Lords bathes in the sunshine ahead of the Varsity one-day matchImran Marashli

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  • Oxford win by 9 runs after Cambridge are bowled out for 255.
  • Marsden finishes with 4-33, while Swanson also claims 4 wickets for Oxford.
  • Gnodde top-scores for Oxford with 76; Dalgleish's 68 for Cambridge not enough.

6:46pm So, that's it, folks. Oxford have levelled the Varsity cricket series after beating Cambridge by 9 runs here at Lord's. It was another cracking game of cricket, but today the Dark Blues were just slightly better than their Light Blue adversaries and take the win by fine margins. 

That brings Varsity's live blog to an end. Thank you to all who tuned in to follow what was a riveting contest. Keep your eyes peeled for Iain Blackwell's full report on the website. However, it's goodbye from me, Imran Marashli, and from our reporter and photographer Iain Blackwell. Goodbye!

6:38pm We're hearing that the Oxford women have completed the Dark Blue revenge today after chasing down 229 with seven wickets in hand.

Analysis

Imran Marashli

Sport Reporter

6:36pm 265 was always going to be a competitive total, but Oxford were superb in the manner in which they defended it.

It was a real war of attrition as the spinners ground away at the Cambridge batsmen, who never found a way to dominate them or milk them for easy runs. Consequently, they were playing catch-up for the entire innings, especially as the wickets fell. Swanson was the pick of the spinners as he claimed 4 wickets, and Johny Marsden was also excellent as he picked up 4-33 with 1 maiden after 9.5 overs. 

For a while, it appeared as though Tim Moses would steal the game from Oxford for a second week running with another blistering innings, but when he and the valiant Angus Dalgleish fell the balance tilted more decisively in Oxford's favour as the lower order were unable to get away the high-quality, disciplined bowling from Marsden, Pettman and Swanson.

Oxford earned the win in the end thanks to their slightly superior bowling, particularly in the spin department, and a couple of more substantial innings from Gnodde, Naylor, Hughes and Taylor. Cambridge cannot afford to rely too much on Moses with the 4-day game deciding the series soon.

6:25pm WICKET! Cambridge are 255 all out. 

Marsden cleans up Tice for 29, and that has sealed it! Oxford win by 9 runs, the perfect revenge for their 10-run defeat at Fenner's last week. What a game that was!

That makes it 1-1 overall going into the 4-day game that will decide the series.

6:24pm 10 needed off the final two balls

Tice picks up two to third man.

6:23pm 12 needed off 3 balls. 

DOT from Marsden. Tice can only hit it back into the ground to the big man.

6:23pm 12 needed off 4 balls. 

Harrison fumbles and allows Winder to get Tice on strike.

6:22pm Nick Winder is on strike. Marsden will be looking to clean him up.

6:21pm WICKET! Cambridge 252-9 13 required off 5 balls

Crichard is run out! Tice swung and missed, and Harrison was swift to pick up the loose ball and run out Crichard.

6:20pm Marsden to bowl out his 10 overs from the Pavilion End. 5 men on the boundary.

6:19pm Cambridge 252-8 after 49 overs. Cambridge need 13 runs off the final over.

Out of nowhere, no. 10 Crichard smacks Pettman over midwicket for four off the last ball of the over. We've got a grandstand finish! 

6:15pm WICKET! Cambridge 245-8

Poulson moves across to the onside and tries to slog Pettman towards the on-side, but can only succeed in slicing up a simple catch to the point fielder Escott. Oxford are almost home and hosed.

6:12pm Cambridge 244-7 after 48 overs. 21 runs needed off 12 balls.

That was an over of quick singles and one two. Tice and Poulson can't find the boundary, which is protected by five men. Pettman will finish his 10-over allotment.

6:09pm Lots of singles are on offer, but Cambridge cannot pierce the well-protected boundaries.

6:08pm Marsden returns from the Pavilion End. Cambridge now need to trade in boundaries, but the paceman has been excellent today.

6:06pm Cambridge 237-7 after 47 overs. 28 runs needed off 18 balls.

Another economical Gnodde over harms Cambridge's charge.

6:03pm Gnodde with his final over.

6:02pm Cambridge 233-7 after 46 overs. 32 runs required from 24 balls.

Tice is without fail attempting to sweep every shot despite almost being dismissed twice playing it. He's been there 34 balls but only has 18 to his name. The onus is now on him to drag Cambridge over the line.

6:00pm WICKET! Cambridge 230-7

Sale, who was playing well, holes out to Pettman at long off! Curtains for Cambridge?

5:58pm Cambridge 228-6 after 45 overs

The nerves are getting to everyone in what is another nail-biter between these two teams. Gnodde followed up his long hop with a full toss that Sale failed to dispatch, while next ball he almost edged behind a cut shot.

