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

Now this is more like Test match weather. After huddling together for warmth at Lord’s last weekend, it’s been absolutely sweltering. Clearly conditions are more to the West Indies’ liking as well, as they had a pretty good day by their standards. Here’s the lowdown from Day 1:

It’s good to see the visitors putting up some fight, although the top order displayed all of its usual marshmallowy consistency in folding to the new ball. Kirk Edwards in particular would get more runs by eating a dodgy curry or two. However, in Samuels and Chanderpaul, they appear to have found two batsmen who have hit form at the right time. Unlike his funereal crawl off the square on Sunday when we watched a heartbroken man tear himself from the crease, Samuels strode off this evening with head held high. Sammy as well hit some absolute exocets around the ground. It’s encouraging to see a decent score without Chanderpaul being the only pillar holding them up.

Don’t get us wrong, this pitch is flat and distinctly West Indian-looking. We can’t wait to see how long Cook and Trott can bore us for tomorrow and Sunday. You would expect England to make hay on here with the weather set fair.

Great to see every England player to a man shaking Samuels’ hand as they came off this evening. Although the Australians are an exception (why on earth would we stoop so low as to shake their hands?), we want to see more of this sort of good sportsmanship to remind us that cricket is just a game, and a game for gentlemen at that.

Jimmy Anderson’s first catch was ridiculously good, nuff said. Mind you, ole Grumpy-Boots was everywhere today, having a hand in the first four wickets to fall. To snaffle a catch in one hand like that is incredibly hard and he was all of about 12 yards from the bat. Anyone who’s ever fielded in the slips will know just how good it was.

We had a go at Lord’s for Darren Sammy being a slow bowler. However, in the case of Jonathan Trott, years pass between him letting go of the ball and it reaching the batsman; microbes evolve into complex organisms and empires rise and fall. ‘Trundler’ doesn’t do it justice – glaciers move with greater speed. Also, we don’t know what he’s done to offend his skipper, but we noticed on Sunday that he seems to spend his time running from fine leg to fine leg, at both ends, left hand and right hand. Surely he’s not the worst fielder in the side. Actually, he very well might be…

Cricket like this is a very nice antidote to the bombast of the IPL. We have two sides engaging in hard-fought, good quality Test cricket, a game that’s not pretty much decided within a day and generally just no sense of urgency. Plus there’s not a dancing girl in sight. The Windies have been reasonably competitive in this series, much to the surprise of everyone, especially themselves and it’s all to the good. If they can sort out their top 3, get another incisive seamer and they might be pretty decent.


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