England v Pakistan: first Test, day four – live! | Sport

When turning in last night, I thought this was going to be an OBO of the wet weather. How about that storm? Lightning strikes every few seconds for what felt like hours. 50,000 of them, I’m told. Followed by chunks of hail that were more tropical Queensland than London. But fast forward to the morning, and it’s all good at Lord’s.

That might not be what England fans necessarily want to hear with the home side still so far behind in this Test, but the forecast says the rain will come again later today. So that gives us is a chance to revel in the work of a couple of lads from the west country who batted beautifully on Saturday afternoon to keep the contest vaguely alive.

Without getting too far ahead of myself, Dom Bess has the chance to double his half-century and become the first Englishman since Keaton Jennings to record a hundred on Test debut (and the first ever from number eight). You get chapters in books written about you for that kind of thing. Go on, you good thing.

As for the more senior man, Jos Buttler, he said his recall to the XI was like being on debut again, and resuming on 66, can salute for three figures for the first time in the creams for England as well. So, despite how it looks when these two joined 125 runs ago and hopes of a fourth day were fading, there remains more than a bit of interest here.

Pakistan have been joyous in their celebrations across three days of this match so far but will be mindful their job is not done. If this incumbent pair can stick around for the bulk of this session, the fourth innings chase will enter nasty territory, much as it was when they batted last in Ireland a couple of weeks ago. No major concerns, but work to do.

On the other hand, if they can keep the old ball reversing (or get the second new one going in two overs time) this could be over in a hurry and the visitors will triumph in London again, as they did both 2016 Tests here and the 2017 Champions Trophy Final. They like the capital as much as the city enjoys being in the European Union. Yes, I’ve been working on that gag all week and it still doesn’t work.

What England still probably need. But we can, and will, talk it up while these two are out there.

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