In another instance, having had a ball nick the stumps, he turned around, replaced the dislodged bail, and passed a remark about the strength of the breeze to the umpire at the bowler’s end.

“Yes, Mr Grace,” came the alleged reply. “Make sure it doesn’t blow your cap off on the way back to the pavilion.”

Cast your eye down the comments on the matter here and you’ll see a couple of variations on a common theme, namely that umpires make mistakes, and, in the days of neutral umpires you’d expect those mistakes to even themselves out around the fifty-fifty mark, all other things being equal.

Of course, all other things are rarely equal, so you’re not going to get too many mistakes on an absolute belter where everything’s hitting the middle of the bat. Faced with a raging turner, half a dozen close fielders around the bat and frequent appeals for bat pad catches, you’re probably going to get a number of them, particularly when you’ve got the predictable tendency to ask for anything.

And there’s the rub. Take a look at the range of comments here and you’ll find an interesting one from Peter Siddle, who starts off fairly graciously "You can't do anything about that," but goes on to talk about referrals, suggesting “You use them when you think there's a chance of getting a wicket and that's what they're there for."

Actually, they’re not. The referral system is there to fix the obvious howlers, and if you’re going to venture into opportunism and speculation you’re going to reap what you sow. An opportunistic referral at 12:50 (here) ends up costing a hell of a lot more at 5:27...

In any case, by that point the damage had already been done. Unless there’s a rapid run through the last four wickets you’d have to reckon a target in excess of 320 is likely, and while it doesn’t look like the track has started to turn at right angles (as predicted by Tuffnell back on Day One) yet, and the innings totals have been lifting as the game proceeds (215, 280, 6-326) you wouldn’t expect the tendency to continue.

Well, it won’t, will it? 

Regardless of the target set, thanks to that 65 run lead on the first dig, we’re going to be looking at something less than whatever total England eventually posts but I suspect anything beyond 300 will be a tough ask.

© Ian L Hughes 2021