Light was so bad that play­ers were put at risk, says Bess

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Third Test - By Tim Wig­more

Eng­land spin­ner Dom Bess claimed con­di­tions were “dan­ger­ous” by the end of the third day at the Ageas Bowl.

Play was aban­doned for the day shortly af­ter three catches were dropped in 10 balls from James An­der­son, with Bess sug­gest­ing Eng­land had strug­gled to pick up the ball. He said play should have been called off for bad light ear­lier.

“I think it’s a bit of com­mon sense,” Bess said. “Play­ing in those con­di­tions we have to be re­ally switched on with it and ac­tu­ally we got to start think­ing a lit­tle bit about the play­ers’ well-be­ing be­cause you’ve got 10, 11 there hav­ing to face up to some­one like Jofra [Archer] as well in those con­di­tions – it is se­ri­ously dan­ger­ous.

“We all want to be play­ing cricket, but there’s got to be a lit­tle more com­mon sense. You take [Mohammad] Ab­bas and the No11 [Naseem Shah], you don’t want to see them get­ting hit or any­thing like that.

“We are try­ing to get cricket played, but from just my per­spec­tive, imag­ine if some­one gets hit there and it is re­ally se­ri­ous? Say the No 10 or 11 gets hit by Jofra be­cause we are out there – what hap­pens then?

“I guess it’s just call­ing out for a bit of com­mon sense in terms of when it is too dark we’ve got to go. And when it’s not, we try to play.”

The match of­fi­cials at the Ageas Bowl have seemed in­tent on do­ing every­thing pos­si­ble to maximise play, fol­low­ing fierce crit­i­cism for the amount of time lost to bad light dur­ing the sec­ond Test. Bess said that the murky con­di­tions were a big fac­tor in the flurry of dropped chances to­wards the end of the day.

“I don’t know what it looks like on TV, it might look a lit­tle bit brighter, but cer­tainly out here it was gloomy,” Bess said. “With the brand new ball, which is ob­vi­ously shiny as well, it is hard. I don’t think it is any ex­cuse for drop­ping th­ese catches. But also you’ve got to take into ac­count what it was like.”

Af­ter his 29th five-wicket haul, An­der­son now needs just two more wick­ets to be­come the first quick bowler to 600 Test wick­ets.

“We’re in a great po­si­tion,” Bess said. “We talk about our blueprint as a team, which is scor­ing plenty of runs. We got the op­tion to en­force the fol­low-on, which we have, and now we have two days to bowl them out.

“There’s a lit­tle bit of weather around, but you’d like to think with the bowl­ing attack we have that we can pro­duce the goods.”

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