Saturday, 26 January 2019

First Test - Day four

The gig was great 'Fucked up' at the Garage Islington, bouncy, sweaty punk music, a happy distraction from the trauma of the cricket. I arrived home shortly after midnight and checked the score....  Am I reading this right?  West Indies didn't lose a wicket all day... a ton for Dowrich and a double for Holder ????  England needing over 600 to win finish 56/0.  I assume the pitch is flattening out?

So to day four and it's an absolute pleasure to watch Rory Burns this afternoon.  He looks calm and confident and is putting away any loose bowling.  To be fair he's rode his luck a bit but then he had no luck in the first innings.  Jennings on the other hand looks stroke-less and despite hanging in for an hour he can't resist hanging the bat at a ball he could have left.  He keeps getting out in the same manner to seam bowling and his place has to be in doubt now.

Back to Burns, how did it take so long for him to be selected?  His partner at Surrey, Stoneman was picked first and he never for a second looked as comfortable as Burns does this afternoon.  But as soon as I'm thinking he's on for a century the spinner goes straight through him and he's out for 84.  At lunch its 134/2.

Not long after lunch and Bairstow is strangled down the leg side and things are starting to look ominous.  Stokes is reprieved by DRS and all of a sudden a pitch that was benign yesterday is looking like it has demons, we need a partnership...  But Stokes is out of nick, he's making the bowlers look good at the moment, will he survive or will he get through this and get a big one?  While I'm worrying about Stokes, Joe Root gets himself caught at slip off the spinner Chase, it must be said it's a crap shot and we're 167/4, oh dear...

The anger has gone today, more resignation.  We won't witness a miracle, we are going to lose heavily, the only question is how much will we be tortured first?  Buttler comes in and makes things look easy, Stokes looks like he's come through the worst of a sticky patch and I'm breathing a little easier.  It doesn't last, Stokes misses a straight one from the spinner and is LBW.  In comes Ali and out goes Ali for a pair, another awful shot to the spinner who now, somehow has four wickets.  England's batsmen are getting themselves in then throwing it away, at tea its 217/6.

The final session, Buttler hasn't looked in any trouble at all but is out to a superb catch and Roston Chase has five wickets without turning a single ball.  This will be over today.  It all falls apart quickly after that, Foakes is out to a smart catch, Rashid to a juggling boundary catch and finally Curran is stumped.  Chase finishes with 8-60 and he still hasn't turned a ball.

Fair play to West Indies who have totally outplayed England in every department.  This was a terrible performance from England, I thought we'd hit rock bottom against Pakistan last summer but this was probably worse.  "Root's team" is not good enough.  The captain was dishonest with his analysis at the post match interview, he deflected questions like a politician.  I would drop four players for the next match and my X! would be;
Burns, Denly, Bairstow, Root, Buttler, Stokes, Foakes, Woakes, Leach, Broad, Anderson.

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