In the end England cruised to a comfortable 5 wicket win but they certainly didn’t have it all their own way. After dominating the second day England were restricted to 398 on the third as the West Indies began their fight back. Bell didn’t get his ton but was last man out for 61. England’s bowlers had WI 64-4 and it seemed like it would be all over quickly but for a second time Chanderpaul and Samuels dug in and their partnership went long into the fourth day, It only ended after lunch with the partnership almost 160 when Samuels was out for 86. Chanderpaul made 91, with help from Ramdin and Sammy WI made 345 leaving England 191 to win with a tricky session to bat before the fourth day ended. The score was 10-2 at the close and England would have felt lucky! Nice to spend the evening fishing with TMS on the radio, perfect! West Indies dominated day four as much as England had the second day. Game on!
When England were reduced to 57-4, I was nervous, it was still very much game on at that point but Cook combined with Bell for a partnership of 132 to take the game away. England won as expected but the West Indies showed much more spirit than they had at any time on their previous tour in 2009.
The next match starts on Friday. I would expect England will remain unchanged, barring injuries but West Indies must make changes. Gabriel, who looked good on debut has flown home injured and he’ll probably be replaced by Ravi Rampaul who should bowl well in English conditions. Will they change the batting line up? They probably need to but it does seem unfair on any of the younger players should they miss out.
Plusses and minuses? For England Strauss, Cook and Bell weighed in with runs. Bairstow looked comfortable on debut. The bowlers are pure class, Broad the pick with career best figures and 11 in the match. KP had a quiet game. West Indies will take heart from Roach’s bowling and runs from Samuels, Barath and Bravo. Chanderpaul was his usual brilliant self but he can’t always carry the team. On the negative side, Fidel Edwards lacked rhythm and the youngsters Powel & Edwards contributed only l4 runs between them.
The next match is at Trent Bridge where Anderson has had much success in recent years. It’s hard to see any other result than an England win, will the West Indies be able to take the match into the fifth day again?