“Oh my days!” I remember where I was the first time I heard that glorious phrase – Roe Green Summer Scheme, 1987 – and remember wondering at what age one could deploy it with legitimacy. Like the speaker, I was eight years-old then, which makes me 41 years-old now, so reckon I’m good to go. As such, oh – my – days.
The purpose of a preamble is to set up what’s to come, but in this case that’s already been determined by what’s already been. Zak Crawley’s innings didn’t just end on a big number, though it did, and didn’t just come against a magnificent attack, though it did. Rather, it evidenced the craft, commitment and temperament of a talent maturing into a player before our eyes. Strauss, Greig, Stewart, Sutcliffe, Smith, Vaughan, Atherton, Cowdery, D’Oliveria and SJ Broad are but some of the legendary batsmen who never made a Test double century, and of the 695 people to play for England – Crawley being the most recent – only nine have made more in a single innings than his 267. Not bad for 22 (but for how many consecutive meals can he eat ketchup sandwiches? Well then.)
Consequently, Pakistan are right under the pump, ravaged last evening by England’s double-pronged attack of JM Anderson and SB Pressure. And it’s hard to see things improving much over the next bit. Just 15 days ago, they were poised to go 1-0 up in the series, yet at some point in the immediate future, they’ll lose it 2-0.
But when we think back in another 33 years time, we won’t dwell on any of that, we’ll relive the achievement of Crawley – and Buttler, and Woakes – that still make us exclaim “Oh my absolute days!” Or, put another way, Test cricket is alright.
Play: 11am BST