Everything Stops for Tea

Leicestershire v Essex, Grace Road, County Championship, Day 2, 11 July 2011

“What time do you think we’ll see Taylor bat then?” I heard one of the surprising number of Essex supporters say to another as I came in.

I suppose it should have been shortly after lunch.  It shouldn’t have taken long to polish off the last two wickets, with Essex on 248-8 overnight.  Decent platform from the openers and then a vintage century from the lad ‘isself.  Leicestershire, say, 300-3 at the close.

But no.  With Buck still out, Hoggard injured too and Henderson and Naik finding it hard to locate the spin that looked to be in the pitch, we were in for a long wait.  Foster batted on …

… and on …

to take Essex to 322.

Leicestershire’s openers did start well.  When Jefferson is in form, which he is at the moment, he swats bowlers away like King Kong swatting biplanes.  He made 61, and with Boyce(47) took Leicester to a promising 109-1.

Taylor made his entrance at 3.30

Thirty minutes later he’d scored 5 off 16 balls, and – time for tea! 


15 minutes later, out to bat again …

… and two balls later back in again …

Like a space flight, the most dangerous part of any Taylor innings is the period of take off.  I don’t know whether any batsman with so high an average can have been dismissed so often in single figures, often, as in the second innings (when he made 9 in 18 balls) LBW.  Interruptions such as the tea interval seem to send him back to the beginning.  In fact, tea seems to be such a threat to his composure that I’m surprised the fieldsmen don’t try to put him off by adopting mass double teapot poses and chirping in chimp-like voices “It’s the taste”.

Taylor’s last innings, on the Friday evening, had come when Leicestershire needed 60 from the last 5 overs to win a 20/20 match against Derbyshire.  He scored 53 from 31 balls to win the game (3 sixes, 2 fours).  How hard it must be to switch between that intensity and clarityof purpose and the endless hanging about and in and outs of the Championship.

Earlier today Leicestershire lost by 254 runs.  I don’t think our visitors from Essex will have gone away too impressed.

(Another couple of names to add to the lengthening list of promising newcomers, by the way – Tymal Mills and Tom Craddock, a fluid and rapid left armer and a leg-spinner respectively.  Both Yorkshiremen.)

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