The excellent Swanson will bowl his final over.

5:56pm Four! Bad ball from Gnodde. It was a long hop that pitched about halfway down, and Sale swivelled nicely to pull through midwicket. 

5:54pm Cambridge 220-6 after 44 overs

Lovely skip down the track from Sale, and he wristily places it through midwicket for a very welcome four for Cambridge off the last ball of another good Swanson over. That was all about the placement and timing.

5:51pm Cambridge 211-6 after 43 overs

The Light Blues now need 54 runs from 42 balls. It's a tall but not impossible order from here.

5:49pm Cambridge 207-6 after 42 overs

5:47pm WICKET! Cambridge 206-6

Dalgleish is caught and bowled by the brilliant Swanson low by his bootlaces, and that, in all probability, has decided the game. It would be a monumental effort for Cambridge to win it from here with the lower middle order and the tail. Rory Sale is the next man in.

5:46pm Dropped! Tice goes to sweep again, and top-edges it to fine leg, who drops it when coming round! That was a bad drop. But, hang on...

5:45pm Tice is soaking up a lot of balls without much success. He needs to rotate the strike and get Dalgleish facing the bowling. 8 off 23 now.

5:44pm Cambridge 204-5 after 41 overs

A more disciplined over from Gnodde tightens the screw.

5:41pm Cambridge 201-5 after 10 overs

So, with 60 balls remaining, Cambridge need 64 runs with 5 wickets in hand. This is still in the balance, but one more Oxford wicket would probably seal their advantage.

5:40pm Gosh, that was a tight call for Tice. He was hit on the pad sweeping, but the vociferous Oxford appeal was turned down. That must have hit him just outside the line of off stump, otherwise he looked a certain goner. 

5:37pm Cambridge 199-5 after 39 overs

Appeal for lbw is rejected by the umpire. Probably too high and/or going down leg. That was an eventful over, and a fruitful one for Cambridge.

5:36pm The huge heave doesn't connect, but Cambridge steal a single. Oxford don't want to be conceding any needless extras now.

5:35pm Rank full toss from Gnodde gets the treatment it deserves as Dalgleish: four. And it's a no-ball, so you know what that means: a free hit! Get ready!

5:34pm Gnodde will return to replace Marsden from the Nursery End. How will Cambridge manage his spin this time? He's only gone at just over three an over hitherto.

5:33pm Cambridge 192-5 after 38 overs

Really good running from this pair. But at this stage it needs to be complemented by at least one boundary per over to keep pace with the required run rate, which has now crept above six again.

5:31pm Cambridge 187-5 after 37 overs

Big appeal on the last ball of the Marsden over, but it must have been going down leg.

5:27pm Cambridge 183-5 after 36 overs

That was a tight single between Tice and Dalgleish: a direct hit might have sent the skipper packing. But he survives to face Marsden's next over.

5:24pm Cambridge 177-5 after 35 overs

88 needed from 15 overs now. Marsden's return is a vital one, it seems. I reckon that Moses wicket might well have swung the game in Oxford's favour, such is his importance.

5:21pm WICKET! Cambridge 177-5

Bowled him! And it's the big wicket, Moses! That was a corker from Marsden. It was fast,full, and straight, and cleaned up Moses, who almost tripped over it. He departs after another magical innings, but this time it might not be enough. Patrick Tice, the skipper, is next in.

5:19pm FIFTY FOR DALGLEISH! It's come off 65 balls, a real anchor to this innings. He's been a spectator to some Moses fireworks recently but has played well.

5:18pm Marsden returns, this time from the Nursery End.

5:17pm Cambridge 174-4 after 34 overs

Unbelievably, it could be another case of Tim Moses grabbing the game by the scruff of its neck and doing the business for Cambridge. He's on 44 not out already off only 33 balls. 

5:15pm SIX! Tim Moses latches onto a short Pettman ball, and it's hoicked into the short boundary again for his third six. That shot came after a four over midwicket, too. Oxford forced into fielding changes.

5:14pm This is going to be interesting. Pettman has 2 overs left, and he's back from the Pavilion End against all-guns-blazing Moses.

5:12pm Cambridge 163-4 after 33 overs

Dalgleish moves on to 49 with a flick to fine leg for four. That brings up the 50 partnership, Moses with the lion's share of it with 33.

5:09pm Cambridge 156-4 after 32 overs

Moses is getting joy against Swanson's bowling, and he retains the strike for the next over.

5:08pm Four! Moses drives Swanson for four past mid-off. The battle continues. 

