The Over: England v West Indies – First Test, Days 3, (4) and 5

We enjoyed our saunter down to Lord’s yesterday (one of us even made it back for a short while today) but the weekend of cricket has slightly messed up our daily report thingy. So here’s what we picked up over the weekend.

Shiv Chanderpaul really is awful at running between the wickets, isn’t he? He gets away with it because he’s such a good batsman but the number of dodgy runs he took in this Test was ridiculous. Mind you, the whole side need to work on it. There were only two runouts in the match but countless stutters, mix-ups and murderous glares. The most surprising part is that running between the wickets is not that difficult. It only requires a modicum of communication and a little bit of practice. We reckon that Ottis Gibson will have the whole team on extra detail between now and Friday.

This pitch was a little too flat for our liking. If it hadn’t been for the overhead conditions on the first day, the Test may well have petered out into a bore draw. Graeme Swann was unable to get any turn off the pitch (as opposed to out of the footholes) on Day 4 and once the new ball softened up, there was precious little for the seamers either. The fact that, apart from the initial wobbles, England made serene progress on Day 5 says much about how well the pitch held up. In the first session this morning, England scored at more than run a minute and Cook and Bell put on 132 for the fifth wicket. It was just a bit too easy. Chasing down 200-odd in a Test match should be a real challenge, no matter the opposition. After the new ball, England cruised.

Lord’s allowed ‘perambulation’ on the pitch at lunchtime today. It’s a nice gesture and everything (one that hardly any Test grounds allow) but can we please call it ‘walking’? MCC is trying to remain relevant in the modern age but using redundant Latin words for relatively simple concepts is not exactly doing a lot to keep the plebeians (or hoi polloi) feeling part of the fun.

Shannon Gabriel impressed on his debut. He is raw, undoubtedly, but he is a big unit and has a serious turn of pace. Ravi Rampaul may well be preferred when the second Test starts on Friday (not least because Gabriel looked to be carrying a knock this morning) but Gabriel will play plenty of Tests for the Windies over the years. While we’re at it, Kemar Roach also impressed (although he, too, appeared to reaggravate an ankle injury today) but Edwards was poor today and Sammy (as a bowler) is only a small step up from a semi-functional bowling machine.

England’s overall performance was very good. While the two spots realistically up for grabs (sixth batsman and third seamer) were not nailed down by the two Yorkshiremen in the England side, Bairstow will definitely play on Friday and Bresnan will almost certainly get the nod. Apart from that, there were runs for Strauss, Cook and Bell, wickets for Broad and Anderson and the fielding was outstanding as ever (apart from Swann’s drop on the first day).

Brezza’s now won 12 out of 12. Blimey. When England do lose one he plays, the surprising thing will be more that he was in the team as opposed to the side’s performance. He had a poor game by his standards (a duck and only one wicket) but he’s generally so dependable and is therefore very hard to drop.


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