Wednesday, 23 January 2019

1st Test Bridgetown Barbados

At last another test match!  England against the West Indies in a three match series that we should win comfortably.  However WI always raise their game to play us, I have a feeling we won't have it all our own way.

I got home from a job in Thetford, halfway through the first sessionto find West Indies batting and the score 46-0.  I assume WI won the toss?  Within a few minutes the score had passed fifty but Moeen had removed the opener Campbell LBW for 44.  Watching... the pitch looks good, not much pace, no seam movement but a bit of bounce.  There are marks from where the ball has pitched clearly visible in the first session, will that cause problems later in the match?
I'm trying to work out what England's team is, Stokes is bowling and that seems early in the innings.  Then I spot Curran in the field as well as Rashid which can only mean Broad has been left out?  Broad, seriously?  What???  Lunch comes, Brathwaite and Hope unbeaten, the score is 89-1 and its West Indies session for sure.

Straight after lunch we have Jimmy and Rashid bowling and keeping things very tight but I can't see where a wicket is coming from.  Stokes comes on for Jimmy and immediately starts shaking things up again, he looks like he's going to make something happens but just when its looking interesting I'm called to the table for dinner.  Of course two wickets fall to Stokes while I'm away from the TV!  126-1 becomes 128-3 in the blink of an eye.  With a delicious home made pizza consumed I'm back in front of the box with Stokes still running in.  Sod's law strikes again as just as I'm settled, would you believe its raining in Barbados.  The umpires call an early tea so I decide it's a good time to whip out to the shop.

When I got back from Asda Hope and Chase are building a decent partnership and both look solid, the former passes fifty and memories of Headingly are starting to bubble.  Just as I settle in front of the TV again Jimmy strikes and Hope has gone!  174-4.  Hetmyer enters the stage looking confident, slashes at Jimmy but Buttler misses a tricky catch and he gets a life.  The game seems to drift away from England, Hetmyer smashes a few while Chase accumulates.  The new ball is imminent so England rush through overs with Rashid and Root bowling tidily, the score passes 200 and then some.

I'm watching the game on Sky with Atherton, Bumble and Hussien in the box, Ian Ward is there too but he's talking bollocks.  The West Indian contingent is Darren Ganga who is OK, Jeff Dujon who is class and the excitable Ian Bishop who thinks everything is "crucial" or "critical".  Where is Mikey Holding?  His absence is as heavy as his presence.

With the score at 230+ for 4 wickets and two batsmen set I was nervous when the new ball was taken but Jimmy was class, we almost take this for granted.  He removed Chase, caught behind for 54 and soon after had Dowrich caught at slip for a duck.  It was just as well Jimmy was on form as at the other end Curran was hit out of the attack.  Jimmy had Holder caught and bowled and then right at the end Stokes removed Roach and West Indies had lost four wickets in no time to swing the day England's way.  Hetmyer remained unbeaten on 56 and looks a good player with a bit of swagger and the look of Desmond Haynes.  The spell with the new ball was great to watch, you could feel the wickets coming and as Bishop would say, it proved "critical".

This is a pretty good start to the series for England but how good will be much more clear this time tomorrow.  I'm amazed Broad wasn't picked, Curran was poor today and it remains to be seen if picking two spinners was necessary.  Judging on the home team's selection, they don't think so.  I don't think anyone really believes England picked their best XI for this match, if this was Australia Broad would have played.  Will England rue this arrogant selection?

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