Haseeb Hameed stroked 131 but we collapsed from 131-1. Coincidence?
We were 130-1 at lunch on day one. Guess how this story ends?!
Having made 27, James Vince (Bowled off a no ball on 15) went for a wander the first delivery he faced after his salad and promptly got run out. Cue a collapse of epic proportions as 131-1 became 258 all out. It would be an understatement to say that it’s a good job Haseeb Hameed turned up. He constructed a chanceless and quite simply, in the face of all the carnage around him, magnificent 131.
We then chipped away at the opposition batting order and following a quick double strike from Liam Plunkett we had the Grecians in peril at 196-7 but they would go onto claim a vital 68-run first innings lead by totalling 306. Plunkett was the pick of the bowlers with figures 4-44. Fellow pacers Mark Footitt (2-63), Mark Wood (2-65) and Sam Curran (2-55) also performed well but spin trio Adil Rashid, Liam Dawson and Moeen Ali failed to claim a wicket between them. More plates were spun at lunch than the ball turned for the twirless threesome!
We then stumbled to 258 in our second innings at Corfu Stadium. First innings hero Hameed (12) left a straight one, Vince (5) vanished and Gary Ballance (18) hit two of the most majestic fours you’ll ever see then offered slip catching practice. Moeen Ali (42) again looked good but got out and Sam Curran (16) briefly flirted with doing well. Captain for this match Jonny Bairstow (31) put on 60 with Liam Dawson before the former fell in spectacular fashion when attempting an audacious ramp and becoming the premier spin victim in the Test. Dawson battled away and reached fifty but fell soon afterwards for 52. Liam Plunkett made 8 having quacked in the first innings before Mark Wood (18) put on 45 with Adil Rashid. Rashid was dropped behind on 34 but when Wood was out Rashid couldn’t get back on strike before Mark Footitt was bowled without troubling the scorers. Rashid was left stranded on 35 not out from 80 deliveries.
That left the Greeks requiring 191 for a famous victory. Footitt struck early but though wickets fell every now and again there wasn’t the clatter required for us to pull of a heist. Footitt (2), Wood and Plunkett each claimed a wicket and there was one solitary wicket via spin courtesy of Liam Dawson.
Well played Greece. They thoroughly deserved their five-wicket win. We were 131-1 in the first innings of the match, were gifted 36 extras, had Vince bowled off a no ball and had Rashid dropped yet we still lost! The team as a whole offer their sincerest apologies to our fans, particularly those that made the trip to Corfu in the hope of a good time.
The selection committee will review the events of the past four days prior to announcing the squad for our next Test match.