The Over: England v West Indies – First Test, Day 1

It’s only been five and a half weeks since England’s last Test match but it seems like an age ago. Today marked the start of the Test summer (although it might be helpful if spring would turn up first…) and we hope you, like us, are excited.

There’s just something about Lord’s. It seems different from any other ground – just the look and sound of the whole place has something special about it. The crowd sounds exactly like a cricket crowd should; the outfield is always perfect; Henry Blofeld is on the radio. But above all there’s an aura about the place that you can’t put your finger on. You couldn’t find anywhere much more British.

Stuart Broad still looks like a small boy running into bowl – however, not many small boys could turn up and get a six-for in a Test match. Stuey didn’t actually look to be bowling too well first thing, but got into a rhythm as the day went on and finished with pretty exceptional figures. This time last year, he was fighting for his place and very nearly got dropped before the India series. Since then, 46 wickets at 17.13 in a variety of conditions have entirely vindicated the selectors’ faith in him. His batting has regressed and there are other aspects of his game he needs to work on (see below) but he’s a pretty damn fine cricketer now.

Well that’s the dewy-eyed stuff out of the way… on the other hand Broad should be banned from ever being allowed to make review decisions (or even influence them). He had another two today, the first of which was a decent shout apart from the fact that it was a (marginal) no-ball and was quite clearly not going to be hitting the stumps flush which would be needed to overturn the decision. The second one pitched outside leg. How Strauss and co. keep falling for it, we don’t know, but with his persuasiveness we reckon Broad could have a future career as a lawyer when his playing days are over.

Benny Hill moment of the day goes to Darren Bravo and Matt Prior for the highly comedic runout in the afternoon session. All round, it wasn’t a great bit of cricket. Firstly, the running between the wickets was hopeless and resulted in Bravo and Chanderpaul standing at the same end looking daggers at each other while the second phase unfolded. We’re not sure who made the throw back to the keeper, but it definitely should have been at the other end. Matt Prior, clearly thinking he needed to be in a hurry, whereas in reality he could have rolled the ball gently up the pitch underarm as Bravo wasn’t going anywhere fast (except back to the pavilion), wanged an overarm throw at Swann at the other end which was barely in the same postcode. To Swann’s credit, he made a diving stop and scrambled back to the stumps. Prior at least had the decency to put his head in his hands and laugh. Overall it was one for one of those DVDs (probably with a voice over by Phil Tufnell and an array of comedy sound effects) to be found soon in a bargain bin near you.

Shiv Chanderpaul really is in a world of his own (even when he’s running people out). His batting is so much better than any of his team mates that you can’t help but admire the bloke. It’s not pretty but cripes is it effective. Frankly 87* doesn’t need more than a couple of lines because it’s so predictable. We’re not surprised…

Finally, our powers of jinxing are coming along nicely. We tend to exchange text messages during the day, and we reckon between us we had Powell, Barath, Bravo (the run out) and Ramdin out by a combination of a) saying how well they’re doing b) commenting how straightforward batting is looking and c) (bizarrely) going into meetings. Our skills are also known to be transferrable to other sports, so if you want your favourite team/arch rival to do well/badly, we are available for hire (price on request).

Over.

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