Ollie Robinson revealed that English cricketers were concerned about singing the new British national anthem at the Oval on Saturday in case they misunderstood the words. Before play in the third Test against South Africa finally started on the scheduled third day of five, England paid their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, whose death at the age of 96 was announced on Thursday.
After the game was washed out on opening day without a ball being bowled and Friday’s second day completely abandoned as a mark of respect for Britain’s longest serving monarch, teams and officials, all wearing black armbands, lined up on the outfield at the Oval.
Although it is common in international football or rugby union, the playing of an anthem is a relatively rare occurrence before the start of a cricket test match.
But both countries’ national anthems were sung by soprano Laura Wright, with the South London audience joining in on a moving rendition of ‘God Save the King’, a small but significant change in the lyrics of ‘God Save the Queen’ that had taken a long time. 70 years now Charles III is on the throne.
Sussex sailor Robinson, 28, took a test-best 5-49 when South Africa was sacked for a meager 118 before England finished the day at 154-7.
But he seemed more concerned about the national anthem than his Saturday bowling.
“We had to remind ourselves what we were actually going to sing,” Robinson told reporters after punching.
“There were a few nervous figures walking down the stairs.”
– ‘Special morning’ –
Robinson added: “It was very special to be able to sing it at this sporting event and it was a very special morning and honor to be a part of it.”
As for his bowling, Robinson, who has now taken 49 wickets in 11 Tests with an impressive under-20 average, said: “I wasn’t feeling that great actually.
“My run was all over the place, I couldn’t find a rhythm, I was just trying to focus on breaking out the length, really. It’s not the best I’ve felt.”
South Africa’s understandable insistence on sticking to their original schedule, with the tourists returning home on Tuesday, fulfilled hopes for this match, the third of a three-test series that now stands at 1-1. extended to a sixth day.
But as both first two tests were completed within three days, there was every reason to believe there was still plenty of time for both teams to claim victory in South London.
And that image was only heightened on Saturday as fast bowlers on both sides took advantage of the helpful cloudy conditions as they shared 17 wickets together.
South Africa, 36-6 in heavy weather, owed thanks to a fine all-round display by recalled left-arm speedy Marco Jansen.
He scored the highest score for the Proteas with 30 before rocking England with a return of 4-34.
Ollie Pope’s dashing 67 on his home ground in Surrey helped England close to a slim 36-run lead after several home batsmen were guilty of loose shots.
But Robinson defended the bold approach behind England winning five of the six Tests ahead of this match under their new leadership duo of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
“You saw when the South Africans hit, if you sat there and had Test match bowlers throw six or 12 balls in a row, you would get out,” he said.
“The type of cricket we want to play is brave cricket and be positive. We want to force a result in this game and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
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