5:06pm Cambridge 147-4 after 31 overs

Hughes resumes his economical bowling. Every time Moses is on strike there is a buzz of anticipation. But this time it's Dalgleish who will face Swanson first up.

5:04pm Cambridge 145-4 after 30 overs

Swanson beats his outside edge the next ball, but Moses responds by playing him behind square for four. This is a great tussle here between the off-spinner and the all-rounder. Moses is already on 24 off 19 balls, and Cambridge's run rate is now near 5.

5:03pm SIX! Moses fancies another piece of Swanson, and it's a flat six into the short boundary. 

5:01pm Cambridge 133-4 after 29 overs

Moses looks like he's in the mood here to turn things around. But if he goes, I can't see Cambridge chasing down this total.

4:59pm Cambridge 131-4 after 28 overs

That was better for Cambridge simply by virtue of Moses's big hitting. Hughes will continue into a sixth over from the Nursery End.

4:57pm SIX! Unsurprisingly, big Tim Moses wastes no time against Swanson and slogs him over midwicket for a maximum.

4:56pm Cambridge 122-4 after 27 overs

Another streaky four for Dalgleish arrives via a four to third man. The required run rate is still 6.2

4:53pm Cambridge 115-4 after 26 over

I think it's fair to say Cambridge are officially struggling now. Swanson's opening overs have been phenomenal, only conceding 10 runs off 3 overs and picking up 2 wickets.

4:51pm Tim Moses has been pushed up the order to six – he was initially to come in after Patrick Tice at seven – but the situation now calls for some dramatic impetus. Can Moses save Cambridge again? 

4:50pm WICKET! Cambridge 111-4

... and the dreaded Nelson does for Cambridge and Chris Webster, whose stay at the crease was brief. He played all around Swanson's off-break and was clean bowled. What was I saying about struggling against spin?

4:49pm Cambridge 111-3 after 25 overs

Webster is off and running with a sliced shot through the covers off Hughes.

We're halfway through the innings, and Oxford are clearly on top. There's no need to throw the bat at everything just yet, but Cambridge need to try and work out how to play the trial by spin that they're going to endure over the next few overs...

4:45pm Cambridge 104-3 after 24 overs

4:43pm WICKET! Cambridge 103-3

The pressure that was building tells in the end. Swanson traps Senaratne in front of the stumps sweeping for 25. That's a blow for Cambridge and a fillip for Oxford after their disciplined work in the field.

4:40pm Cambridge 101-2 after 23 overs

100 comes up for Cambridge off 22.3 overs. It's not quick enough at the moment, but, with eight wickets still in hand, Cambridge are still very much in this chase of 265.

4:38pm Cambridge 95-2 after 22 overs

More left-arm spin now with Ben Swanson. He, too, is hard to get away, and only concedes three runs from his first over. The pressure continues to build.

4:35pm Cambridge  92-2 after 21 overs

Dalgleish finds the boundary behind square again, this time off Hughes. Last ball of the over misses everyone and everything and goes for four byes. Cambridge will need a few more of those.

4:32pm Cambridge 80-2 after 20 overs

It says a lot when the only boundary of the over came from a streaky edge down to third man. Pettman has now clocked up 8 overs.

4:28pm Cambridge 73-2 after 19 overs

Oxford pull out their joker in the pack in the form of Matthew Hughes's off-cutters, and it's effective as he only concedes one run.

4:24pm Cambridge 72-2 after 18 overs

Senaratne and Dalgleish are both in and set on 15 not out. But they need to stay there much longer if Cambridge are to launch a successful run chase. The required run rate is starting to open up a big gap with the current one.

4:22pm Cambridge 69-2 after 17 overs

A much-needed boundary arrives as Dalgleish gets down on one knee and sweeps behind square for four. Cambridge will need to get used to spin as Oxford have plenty of spin overs in reserve through Brock and Swanson, who haven't bowled yet. There have been plenty of missed cut shots and near misses already.

4:18pm Cambridge 63-2 after 16 overs

Another unassuming over comes and goes. 

Cambridge 59-2 after 15 overs

Cambridge seem to be getting stuck in the mud here as the required run rate almost hits 6 for the first time. Lots of cut shots off Gnodde failed to come off or be timed, and the pace of Marsden and accuracy of Pettman are giving little to hit.

4:12pm Cambridge 58-2 after 14 overs

Pettman swtiches to the Pavilion End and bowls a tight if not threatening over.

4:07pm Cambridge 55-2 after 13 overs

Senaratne continues to be a little uneasy against Gnodde as he tries to cut a ball that was short but not wide enough. Cambridge can't afford another wicket right now.

