The new no-balls system has taken a lot of the burden off the third umpire’s on-field colleagues

Pope way rings a Bell 

Ollie Pope is only 22 years of age, but he looks a well-organised player, with a cover-drive that reminds me of Ian Bell. 

What also stands out is his judgment of length. He’s only a small chap, but he gets a full stride in. I think England are doing the right thing by starting him at No 5 or 6, depending on how many batsmen they pick. 

But he’ll move up the order – and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up at No 3.

Ollie Pope’s judgement of length stands out and he will eventually move up the batting order

Golf lesson for openers 

From time to time, a top-class golfer will change his swing, but it can take a long time. I wonder if the same sort of thing can happen in cricket too. 

All the experts in our commentary box said before the start of the England innings that Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, with their idiosyncratic techniques, were lbws waiting to happen. And so it proved. 

The way they play is OK against the lesser sides, but with tours to India and Australia over the next two winters, it’s something they may need to think about.

Dom Sibley (above) and Rory Burns’s idiosynchratic techniques were lbws waiting to happen

Fitting tribute to Bob 

Speaking of no-balls, this Test match is dedicated to our great friend and colleague Bob Willis, who bowled a few in his time. 

Bob died last year, but has a book out, Bob Willis: A Cricketer and a Gentleman, with all the proceeds going to the Prostate Cancer UK charity. 

It’s a lovely book, containing contributions from many of the people who played with and knew him, and some previously unseen musings from the great man himself. Miss you, Bob.

This Test match is dedicated to our great friend and colleague Bob Willis (left) who died in 2019

Can’t get it out of my head 

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that I’m wearing my Kylie Minogue eyewear again. 

Shane Warne certainly picked up on the fact in the commentary box. He seemed quite excited, in fact, and wanted a picture of the two of us? 

I asked him why, and he said because he wanted to send it to her. Would you believe, he has her number in his phone! He should be so lucky…

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that I’m wearing my Kylie Minogue eyewear again




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