Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A day at the test

The day started with an ungodly alarm clock call at 0645.  Tea and toast then on a short drive to rendezvous with the rest of the family.  There were ten of us travelling to Nottingham in two cars.  An easy journey in the early morning sunshine but we were all impatient to get there.  The last few miles into the city are a drag but eventually we cross the Trent and Park the car.  A little after two hours after leaving home we’re climbing out of the cars.
This trip has been arranged a long time, in fact the tickets were my Christmas presents to my Mum & Dad plus my sister and her family.  Most of us have been to test matches before but amongst our number are four test match virgins.  The match is well poised, the weather forecast is perfect and we have a full day of play ahead of us.

We make the short walk back across the bridge and soon make it to the ground.  As usual the queues move quickly as the stewards are efficient and friendly.  We soon take our seats in the front row of the new stand and discuss the day ahead.  Surely Strauss will make a double century and Pietersen will smash them all over the park?

Play begins on time.  KP hits the first boundary of the day but we’re all gutted when he’s out for 80, LBW to Rampaul shortly afterwards.  Bell comes in and makes the game look easy but when Roach takes the new ball it’s a different matter.  Bell is out quickly and Bairstow comes to the wicket.  To be frank the youngster is out of his depth and Roach makes mincemeat out of him.  If he’s to have a test career he needs to learn to play the short ball.  Prior is in next, he always makes runs when we’re at the ground…except today.  At lunch England are 340-6 and still trailing.  We’ve had a baking sun on us all morning and we’re starting to feel the effects of it but thankfully the roof of the stand will shield us soon.
The afternoon follows on in the same vein.  Runs are difficult to come by, the pitch seems two paced and the West Indies are bowling well.  Strauss departs for 141 to a wide delivery from Sammy.  This brings Bresnan and Broad together and they manage the most fluent partnership of the day, reaching 50 between them in less than 15 overs before Broad is out sweeping Shillingford.  The end of the England innings is a farcical affair as Samuels takes the last two wickets in strange circumstances using the DRS.  England are all out for 428, a handy lead of 58 runs.  Not what we expected however!  We all hoped to see England cruise past 500 then set WI a tricky half hour spell to survive.  Instead they have a full session to get stuck into the batting after bowling themselves back into the game.  

 Anderson and Broad open the bowling straight after tea and straight away Jimmy is in the groove bowling Barath and trapping Powell LBW.  Broad bowls poorly, giving WI a four ball in every over but it’s one of these that gets the next wicket as Chanderpaul top edges him straight down Trott’s throat at DBSL.  The talented Bravo offers resistence but is eventually out for 22, LBW to Bresnan.  For atmosphere it’s by far the best session of the day as the crowd roars on the England bowlers and it’s carnage out in the middle.  Amongst it all Trott makes friends by signing autographs for children at the boundary edge, including a delighted Isaac!  Bresnan accounts for Ramdin and the hapless Edwards and only Marlon Samuels offers any resistance.  At stumps the score is 61-6 and WI are out on their feet.  England’s bowlers have seized the initiative and there will only be one winner now.

 My family and I have all had a great day.  The test match virgins have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and are determined to do it all again one day soon.  The journey home is long and tiring and kind of sad after a great day at the cricket.  It’s about ten o’clock by the time we get home, a fantastic fifteen hour day comes to an end.


Marlon Samuels leads the West Indies rear-guard but even his unbeaten 76 will not halt theinevitable.  West Indies are all out for 165 with Anderson and Bresnan taking four wickets each.   I catch a bit of TMS on the radio at break times…it would be great to be back at the ground again… England cruise to victory just after tea on the fourth day.  Strauss made 45, Cook was unbeaten on 43 and Trott finished on 17.  England record an emphatic nine wicket win and their seventh consecutive home series win. 
The last team to beat England here was South Africa, who happen to be our next guests later this summer.  I can’t help feeling that we have to improve if we are going to win a three match series against the saffers.  I’ve said it many times before but I’d love to see England bat Prior at 6 and play five bowlers.  Steve Finn is simply too good to leave standing on the sidelines! 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Second Test


We’re two days into the second test against West Indies at Trent Bridge and for the first time this year we actually have some hot summer weather!  By the end the first day was edged by WI.  England had reduced the tourists to 136-6 in the afternoon but Samuels reached his third test century and Sammy passed fifty and by close of play WI were 304-6.

Day two saw Sammy notch up his first test century as he and Samuels took their partnership up to 204 before both departed in quick succession.  England, or more accurately Bresnan, soon wrapped up the tail and WI were all out for 370.  A decent score but not a match winning one.  

From that point on, England dominated the day but if Kemar Roach had been able to run in and not ‘no ball’ things could have been different as twice Cook was reprieved by no balls.  Cook eventually made 24 and Trott 35, both wickets falling to Rampaul.  This left Strauss still there and brought Pietersen to the wicket.  These made an unbroken partnership of 126 as the skipper made his second ton of the series and KP was looking threatening on 72.  These two were not out at close of play which leaves England in a superb position to press on and score big runs on day three.  This is great news as I WILL BE THERE!!!!!!  Along with another nine members of my family.  Looking forward to it, England are well set, the weather forecast is perfect, it should be a great day!!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The First Test

22nd May
  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?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Day two


The day went almost exactly to plan for England.  Broad only needed one ball to get rid of Gabriel and finished with 7-72.  Now all we need is for the captain to bat all day, which he did, finishing not out on 121.  Form is temporary, class is permanent.  All the other batsmen chipped in with a few leaving England 16 ahead with seven wickets left.  A ton from Bell would go down nicely now and England will hope to make a massive total and only bat once in the game.  I have a feeling they will.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Where the hell did the last month go?  It’s 17th May, the official start of summer and  although the weather feels more like November it’s definitely summer as the First Test started today at Lords.  England won the toss and put the West Indies in with bowling conditions overhead.  Jimmy swung the ball around first up and nicked a couple of wickets.  Then for most of the day the WI batsmen dug in and survived whilst accumulating runs, when many would have expected England’s bowlers to rip the batting apart.  Youngsters Bravo & Barath scored runs in a useful partnership as did the older Samuels and the veteran Chanderpaul who batted as he always does.  Then Broad came up and ripped the middle & lower order to shreds, taking 6 in the process.  England finished the day taking nine wickets, Shiv contributed 87 not out to WI’s 243-9.

I think today will be typical for this series.  Probably the best West Indian team for a decade will battle hard and perform better than most people expect but ultimately England will prove just too good.  I’m looking forward to watching Bravo bat this series and the other young players will be interesting too.  Roach and Edwards are probably their best pair of bowlers since Curtley & Courtney retired.  Should be a good series but only the weather will prevent England winning 3-0.

It was hard to follow the match today as it’s impossible to get a radio signal where I’m working and I can only tune in at break times.  This inspired me to have a fiddle with my phone and managed to find a free download thingy giving ball by ball updates.  It’s called Cricket companion & might prove useful to somebody somewhere?