4:05pm Cambridge 52-2 after 12 overs

Cambridge are subdued in their play, and Senaratne and Dalgleish will look to rebuild gradually with so many overs still left in the innings.

4:03pm Fifty comes up for Cambridge as Dalgleish biffs a rare errant short and wide ball from Marsden through the covers

4:02pm Cambridge 46-2 after 11 overs

Gnodde's bowling is trickcy to handle as Senaratne plays and misses and then sticks to a more defensive approach.

Confirmation that the sub fielder is McGhee.

3:58pm Cambridge 41-1 after 10 overs

Marsden's figures make for some reading. He's got 2 wickets for only 12 runs after four overs. Cambridge have been pushed right on the back foot, especially now that two new batsmen are at the crease after a initially promising opening partnership between Chohan and Colverd.

3:54pm WICKET! Cambridge 41-2

It's Marsden again! Chohan nicks it behind to Harrison, and Cambridge are now in a spot of bother in their pursuit of 265. Another set batsman comes and goes as Chohan walks for 21.

3:53pm Cambridge 41-1 after 9 overs

The introduction of Gnodde's left-arm spin almost worked immediately. After Chohan was dropped he edged one to third man, and, looking increasinly uncomfortable, missed a cut the next ball.

3:52pm Dropped! Chohan attacks a full ball from the new bowler Gnodde, but it's put down. To be fair, that was an extremely tough chance, as the ball was struck firmly. 

3:49pm Cambridge 38-1 after 8 overs

Senaratne wafts outside off stump and almost edges his first ball. Colverd is the latest batsman today to get set and then get out. Oxford will be seeking to grab some quick wickets in a cluster as they did at Fenner's, which would really put Cambridge under the cosh in this longer format of the game.

3:47pm WICKET! Cambridge 38-1 

Another chop-on brings the first wicket! Colverd inside-edges back onto his own stumps, and it's Johny Marsden's pace up the slope that brings its rewards. The Robinson man made 16. In comes Senaratne.

3:44pm Cambridge 36-0 after 7 overs

Terrific response from Chohan as he nonchalantly swats Pettman back down the ground for four. Another over-pitched delivery is then hit through to the short off-side boundary. That was a productive over for Cambridge and has given the innings some measured momentum.

3:42pm Big appeal for lbw against Chohan, but not out. Probably too high.

3:39pm Brock hobbles off the pitch to generous applause. The players need to re-focus and regroup now.

3:37pm Oh no, these are not the scenes we want to see. Colverd went flashing at a wide one from Pettman. The ball flew past second slip but was brilliantly cut off by the diving Brock, but he seems to have injured himself in the process. He's on the floor clutching his shoulder in agony, and the medical team is called onto the pitch.

3:35pm Cambridge 25-0 after 6 overs

Marsden tests Chohan with a bouncer that he unconvincingly edges behind to fine leg. Colverd picks up three with a nice punch through midwicket. But, oh, what's that? A terrible misfield at cover gifts Colverd his first four of the day. That was so sloppy, and ruins an otherwise disciplined first six overs.

3:30pm Cambridge 17-0 after 5 overs

Colverd leaves and blocks, much to the delight and whoops of the Oxford fielders, whose chirping and chuntering has been on top form so far.

3:26pm Cambridge 13-0 after 4 overs

These have been tight opening powerplay overs so far from Oxford, and Cambridge haven't looked to strike out with any big shots just yet. 

3:22pm Cambridge 12-0 after 3 overs

That was a solid over for Cambridge. The left-handed right-handed combination of Chohan and Colverd rotate the strike well, and Chohan hits the first Cambridge boundary with a cut through point.

3:17pm Cambridge 4-0 after 2 overs

 Big appeal for lbw second ball, but the umpire says not out. Maybe that pitched outside leg? Otherwise the rest of the cover is defended by Chohan.

3:12pm Cambridge 2-0 after 1 over

Chohan studiously leaves some tempters outside off stump. He and Colverd both pick up singles to get their innings off and running.

It will be the fiery pace of Johny Marsden from the other end. This could also be interesting: will his pace help Cambridge score quickly, as happened a week ago, or will it rattle the openers on what still looks a very green wicket with substantial cloud cover?

3:08pm The fielders and the openers, Colverd and Chohan, are out on the field now. Cambridge's pursuit of 265 is about to get started. How will they approach a manageable but tricky total? 

Toby Pettman will open the bowling from the Nursery End in front of me with his medium pace, which proved so hard to play in the Twenty20 game a week ago.

Analysis

Imran Marashli

Sport Reporter

2:42pm That was a fascinating opening 50 overs. Oxford's innings seemed set for a huge total after the top order of Hughes, Gnodde and Naylor anchored the innings. Hughes was slightly unluckily dismissed for 32 when backing up, but the key partnership was between the steady Naylor (52) and the dynamic Gnodde (76), whose flurry of boundaries pushed the run rate up to above 5 against some docile spin bowling.

