Day Two at St George’s

Grenada people

Yesterday was a bit of a strange day for me. It was like going back in time. For starters, Stuart Broad took a wicket with a ball that registered just over 90mph. He also picked up three further wickets.

It’s easy to forget that when Broad gets his tail up, he’s one hell of a bowler. We need to see more of him at this best. Apparently Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett are tearing up trees in training. He’ll need to be on his toes.

It was also strange to see Cook and Trott back together at the crease for an extended period of time. I almost felt nostalgic. Trott actually looked quite composed. Cook looked out of sync, and was dropped at short leg. Plus ça change.

I have to say, I’m not impressed with the work Cook’s done with Graham Gooch. His stance is far too open, his front foot is often in the air (and on the move) when the bowler releases the ball, and his head position still isn’t right. It’s a case study in how not to bat.

Cook may well go on to score a century at some point today. If you give someone enough chances (in this case thirty three) they’re bound to score runs eventually. However, I’m not sure a century would be the best result for Cook and England in the long-term. My fear is that it will create a false sense of security.

The bottom line is this Windies attack is extremely weak – perhaps the weakest of all the major test playing nations. What’s more, their best bowler from the first test is missing. Maybe I’m too much of a purist, and too much of a doubter, but I can’t see Cook scoring runs against better bowlers with his current technique.

When Strauss was temporarily dropped (or ‘rested’) a few years ago, he took time out to work on his technique away from the pressures of international cricket. He came back a better player, and made a potentially career saving century against New Zealand. I really think Cook would benefit from the same approach. Hell, let him play some county cricket if needs be.

The problem is that too many careers are on the line in this series. Instead of earmarking this tour as an opportunity to look at new talent, Moores and Whitaker adopted a win-at-all-costs mindset. You can understand why after the mixed results last summer, the disastrous World Cup, and Colin Graves’ comments about the Windies being ‘mediocre’.

Instead of looking at Lyth, Wood, and maybe even Adil Rashid (although I’m not sold on him to be honest), the management looked at the schedule and identified this series as the best chance to nail some elusive wins. They also saw it as an opportunity for Cook to score some easy runs – something he’s extremely good at – to bolster the status quo so many people are invested in.

If England lose to New Zealand and Australia in the coming months, as seems quite likely, at least the apologists can say “well, we beat the West Indies”. It hasn’t been all bad.

The problem for fans like myself is that I’m not invested in any of the protagonists whatsoever. The careers of Moores, Cook and Whitaker are meaningless to me. I just want England to win … and I’m not talking about a low-key series in the Caribbean. I’m talking about the Ashes.

James Morgan



  • James, I agree with you that Cook did still look highly unstable earlier on in his innings, I thought he looked a good bit better as time went on. That said I do agree with you that he was given an easy ride by Gabriel and Holder in particular, who simply couldn’t bowl in that off stump corridor often enough.

    I do agree with you about the lack of foresight generally with regard to selections. However this will relate to the idea that the jobs of the likes of Moores and Whittaker are very much on the line. I was surprised that all the squad was picked for this series simply bearing in mind what the team has in store over the next year. I do think we are going to see some casualties as the year goes on. It could all unravel at a rate of knots.

  • The real test of this opening partnership will be later today when they have to accelerate and move the game forward, if they can.

    I’d have like Alex Hales to have been established as Cook’s foil by this point, when playing well he moves through gears nicely and when set can score all round the park.

    I guess the optimistic view is this average bowling attack plays Cook / Trott back into some sort of form for the real test in the summer… hmmm…

  • Cook just looks like his head’s full of technical stuff rather than just watching the ball and judging what to play and what to leave.

    We agree on one thing about Cook – he needs to spend time in county cricket rediscovering what worked for him if he’s going to get back to anything like his best.

  • If we don’t win this game, it will be for several reasons. Cook won the toss and put WI in first; Cook dropped Samuels on 30 odd; Cook missed the chance to play Cook replaced Broad when he was bowling at his best for ages and had 4 for; Cook failed to make the changes that would have prevented the 50+ last wicket stand.

    Even if Cook makes a hundred, he will still be in debt!

    • Broad had bowled an 8 over spell when Cook took him off.

      What other changes should he have made – he brought Stokes on, who had been bowling quickly, which is a fair enough decision to tail enders – he was taken off after two ineffectual overs and Ali brought on who got the wicket.

  • The bowling and tactics during that last wicket partnership were again a concern. Jordan and Stokes were awful after both having bowled well at times yesterday. Cook still doesn’t grasp the usefulness of bowling spin at the tail and he only brought Ali on when everything else had failed – which promptly saw the end of Bishoo.

  • A mediocre team beating an even more mediocre team, with difficulty.

    Can’t wait to see what happens when we play teams who are actually good. Will any of our mighty bowling attack (?!) be able to take 5-fors against the world’s best batsmen? Will any of our feared batting line-up (?!) be able to withstand world-class fast bowling for longer than 5 minutes at a time? Will we finally figure out how to play on UAE pitches?

    Will Moores survive? Will Cook survive? Will Moeen Ali (bless him) still be our premier spinner by the end of it?

  • Today has been turgid stuff, though I dare say that surface has a lot to do with it.
    at least Ballance and Root look as though they want to increase the tempo.

  • Just in and I see Sky have been pulled up for misrepresentation again to day – it’s not ‘live’ test cricket – it’s DEAD cricket from St Georges – where England yet again prove it’s better to not lose than to play at all

  • I’m very naughty but I’m not interested in watching this stuff. Feels like Everton v Accrington Stanley

  • Good second half to the day I think. Excellent from Root, good from Ballance, and great fighting spirit from Windies. Really enjoyed it. Moment of the day was Marlon Samuels when Stokes got out. He’ll feel that’s a wicket for him, wound Stokes up massively in the previous over. I think that this is a better situation for England than a huge first innings lead, a cheeky 100 lead gives WI a sniff and they’ll be less likely to block the shit out of it tomorrow. Nicely poised…


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