Virtual Test: Nasser Hussain XI rally against Rob Key XI on day two
Sky Sports statistician Benedict Bermange is using a cricket simulation to play out a virtual Test match England sides captained by Nasser Hussain and Rob Key
Last Updated: 21/04/20 6:55pm
Rob Key's XI will start the third day of the Virtual Test on 75-3, trailing Nasser Hussain's XI by 232 runs.
It was very much a tale of 'what might have been' for Hussain's XI as they started the day in good shape on 213-4 with Robin Smith looking well set for another Test century.
It wasn't to be, though, as Key's decision to take the new ball brought success less than five overs later as Smith played on to Steve Harmison for 87.
BENEDICT'S VIRTUAL SIMULATION
Sky Sports statistician Benedict Bermange is using a cricket simulation that takes into account batting averages, strike-rates, bowling averages and bowling speeds and plays out a five-day Test match based on those figures between an England XI from Nasser Hussain's era and England XI from Rob Key's era.
Sir Ian Botham strode to the crease, arms swinging as ever, and got off the mark with a rasping cover drive from just his second delivery. He was looking good before Simon Jones found a little away movement from a good length which resulted in a simple catch for Ben Stokes in the gully.
Graham Thorpe completed a typically nuggety fifty in the over before lunch, but at no stage was he able to truly master the five-man seam attack.
Calamity struck two overs after the lunch interval when Ashley Giles sent Thorpe back and he was run out for 53 by a swift return from Andrew Flintoff moving to his left at mid-on.
The tail failed to wag and the innings ended with Stuart Broad finding the edge of Angus Fraser's bat, before the left-handed opening pair of Marcus Trescothick and Alastair Cook saw Key's XI to tea without alarm.
Trescothick and Cook had batted for an hour and a half when Angus Fraser trapped Trescothick leg-before for 16 with a delivery to which the Somerset opener offered no shot. It was a brave decision from the umpire, but the replays showed the ball would have taken the off-bail.
The golden arm of Botham duly delivered with the fifth delivery of his second spell when the outside half of Cook's bat sent the ball to Hussain at point, who completed a smart catch to see off his fellow Essex man for 22.
The third-wicket partnership of captain Key and Kevin Pietersen was looking set to take Key's XI through to stumps but an inspired decision by Hussain to give Fraser one last spell brought a wicket with his first delivery as Key inside-edged a leaden-footed drive onto his middle stump and trudged off disconsolately for 14.
Jones, the night-watchman, survived nine deliveries before the close but a lot will depend on the middle-order of Pietersen, Stokes and Flintoff on the third day if Key's team are to approach parity in this match.