But then came Moses. Again. His first seven overs had looked fairly innocuous, but he came roaring back with 4 wickets in his final 3 overs to limit the Oxford total. Oxford went from 216-3 to 238-8, the middle order squandering the substantial platform constructed by the top order with some cheap wickets and sublime catches from Tice and Chohan. 

Nonetheless, I would still say that Oxford's total gives them the advantage, especially as scoreboard pressure could tell in Cambridge's run chase. 265 looks gettable on this wicket, but it won't be easy at all.

2:31pm We can also bring you an update on the women's game. Cambridge women finished their 50 overs on 229-4, featuring a staggering 197-run partnership between captain Chloe Allison and Hannah Fisher. That's a very competitive total posted by the women. Given that, in most of their BUCS games, the Light Blue women struggled to bat out their allotted overs, their improvement is clearly visible.

2:28pm End of the innings: Oxford 264-8 after 50 overs

Marsden must be one of the most accomplished No.10s I've ever seen. That little cameo of 16 has shifted the momentum back to Oxford before the end of their innings.

That means Cambridge require 265 runs at 5.3 runs per over in their chase.

2:20pm SIX! Marsden picks up a full delivery, and it sails into the short boundary!

2:18pm Dalgleish will finish the innings.

2:18pm Oxford 254-8 after 49 overs

Marsden, though a tail-ender, is clearly no mug with the bat, hitting some nice shots to pick up a series of twos. Great fielding from Moses (you just can't keep him out of the game) stops a boundary, but Oxford pass 250.

2:15pm Poulson will bowl out his final over from the Pavilion End. Marsden on strike.

2:14pm Oxford 243-8 after 48 overs

This has been a remarkable mini-collapse from Oxford, undoing the good work at the top of the order. They've lost 5 wickets for 22 runs since Naylor got out. They were eyeing up a big total, but now they're just seeking to bat out their 50 overs. Taylor is still there, though, watching unamused at the other end and now on 28.

2:11pm WICKET! Oxford 238-8

The inevitable run-out has arrived! Pettman blocked it back to Dalgleish, whose misfield encouraged him to advance halfway down the track before being sent back by Taylor. Alas, it was too late by that point to recover, and Tice has all the time in the world to flick the bails off. Oxford have lost their way in these final few overs. 

2:08pm Oxford 238-7 after 47 overs

Moses wraps up his spell with 4-56. The turnaround in this innings has been due solely to him, assisted by some incredible fielding.

Angus Dalgleish to return to the attack from the Nursery End.

2:05pm WICKET! Oxford 235-7

That's another blinder! Brock tried to swat Moses over mid-on, but Chohan plunged forwards to grab the ball just as it was dying on him. Moses has 4!

2:02pm Oxford 233-6 after 46 overs

It's another tidy over from Sale. What can Moses do in his final over?

2:00pm Oxford 227-6 after 45 overs

Cambridge are hauling themselves back into contention, led by this brilliant final spell from Moses. I cannot emphasise enough the quality of the catch from Tice, though. Harrison's nick looked set for the boundary, but that catch has instead given Cambridge a massive boost.

1:56pm WICKET! Oxford 225-6

What a take that is from Patrick Tice! Moses's ball was short and slightly wide, but Harrison's cut seemed to be going for four before Tice flung himself brilliantly to his right and took it with one glove. Sensational cricket from Cambridge, and Moses's impact on the game has, once again, been huge!

1:54pm Well, that was anti-climactic to say the least. Moses's hat-trick ball is a rank wide down the leg side, beating Tice and going for 5 wides.

1:53pm Oxford 219-5 after 44 overs

It's amazing what a wicket or two can do to stymie the momentum of an innings. Moses is on a hat-trick.

1:49pm WICKET! Oxford 216-5 after 43 overs

He's done it again! That's as plumb as you can get, trapping Rackow with a full and straight delivery for a golden duck! Moses is almost single-handedly wresting back the initiative for Cambridge.

1:46pm WICKET! Oxford 216-4

Moses gets the big fish! Gnodde was looking to punch him over his head, but he can only pick out Senaratne at mid-on. He departs to fulsome applause for a terrific 76. Cambridge really needed that.

1:43pm Big bowling change as Moses comes in from the Pavilion End. His death bowling was brilliant one week ago. Either he'll restore control again today, or Gnodde will make hay against his pace.

1:42pm Oxford 212-3 after 42 overs

Gnodde helps himself to another lofted drive over midwicket against Winder. Oxford will be aiming for at least 250, even 275+ if Gnodde is still there at the end. He moves on to 75.

