Saturday, 18 April 2015

Review of the 1st Test in West Indies

I loved the old Recreation Ground in St. John's. The prisoners of the local nick doing the pitch, cross dressing Gravy strutting his stuff, whilst Chicky blasted out the records from the stands. This time, in the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in North Sound, it was records of a differing kind that were being blasted away. This time the disc jockey was James Anderson, and this cunning bowler used his guile to break Ian Botham's 383 wickets for England in his hundredth game. Less Doctor Fox and more wily fox. Jimmy even smiled too, albeit briefly but no doubt more than the ex Capital Radio man is currently doing.

England's leading Test wicket taker
This series against the Windies is supposed to be the warm up before the warm up of New Zealand, which is in itself a warm up for the Ashes. A sort of pre dinner Martini before the starter, and eyebrows were raised at a man who was loaned out to Sussex having played for Kent second eleven, in James Tredwell making the starting line up. Tredders may be a man who will play any time, any place, any where but with Moeen Ali proving his fitness for Worcester, surely giving Rashid some experience would have been more prudent? I'll come on to selection later.

However it was England's top three, having been stuck in, who were shaken and not stirred. Many on Twitter were wondering if England's initial top three would score more than Abi Titmuss in a video involving the same amount of people a few years previously? Cook looks in bits at present and was bowled through the gate. Let's just say it was more than a small arrow slit the ball had to nip through and more of a portcullis, as the captain was castled. Trott came back, although it is way too early to make judgement on his return. Thank god, Ian Bell scored a classy ton. Helped by his protege Joe Root, and the pale Ben Stokes, the middle order strawberry blonde trinity with Bell the father, Root the son and Stokes the holy ghost saw England to a strong position.

So having the oppo by the balls what did they do? They sent out a night watchman, and sent negative signals out. They ended up with 399 which was below where they should have been. Saying that, an outfield which was about as quick as 1.0 litre Mini Metro didn't help.

Ben Stokes...a decent game

The Windies batted and were indebted to Jermaine Blackwood. He looks a decent prospect and announced himself by smiting a six over long off second ball. Jermaine scored an excellent hundred as the Windies finished just over a hundred runs light of England. Broad bowled better than he had, and Tredders picked up four. Fair play.

When England batted again, Captain Cook got out early again and had a face like thunder. The look he gave, could only be similar to that of a man who the EU had pulled the subsidy from his farm, and just down the road from Jolly Harbour, the England's skippers boat, was anything but. Ballance batted his nuts off and scored a classy 122, helped by Root and Buttler. England set the Windies 400 plus to win in a day and bit.

The hosts were never going to win, and it was just down to whether England could bowl them out. They couldn't thanks to Jason Holder. England weren't bad, they tried and they huffed and they puffed, but they couldn't blow Jason away as the game finished in a draw. I'd given him a bit of stick saying that the West Indies might be better with Noddy Holder than Jason Holder. He looks a very good all round cricketer. Jimmy removed Samuels to equal Beefy's milestone and then having started with Mark Vermeulen back in 2003, he finally broke the record by dismissing Denesh Ramdin. Yea talk now, Jimmy. England despite playing well here, still haven't won a Test match abroad since November 2012.

Jermaine...more genius than Jenas

For me, the selection isn't right. Moores seems to love players who are multi faceted, and are perhaps not the best at their initial jobs. Let's show a bit more confidence in ourselves. This is Test cricket, and we are number three in the world. Tredwell is a good pro, and a decent guy by all accounts, but is he the best spinner in England? Is Chris Jordan in the top four seamers in the country? They can field, and bat a bit and that is an insurance policy I suppose but let's give it a real go. This is a young England side and I can see that Moores is trying to build a team of guys in their early to mid twenties, but it isn't pretty to watch. Let's see them smile a bit more too.

Lastly, what has happened to Stuart Broad's batting? This is a man with a 169 under his belt. Now he looks like a rabbit in headlights backing away to square leg. We need to winkle runs out of the tail versus Australia.

Noddy...saved the game for West Indies

The Windies at home are no mugs, despite the lack of a few names. Their attack of Taylor, Roach and Holder are decent too, although leftie Tony would have turned it more than his namesake, Sulieman Benn. This was a Test match that ebbed and flowed, and showed two teams who maybe lack a bit of confidence at present. It wasn't a bad game, just a slow pitch, a slow outfield and average cricket bar the five B's - Bell, Blackwood, Ballance, Ben (Stokes not Sulieman) and the Burnley Express made it one that probably won't stick in the memory bank.

On to Grenada and maybe this is where the series will ignite? North could hear a pin drop.

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