17 wickets in a day at Lord's

How on earth did 17 wickets fall in one day or a relatively easy batting track.

There were 17 wickets taken on day one at Lord's, and that would make you feel like it was the greenest wicket ever created. Or maybe there was inconsistent bounce, or someone dipped the balls in kerosine before shooting them out of bazookas.

Well, this was the pitch.

You can see here the colour is fairly brown.

That is probably a bit misleading in England, as the Dukes ball still moves more than the Kookaburra does. And there was undoubtedly some movement off the pitch, but not 17 wickets worth.

Of course in England, the ball swings more and for longer than other places. So that could be the reason for all the wickets, except it was very rare for the ball to swing that much today. Both teams tried to get their balls replaced, which tells you they weren't doing magical things. It did swing, it did seam, but again, not 17 wickets worth.

In fact, there is a metric that allows us to work out just how much the ball was doing and what damage it was doing. So after play when I ran into Patrick from Cricviz I asked what the expected wickets from today's deliveries were. He said six. Six.

Today's expected wicket total was almost trebled.

There were parts to this, no one dropped a catch. Although I think Alex Lees probably escaped three run outs. But there were 17 wickets, and I tried to group them together as best as I can.

The first is the group going at ones they didn't need to. I always have trouble with this, and it's twofold. One is that modern bowlers come wider on the crease so a wide delivery to us may not seem that way to the guy facing it. And also wide balls are how you score much of the time. They are the balls you are supposed to be hitting.

I think angle played a part on the first point, but on the second, I am not sure any of the players were trying to score.

Will Young was poking a mile from his body just to get bat on ball early.

He doesn't look like a classical opener, he feels makeshift. This ball was definitely that. And he is never going to feel ok looking at this still. Or at the least, he might want to introduce his bat to his front pad, because they look like strangers.

It's possible Latham was trying to make a run, but this was wide, and short, and a hideous shot from perhaps the most consistent opener in the world over recent times.

It was also worth noting that this was actually dropped, but it pinged off Bairstow's chest in a way that made it easy to claim it on the second choice. So there was technically one drop. But even that was caught.

The frames are a bit messy here, but you can see Conway's leg stump if you squint real close.

He is a long way across, and defending a ball that is certainly not coming anywhere near his stumps, even if his technique in doing so is much better than Young and Latham. He was facing Broad, who is not just a special bowler to left-handers, but is also great when around the wicket. But not sure Conway is going to be looking at this and thinking it's ok he was out here.

Let's chuck Pope into this group.

His ball was probably missing the stumps on width and height. He looked completely out of his depth batting at number three. Probably because he was. And this was a good day, how often will he ever get to bat at three for England and come in with more than 50 runs on the board. Though if he keeps playing at these balls, how often will he bat at number three for England.

While on the face of it, Kane Williamson's shot looks the same.

I would say he was probably one of the better dismissals of the day. A wobble ball angled in, close enough to off stump. Plus, Potts had been bringing the ball back in a lot, so I have no problem with Williamson nicking it.

On wide ones, you could add Jonny Bairstow, but I want to include him in another group, the backfoot drag on society.

I am going to start with the negatives here. Angled bat is kind of the obvious one, especially as many shorter balls had not got up. Also a ball or two before this Boult had delivered something similar, but it had swung back wildly. Basically, the same shot, and he had a warning. Now, that all said, look where the ball is, you can play the worst shot of your life on this and still barely ever drag this back onto your stumps. This is unlucky.

Now if he was unlucky, I don't know what to make of Mitchell's play on.

Back of a length and straight, he gets in line, the ball comes in a little bit, takes the inside edge, a chunk of his hip, and ends up on the stumps. Perhaps both had something to do with the slightly lower bounce on short balls we saw all day. But more often than not, neither of these balls ends up on the stumps.

But other short balls took wickets, and they were also balls that didn't get up. The most notable was probably Matty Potts. That man who took four wickets and was so excited by it he got cramp. He can hold a bat, not an all rounder, but not terrible. Here, you can see that he dropped under the short ball, and it didn't get up.

You can see how low this was, Potts gloved it from, really not much about his waist in the end.

Kyle Jamieson played a shot to his.

He went for a hook, but again the ball was more at a pull length, and because of that he got it all wrong. And so he ended up finding a man on the boundary.

Southee's also didn't get up.

And because I think he actually lost the ball a little, and just followed through with his hook shot without really looking.

I also want to mention something else about the Southee and Jamieson wicket. When New Zealand came out after lunch, they decided they had to score runs. So they took a few chances and played a lot of shots. It probably seemed like a good idea. But actually with the pitch flattening,  the ball going out of shape, and Colin De Grandhomme finding some form, in retrospect, the best idea would have been to bat normally.

The Kiwis attacked so hard that even mild-mannered Ajaz Patel tried to smash Jimmy Anderson back over his head.

Without this intent, I wonder if we'd have this many wickets in the day.

England also had some attacking wickets, one was Stokes. Who perhaps also saw his best chancing of getting England in front was to play some shots. Which is random enough, because half an hour after tea it looked like New Zealand was going to lose easily. By the time Stokes came out to bat, England were already sliding so much he felt the need to counterpunch.

He tried to drive a ball that was swinging massively, which wasn't quite the right length. All things considered and odd bit of cricket, Stokes managed to outside edge a ball that was massively swinging into him.

Zak Crawley also found the outside edge.

New Zealand kept trying to let him cover drive, until he went out to it. Which at this point is so common it's hardly worth mentioning.

Joe Root went out to de Grandhomme, I don't really know how to work that out.

There are days and pitches when going out to CDG is fine. Not really sure this was one of them. Almost no one in world cricket has been able to get Root out other than Pat Cummins. CDG's gentle swingers are not like that.

What Alex Lees did is something quite special. He took the entire batting on off stump thing to the max by starting outside off stump and a mile down the wicket. This is what it looked like, and the plan was to stop getting edges, and because he is outside the line, he can't be out LBW.

The problem here is that he was out LBW. Because you can only move so much outside the line, right, if the bowler delivers at the stumps, then it will still quite possibly hit in line.

So look at what we have so far, a little poking at wide ones, some wickets potentially from the ball not quite getting up, and then some attacking shots that went awry. You'll notice that this is in no way the normal kinds of dismissals you assume to see on a 17 wicket day.

Now there were some bowlers on the scene. These four alone are pretty good, not to mention Kyle Jamieson and his great average were probably the best of all of them today.

But there is nothing in anything I saw today that justifies this many wickets, other than the fact in modern cricket wickets fall fast. You can chalk this up to the wobble ball, modern batters are rubbish, or whatever takes your fancy.

But if one image sums this up, it is this. Tom Blundell had a whole bunch of balls swinging away, and then had this ball go straight. He tried to leave, then decided to play, then didn't finish his shot, and he finished like this. Bat above his head in the middle of nowhere, looking at his broken stumps while wondering how it all went wrong.

In some ways, that happened 17 times.