1:39pm Oxford 202-3 after 41 overs

SIX! Gnodde smashes one into the short boundary, and he's now on 67 off 54 balls.

1:37pm Oxford 191-3 after 40 overs

Gnodde makes Cambridge pay instantly with a lofted on drive that only bounced once before reaching the boundary. We're back into powerplay territory now, and Cambridge's remaining bowling options are mostly spinners, so there could well be some big hitting to come over the next 10 overs. Gnodde, given a life, is lurking ominously on 60 now.

1:34pm Oxford 184-3 after 39 overs

It was Gnodde who was put down to boot. Cambridge could seriously regret that drop. 

1:31pm Dropped! Chris Webster has made a hash of a regulation catch. It was a full toss from Rory Sale, and it went almost straight to Webster on the boundary at deep midwicket, but he spilled it, perhaps with the sun impeding his vision. Big miss for Cambridge.

Oxford 179-3 after 38 overs

Good fielding from Tim Moses behind square to save a four. Oxford seem to have regained their ease at the crease.

1:27pm FIFTY FOR GNODDE! This has been a superb innings, his half-century coming off only 42 balls. He's given a real impetus to the Oxford innings. Can he stay until the end?

1:25pm Oxford 169-3 after 37 overs

Taylor ends Crichard's spell in scintillating style with a punch for four down to the Pavilion End. He ends with the figures of 10-0-47-1.

1:20pm Oxford 162-3 after 36 overs

1:17pm WICKET! Oxford 160-3

Well, that came out of nowhere! Naylor has to depart for 52, getting a thin edge through to Tice after trying to cut away a short-pitched delivery that perhaps didn't have enough width. 

1:16pm Oxford 160-2 after 35 overs

Lucky for Gnodde! He didn't get ahold of that cover drive, but the ball is just out of the grasp of the fielder.

1:12pm FIFTY FOR NAYLOR! It's been a, dare I say it, strong and stable innings from the man at number three, coming off 81 balls. He's complementing the free-flowing Gnodde very well, and this partnership could well be a game-winning one.

1:11pm Oxford 153-2 after 34 overs

More good signs for Oxford. The spin bowling is fairly docile at the moment, and there are lots of defensive field settings to prevent the boundaries, hence the profusion of singles and twos on offer.

1:07pm Oxford 149-2 after 33 overs

Ruari Crichard returns from the Pavilion End to bring some more control, but you feel that Gnodde has got the measure of the spinners from the other end. It'll be Nick Winder trying his luck from the Nursery End this time.

1:02pm Oxford 144-2 after 32 overs

Gnodde brings up the 50 partnership with Naylor with two smashing boundaries through point and extra cover. Only he has been able to break the 100 strikerate barrier today, and the runs are flowing more freely when he's at the crease. He then adds a third for good measure with a perfectly timed dab behind square. Expensive over from Moses.

12:58pm Oxford 133-2 after 31 overs

All the Oxford batsmen have now got in during this innings. Can one of them go on to make a big score? Naylor is still there on 45 off 72, and needs to stay there until the end so that Oxford can post a daunting total.

12:56pm Oxford 129-2 after 30 overs

Gnodde helps himself to two wonderful boundaries, pulling powerfully through midwicket and cutting with finesse past a despairing third man. He's briskly going about his business and is now on 23 off 23 balls.

12:52pm Oxford 121-2 after 29 overs

Winder completes a tighter over. Cambridge will seek to squeeze the run rate down to a minimum, especially with the opportunity to protect the boundaries more outside the powerplay.

Meanwhile, Tim Moses will return to the attack from the Nursery End. 

12:47pm Oxford 120-2 after 28 overs

Gnodde gets Oxford out of the Nelson trap with a gorgeous straight drive off Poulson, who's finsihed his ninth consecutive over. 

12:44pm Oxford 111-2 after 27 overs

Naylor races to 43 with a couple of lovely shots against Winder, the first a terrifically timed cover drive, and the second a delicate cut to third man. An overthrow from Cambridge also helped him on his way.

12:41pm Oxford 101-2 after 26 overs

Poulson's tidy marathon spell continues, but with no chances created. Oxford's batsmen have a good chance of getting set amid dispersing clouds and a beaming sun.

12:39pm Oxford bring up their century with another single down to cover off Poulson.

12:39pm Oxford 98-2 after 25 overs

Oxford will be fairly happy with that score at the halfway stage of their innings, although the loss of Hughes, who was set on 32, constitutes a big blow. Cambridge are plugging away with a mix of seam and spin, and are keeping the run rate low in these middle overs of ebb and flow. If Oxford can keep these wickets in hand for the final few overs then we could be set for a big finale.

