Sadly I feel this test match is ebbing away. So it’s time for a hackneyed boxing analogy.
England are on the ropes primarily because we’ve got a glass jaw. The Windies, on the other hand, have taken the punches and kept advancing forwards. The home team has shown more courage and discipline, they’ve clearly got a better defence, and they’ve chosen their moments to attack judiciously.
Yesterday England looked a bit like Naseem Hamed in his bout with Marco Antonio Barrera. The flamboyant Prince Naseem came into the ring full of confidence thinking he’d blow his opponent away. But when his big blows failed to land, and he realised the ever-professional Barrera was a tough nut to crack, he looked rattled and ultimately forlorn. “This shouldn’t be happening, should it?”. The courageous Barrera wore him down and won decisively.
Ok, so I’ve probably pushed the boxing thing a bit too far, but I think you get what I mean. The Windies are winning this game because they’ve proved more determined in the face of danger. Their batsmen have taken the physical blows like Brian Close. And they’ve hung in there, realising that occupation of the crease will inevitably lead to the accumulation of runs and the construction of a more than handy lead.
I have to say that I’m full of admiration for the way the likes of Brathwaite, Hope, and particularly Bravo dug in yesterday. They showed England exactly how to play on a tricky pitch. They accepted that the odd delivery was going to spit nastily, and that they might get hurt, but they also realised that batting was far from impossible if they kept their heads and battled on.
Basically they showed England exactly how it should be done. They played good old fashioned test cricket. And on yesterday’s evidence they thoroughly deserve to win this game and with it the series. Many (including myself) thought the Windies wouldn’t have the discipline to beat England. How wrong we were.
As for England what can we say. We bowled ok – certainly not great though – but overall the team looked sloppy. Catches were dropped – a surefire sign of a team on the ropes – and Root’s field placings and bowling changes seem arbitrary. It wasn’t a good moment for the skipper to regress.
It will take a huge effort for England to win this game from here. They’ll have to bat brilliantly, and with a lot more backbone than they’ve shown in a while, to set the Windies even a meagre target of 150ish.
Can we do it? Yes we can but it’s probably unlikely. One imagines England will come out swinging in the second innings, play their shots, and hope for the best. I reckon we’ve got a puncher’s chance at best from here. What about you?
We do have a bad habit of winding up West Indies before we play them. This time it was Sir Geoffrey.
West Indies have batted bowled and caught better than us and deserve to win the series. If they can add another 50 we have no chance.
The big difference now is that on a pitch with something for the quick bowlers West Indies have an attack that can take 20 wickets. Do We?
Turning on the commentary yesterday was like entering some bizarre parallel universe where England were playing fantastically well but were only being denied by cruel misfortune.
The highlight was definitely a package of “Missed Chances”, only one of which was a real missed chance (at least if one lives in a world where chances have to carry to the fielder or have hit the bat).
Most of the good balls from England missed the bat whereas a lot of those from West Indies took the edge. This could be either because the West Indies bowlers are faster or because England were bowling a bit too short.
England have been completely outplayed for the tour, but the covering press just want to say “treat this as a warmup, err…this one too” Well 2 warm up tests in a 3 test series isn’t a great approach is it? I’m guessing the ECB have had a word with the press because the players don’t like criticism. I saw one of them yesterday call the correct reversal of an LBW decision a piece of “rotten luck”. It’s very insulting to the viewer that what I’m seeing is just lucky West Indies bumbling their way to a win somehow
This has been an abonimation of a tour in every aspect and they have been outplayed in every department by West Indies, losing practically every session. On we go though, this will be the line up for the Ashes so just pretend this tour never happened, fluent 50s are all that’s needed for test match batsmen now to cement your place
If the Australian quicks bowl anything like they are against Sri Lanka we’ll be blown away if they stick with this lot in the Ashes. Given a clean sheet of paper who would you put on it, let’s say given there are suitable alternatives?I
Root, Foakes, Leach, Anderson, maybe Burns errr…. Who else?
1 – Burns He deserves a run so gets until the end of the ashes bare min
2 – space
3 – space
4 – root Englsnd best bat but is being exposed by being in early. He is a middle order batsmen not top three
5 – space
6 – buttler. He’s avg 40 over the last 12-18 months so deserves a run until the ashes
7 – Foakes. Avg 40 ish (can’t remmber) but again, deserves a run
8 – stokes All rounder but does not merit his place in the top six due to an avg 26 over nearly two years and only avg 32 anywya., 4th seamer
9- moeen. Best attacking spinner, batting is irrelevant as he is simply there to bowl so runs are a bonus
10 – broad. Sadly, as shown we have nothing else
11 – Anderson. Still undisputed best English bowler
So, that leaves
Woakes in (3rd seamer) and so he has to bat 2/3/5.. no stokes can’t as he’s proven to not be able to hack it
2 batters… tbf, there isn’t anything so I’d say ‘whoever in a top 3 in April in cc looks most like a test opener gets the ashes gig’
I wouldn’t have Stokes, Moe n or Butler. They are all number 7s. They’ve just collapsed spectacularly yet again. If Moen is not in for his batting you play your best available which is Leach. The problem is who do you fill all these spare places with? Could start with Bell and Hildreth. God knows where we get a couple of pace bowlers from. And a new captain….
Bairstow has shown he’s not willing to play any way other than ODI so he’s the back up keeper/7
Denly looks dire again, already dropped .. sadly never to be seen again
Jennings.. never seen again
Oh and no.. Curran has to go.. not quick.. not accurate.. can’t bat .. has to go
I still say give burns a fair run but.. sadly to me he doesn’t look upto it. Yet another ‘opemer’ Who can’t bat time and feels the need to always play shots
Bairstow.. well what can you say… same old same old.. typical Bairstow ODI knock and ends in a reckless shot on the up with a gate and brutally exposed as it’s not a flat track..
He simply needs to be dropped and play as back up keeper to Foakes only.. not good enough and his avg tells us so too
Frankly we might as well be talking about rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. We have two fine opening bowlers. We have some decent keepers but I’d pick Cox of Worcester.
Root is a decent batsman but hardly inspirational. We have a batting coach who was a failure at international level, so I doubt that he can really transform some of our shell-shocked players.
Mr Ed is a joke. None of the problems are unexpected given the focus in this country on white ball stuff.
I fear that little will change unless people stop attending Tests in the country.
Worth a look at George Dobell’s piece in Cricinfo. He puts the blame on the batsmen and the ECB (for marginalising the County Championship) in more or less equal measure.