Sunday, 3 May 2015

Review of the 3rd Test in West Indies

So England threw it away. The third Test in Barbados was played out on a sporting pitch but one that ultimately provided a fantastic contest, and saw the Windies level the series at one apiece. The Windies played very well but this will be the last hurrah at this level for a number of individuals. Trott, Moores, Chanderpaul, Whitaker and potentially others could have their P45's awaiting. A Cook hundred, the first for two years, was ultimately in vain as this England side burnt their Bridgetown's with many of their supporters. The St George's flags may have over taken this ground, but it was the flag of West Indies that the supporters were rallying around at the end. Read on as we review the Barbados Test.

The new look Bridgetown
England remained unchanged despite a pitch that cried out for the inclusion of Adil Rashid. If they had, the Windies would have had two hopes; none and Shai, the young Bajan who opened the batting. Jerome Taylor came back in as did spinner Permaul for the injured Bishoo who had skinned his spinning finger after his mammoth spell in Grenada. The pitch was a strange one but often these low scoring ones produce more excitement. They might not be the chief executive's tracks that we played on in Grenada and Antigua and last five days, but boy do they produce some decent stuff. This one looked like it had oil coming out from underneath with a black surface. I expected Larry Hagman to rock up, but the only JR on offer was Joe Root.

Trott got bounced out. Sadly it is the end. It would be like feeding a kitten to a crocodile if we allowed him to open up against Johnson. He knows it too. It is sad to see a sportsman go through this, but international sport is a tough business. George Dobell wrote a beautiful piece on this on ESPN Cricinfo, and he was right. The real courage Trott showed was coming back for this tour in the first place.

Bell chipped one back, Ballance got a good one, JR looked like he was on for his seventh consecutive fifty, until the well ran dry and he nicked one behind. A crude dismissal. Ali looked good until he was run out by his skipper but just before the end of Day One, that moment that Cook had been waiting for. As nervous in the nineties, as Nick Clegg will be in his Sheffield constituency next Thursday, a leg side clip brought home the bacon. No one begrudged him his ton.

Joe Root

And then the second day. Eighteen wickets fell. England wrapped up their first dig for 257 before a blistering Jimmy spell sorted out the Windies top order. Chanderpaul went for 25 in what could be his last match. I remember his first, also against England and remember a banner that read "Chanderpaul, you are debutable". The only problem was the blokes writing was so bad that it looked like debatable. Can you believe that was 1994? What a career, and what a player. Unorthodox, and sometimes as pretty as Janet Street Porter to watch on television, he was never the less effective. Jimmy blasted away the tail as he finished with 6-42. Broad bowled ok too, but the others were poor. Moeen Ali bowled way too many half trackers. Ex Iraqi politician Comical Ali could have done the same job.

England in perfect control, yeah? Well they were, until a spineless and insipid display of batting threw the game away. Taylor bowled well but only Ballance, Buttler and Stokes made it into double figures. England have had problems against the short ball for ages, and now the full one is troubling us. Peter Siddle must be licking his sunblocked lips. 123 all out was a disgrace.

Shiv...the end of the crab?

The Windies needed 192. They got it easily thanks to a watchful knock from Bravo, and that man Blackwood again. The only question troubling us, is whether this match would go into a fourth day.

Firstly, the Windies. I am pleased for them. Hopefully, this will get the kids interested again in those islands in Test cricket, and encourage them that it is not all about T20. They have their problems, but they are a decent unit at home and showed it here. Taylor spearheads the attack well, and in Blackwood they have a star in the making. I love the West Indies and their attitude towards cricket. Let's hope that this is the start of a new era.

As for England, take away an inspired Jimmy spell in Grenada and it could have been worse. Moores has to go. He is out of his depth and whether it is him or James Whitaker picking the side, mistakes are being made way too often. We had a number three opening, who obviously has major technical issues, we have too many all rounders in the side as an insurance policy in case the batting goes wrong, and as a result these guys aren't the best batsmen or bowlers in England in either facet of the game. We have a batsman keeper down at eight who isn't the best keeper in the country either. If you are going to play one that low in the side then it really does smack of lack of self belief. Jos has to go higher up the order.

Trott...a sad ending

Ali was poor in this match and questions arise about him as a front line spinner. A return of 2-100 plus from twenty overs on a bunsen, isn't ideal. The boys at Headingley will be well refreshed this summer though as Lyth, Bairstow, Plunkett and Rashid have had plenty of drink making practice.

For me, the selection has been shocking and for that Whitaker needs to move on. Moores is just not good enough. Losses to Sri Lanka, an awful World Cup and a draw here means he must be on borrowed time. Cook has had a decent series, scored a hundred and even made the odd tinker in the field that I liked the look of. I would have liked to have seen him put more pressure on the Windies in the fourth dig though. On a turning track to left handers, take out the mid wicket and encourage their lefties to hit through that area against the spin. Make them hit over the top. However, Cook will start against New Zealand.

My timeline on Sunday night actually wanted England to lose though so Moores goes. That is an extremely sad state of affairs, but the England fans are angry. We have gone backwards since Moores took over and we need a world class coach. Moores is a good guy by all accounts, but he is not world class. He is a decent county coach, and he will get work no problem, but he has taken England as far as he can.

All in all a draw was a fair result. Nothing gets better for England, although the form of the skipper is a positive.

Now back to England for New Zealand. Time for change? I bloody hope so.

1 comment:

  1. I wanted England to lose too, for the same reasons (I also wanted WI to win, for slightly better reasons). Moores will still be in charge while we lose to New Zealand, though, unless the ECB already have someone lined up. I'm sure Moores is a good man, but he clearly isn't up to the job.