12:35pm Oxford 97-2 after 24 overs

The left-arm spin of Winder will duel with the left-handed Gnodde. Lots of close fielders called up for the new man in.

12:32pm Oxford 93-2 after 23 overs

Poulson will continue into a seventh over against the new left-hander Gnodde.

12:29pm Oxford 88-2 after 22 overs

So it was indeed the dangerous Poulson who makes the breakthrough, but not in the way you'd expect, flicking Naylor's firm punch down the ground back onto the stumps, and Hughes could not retreat in time!

Winder will replace Sale from the Pavilion End to continue the spin-seam combination.

12:26pm WICKET! Oxford 88-2

Oh dear, the commentator's curse strikes! Just as this pair had brought up their 50-run partnership, Naylor's straight drive is deflected back onto the stumps by Poulson. And it's the skipper Hughes who has to go! That's a massive wicket for Cambridge. 

12:25pm Oxford 84-1 after 21 overs

Sale is still searching for consistent line and length. With the sun out more fully now, Oxford's bat-first decision is looking good.

12:22pm Oxford 79-1 after 20 overs

Close for Cambridge! Hughes's checked drive looped up into the air, but just short of the desperately tumbling fielder in the covers. Narrow escape for Cambridge's prime target. 

12:18pm Oxford 77-1 after 19 overs

A few looseners there for Sale, including two leg-side wides. Poulson will continue this intriguing battle against the right-handed Naylor and Hughes from the Nursery End.

12:15pm Oxford 73-1 after 18 overs

Poulson forces another swing and a miss in the corridor of uncertainty, but still can't make the breakthrough. He's only conceded 10 runs from his 4 overs so far, but economical bowling must be matched with wickets from a Cambridge perspective.

Rory Sale's left-arm spin is now into the attack from the Pavilion End.

12:12pm Oxford 70-1 after 17 overs

Naylor punishes Dalgleish as he erred on the short and wide side, and the short boundary was unforgiving once again. Hughes is also looking ominously settled for Oxford on 28 off 48 balls.

No doubt, if there's one man Cambridge want to get out, it's him.

12:07pm Oxford 64-1 after 16 overs

Poulson keeps it pretty tidy again. The run rate is in check at the moment, but Oxford will be glad to keep plenty of wickets in hand.

12:05pm Oxford 59-1 after 15 overs

That's a dangerous first over from Dalgleish, almost grabbing a split-second caught-and-bowled opportunity. Later in the over, Naylor almost saw the ball trickle off his pad and onto the stumps, but was relieved to see his wicket intact.

12:02pm Oxford 54-1 after 14 overs

Poulson has made a good start to his spell, with Oxford again wafting outside off stump at their peril. Angus Dalgleish will end Crichard's seven-over spell from the Pavilion End.

11:57am Oxford 53-1 after 13 overs

Crichard's seventh consecutive over brings some rewards for Naylor through midwicket, where the ball is brilliantly clawed back from the boundary at the last second.

11:52am Oxford 47-1 after 12 overs

Poulson is getting some nice away swing down the famous Lord's slope. Naylor had a nibble outside off stump but didn't nick it, and then thought better of it with a few leaves.

11:50am James Poulson replaces Moses from the Nursery End.

11:49am Oxford 46-1 after 11 overs

Another wonderful straight drive down the ground from Hughes. He holds the pose for a good few moments after, perhaps just to let Crichard know about it even more. That had the (albeit fairly sparse) crowd purring.

11:44am Oxford 41-1 after 10 overs

Hughes is back into the groove in powerful style, cutting a short delivery from Moses through the off side for four. 

That brings the powerplay overs to an end. I would call it even: good Oxford batting just slightly undermined by the wicket of Escott and Cambridge's restriction of the run rate.

11:40am Oxford 36-1 after 9 overs

New batsman Naylor survives four testing deliveries from Crichard. That was a timely wicket for Cambridge, since Escott had looked settled alongside Hughes.

11:36am WICKET! Oxford 36-1

Crichard has the breakthrough for Cambridge! Escott has got away with a few up until now, but not this time, as he inside-edges back onto his stumps. He departs for 21.

11:33am Oxford 35-0 after 8 overs

Cambridge go up for a caught behind against Escott, but the umpire is unmoved. No reviews either. Next ball, Escott rubs it in with another thick edge that runs through third man for four.

Oxford 29-0 after 7 overs

Nothing doing after another Crichard over. The defensive work from Escott and Hughes has been positive and solid.

