England 10-2 (one of which was Anderson) need 181 runs to win
We’re not sure what to say about Sunday’s play. There are two ways of looking at it. You could say that the Windies fought hard, but England did well to (finally) bowl the opposition out on a flat and slow wicket; or you could say that the Windies have put themselves into a position from which they might win.
At the end of the day, England need 181 runs to win tomorrow. It should be a walk in the park. The pitch is blameless and the Windies attack, Kemar Roach apart, is pretty average. However, England will be nervous. They’ve already lost their skipper – and they almost lost Jonathan Trott too. They’ve also got their dismal run chase against Pakistan in the UAE in the backs of their minds.
However, tomorrow is another day. The weather forecasters say it will be warmer; the light will be better; batting should be a lot easier than it was in that mini-session at the end of the day, when the Windies bowlers knew England’s batsmen were on a hiding to nothing. England really should win – and win comfortably too. My gut tells me there will be a wobble at some point, but we’ll get home with five wickets to spare.
However, you never know in cricket. After Surrey wrote Otis Gibson’s team talk for him – offering people with tickets for the test match free entry to the Oval this afternoon (they were expecting an early finish) – the Windies will be pumped up.
If they do manage to pull off a magnificent victory tomorrow, we’ll look back on Sunday’s play and marvel at their determination. If England win comfortably, we’ll all say: “yeah, the pitch was so flat even Australia would have made a few runs on it; Chanderpaul and Samuels were just delaying the inevitable”. As I say, we’ll talk again tomorrow.