Test 4, Day 4: Bat all day

Bat all day.

That’s what England needs to do. And they have eight wickets to do it.

There’s really nothing I love more in a Test match then when a team is tasked with batting all day, and somehow they manage to pull it off.

All day. From 11 in the morning until the early evening. Just keep batting. Stay alive. That’s all you need to do. This isn’t about winning. This is about survival.

And I identify with that. Especially now. That’s life, for lots of people, including me: bat all day. Don’t worry about scoring runs, just get through to stumps. You don’t need a miracle, or to hit a double century, just block, just parry, just deflect, just defend; see out the overs, and get back into the clubhouse.

It’s harder than it sounds. For England it’s almost impossible, having already lost Root and Burns. But it always seems impossible for me too. And so tomorrow I will be rooting for England. I know I will probably wake up at 6:30 a.m. central US time — just before lunch in Manchester — and England will already be three or four or five down, but I will still be there in their corner tomorrow. I cheer for survival, for getting through the day, and that’s all England needs to do: survive, get through. Live to fight.

And I hope they do. I hope they are down to single digit deliveries remaining late in the day, hanging on by two wickets, or even one, Sunday afternoon just before twilight, and they find a way to hang on. And we all go to the Oval next week with the Ashes still in play. It’s the theater of sport at its zenith.

Bat all day. Just get through, You don’t have to win. You just have to make it through. Gracefully, not so gracefully, just to get the other side.

Bat all day.

Bat all day.

It’s what I say to myself every morning as I am lying in bad watching as the black sky turns to gray.

Bat all day. Earn the draw. Survive. Get through.

Cricket, more than any other sport, mirrors our every day.

Until tomorrow.


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