11:26am Oxford 28-0 after 6 overs

Three overs for Crichard and Moses later, and Oxford's decision to bat first is looking like an increasingly good one. This pair have made a good start so far.

11:24am Close! Escott throws his bat at a pitched-up delivery from Moses, and a thick outside edge flies past a diving second slip to the boundary.

Oxford 23-0 after 5 overs

This opening pair are looking solid, barring a few Hughes air shots. Moses to continue from the Nursery End.

11:21am Shot! That's a beautiful way for Hughes to get going, with a sublime drive down the ground for four. 

11:18am Oxford 13-0 after 4 overs

Another air shot from Hughes. He's now 2 off 13, and is looking a bit streaky against some good bowling. 

11:15am Second swing and a miss from Hughes against Moses! His feet never moved to the pitch of the ball as he looked to smash it through the covers, and it's another 'ooh' moment from Patrick Tice at wicketkeeper and his slip fielders.

11:13am Oxford 11-0 after 3 overs

Escott is bedding in now, having played two lovely shots for four. Cambridge will be looking to create chances in these opening overs.

11:12am Four! Escott helps himself to a loose short and wide delivery from Crichard, and the ball races away to the very short off-side boundary.

11:10am Oxford 7-0 after 2 overs

Solid maiden to open from Moses. Hughes had a swipe at a short and wide one outside off stump, but could only swish his blade through the air. The captain will be pivotal to the Oxford innings as he was last week.

11:07am Oxford 7-0 after 1 over

Hughes is also off the mark with a sharp single. The boundary on the leg side now is extremely short, I'll wager there's plenty of runs to be had there today. Tim Moses, the star of last week, will open from the Nursery End where I'm based.

11:04am Four! First boundary of the innings, and it's a lovely punch down the ground from Escott to get him off the mark.

11:02am It will be Crichard to open from the Pavilion End. Escott starts with a solid forward defensive.

11:00am Oxford have won the toss and will bat first. I have to say that is an interesting decision. The pitch is very green, and there's plenty of cloud cover, so surely it's a bowl-first wicket? Ruari Crichard, Tim Moses, James Poulson and co must be licking their lips at the sight of the potential bounce and movement on offer.

10:56am The famous bell has rung in the Pavilion End, and we're almost ready to get this game underway!

10:50am The Light Blues will be seeking revenge from defeat last year, where they lost this fixture in a weather-affected tie by 43 runs. Oxford made 192-9 after 40 overs, Escott top-scoring with 32 at the top of the order. Hughes got 29 that day, and he has a first-class century to his name from last year’s 4-day game to boot. Cambridge then tumbled to 140 all out after 34.1 overs, Angus Dalgleish top-scoring with 77 in an otherwise dismal scorecard. Marsden helped himself to 3-26.

But it is worth emphasising that Oxford have lost 7 of those Blues, and Cambridge are also much changed. Cambridge have the momentum and confidence from last week at Fenner’s.

10:44am Oxford women have won the toss and have chosen to field first – perhaps mindful of their collapse to 74-9 in the T20 fixture at Fenner's last Friday. They get underway in one minute.

10:38am Meanwhile, the team news for the men is also in, with few changes from a week ago:

Oxford: Daniel Escott, Matthew Hughes (c), Matthew Naylor, James Gnodde, N. Taylor, Alex Rackow, Thomas Brock, Jack Harrison, Toby Pettman, Johny Marsden, Ben Swanson

Cambridge: Tom Colverd, D. Chohan, Nipuna Senaratne, Angus Dalgleish, Chris Webster, Patrick Tice (c), Tim Moses, Rory Sale, James Poulson, Ruari Crichard, Nick Winder

10:36am Let’s not forget that the women, too, will be looking to replicate their stunning Twenty20 success from last week. They play Oxford on the neighbouring Nursery Ground pitch. We’ll also try to keep you updated on that match throughout the day. Here are the line-ups.

Oxford: Vanessa Picker, Charlotte Graham, Sophie Taylor (c), S. Attrill, Imogen Brown, Shona McNab, Siobhan Stewart, H. Baxendale, Lucy Taylor, Alycia Jewes, N. Kelly

Cambridge: Frankie Barber, Hannah Fisher, Chloe Allison (c), Katie Gibson, Preeti Kate, Helena Eccles, Holly Tasker, Lucy Binsted, Christine Viney, Nadia Blackshaw, C Kenealy

10:32am Good morning, dear Varsity readers! Welcome to our coverage of the Oxford and Cambridge men’s 50-over match. I’m Imran Marashli, and I return to your screens from the spaceship-like media centre at Lord’s to bring you play-by-play updates of the match from the Home of Cricket. The Twenty20 fixture last Friday was a cracker, so expect another great contest here in London.

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