Washed up: The Ultimate Test is got off to a rather damp, or to put it plainly, thoroughly drenched start. This is a Test with a difference, The Ultimate Test as it’s been billed. It certainly was different in thoughts of the last day overshadowing anything on the first. A sixth day has been provided in case of rain. No one was expecting to be thankful for that provision this early. But it may be too early even to be thankful. Rain is predicted on every single due day for this match.
Women get game: The Indian women meanwhile had a game on in Bristol, not that far from Southampton. Not entirely their way all the way, despite a great start in reply to a strong England total. Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma rattled up all of 167 runs between them to start India off, but the team then collapsed. And as for England captain Heather Knight, England could use her in the men’s team and count themselves lucky.
Despite low turnout, Bharat Army soldiers on: Of the famed Bharat Army there was only a limited show, but a brave lot did turn up on the off-chance there could be a little play at Southampton. Let’s say the Bharat Army sent a small commando force in to keep the flag flying in difficult conditions. For this match in any case the ranks of the army stand, or are seated, distanced, limited and muted. This means that a few New Zealand fans – and there are only a few of those – could well give Indian fans a run for their lung power. But with so much now so virtual for so long, the Indian team knows just how many are cheering for it behind the relatively small numbers at the stadium this time.
Manchester Arena bombing probe reveals lapses: An inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22, 2017, has found massive security and intelligence failures. The inquiry found that the bombing, in which 22 youngsters were killed could have been prevented. Manchester-born Abedi who was of Libyan descent, detonated the bomb at the end of a concert by the group Ariana Grande. His movements had aroused enough suspicion earlier, he was on watch supposedly but the watch over him was lifted at critical moments. He prepared the bomb, and the bombing, while the police looked the other way.
Hope floats for Hancock: Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock has found himself engaged in the oddest of denials. “Are you hopeless?" a journalist asked him as he drove by. “I don’t think so,” he replied. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office also expressed faith in the health minister appointed by the PM – after Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings produced messages in which the Prime Minister described Matt Hancock as “hopeless”. But few can doubt that the British government’s handling of the pandemic last year was hopeless, and lethally so. And of course, Matt Hancock was the Health Secretary.