Sunday, 3 February 2019

Review of the 2nd Test in West Indies

There are various degrees of shit. This was up there, or should I say down there, with the very best. If it was a tv series it would have been Eldorado, it was that bad. At least Eldorado was entertaining. Having all predicted that England would win, albeit closely against a spirited Windies, they have gone and got stuffed. Not just beaten but battered, sunk without a trace. This one in Antigua, was so much a Bermuda Triangle of a performance, I'm surprised Barry Manilow hadn't donned the whites. This is a review of the downright dreadful second Test...

Sir Vivian Richards stadium
Antigua has given us many memories. King Vivi, Curtley Ambrose, Richie Richardson's hat, Lara slapping 375 and 400, Chicky's Disco at the old Rec in St John's, the cross dressing Gravy pumping the crowd up, to name but a few. The surface here at the new-ish ground was the antithesis of the benign deck at the old Rec, made by the prisoners next door but it is no excuse for the performance of the visitors; both sides have to play on it. This one won't live in the memory bank I'm afraid, or if it does, then all for the wrong reasons. Never mind the Sir Vivian Richards stadium, this was more reminiscent of Vyvyan from the Young Ones.

England reacted to the heavy defeat in Barbados by making changes. Keaton Jennings found himself surplus to requirements, with Joe Denly making his Test debut. Stuart Broad came in for Adil Rashid, whilst the hosts went unchanged. England lost the toss, were inserted and it didn't take long for the West Indian battery of quicks to make inroads.

Some of the dismissals were from good bowling, others were from poor shots. I'm not saying that the English batting was reckless but John Profumo as a politician shagging a prostitute, probably showed a greater degree of better judgement when he said to Christine Keeler, "Fancy a coffee back at my place?" Only Bairstow and Moeen Ali got stuck in. Moeen needed it after his pair in Barbados but after moving nicely to 60, played a shocker of a shot.

Bermuda Triangle...where England disappear

The England batsmen need to know when to defend and when to play shots. Like Ant McPartlin, you don't drive in every situation and the 'gung ho' attitude saw them get turned over for a meagre 187, Roach and Gabriel doing the damage.

When the Windies took their turn they showed application and defiance. Brathwaite scored at less than one an over, whilst all of the top four scored over 40. On this surface, it was priceless. Bravo had a proper dig in, no doubt causing frothing at the mouth of Yorkshire twitter man, Fred Boycott, as his forward defensive broke English hearts. These guys set the foundations of a match defining 306.Yes they rode their luck, we dropped catches and the English bowling beat the bat regularly but if you stay in the game in the Caribbean, you are eventually rewarded. Windies showed they wanted it more than England in their back yard.

England went to bat for the second dig and were shot out in hours. The top order were blown away in a Bill Clinton-esque fashion and then that man, Kemar Roach again went through the lower order and docked the English tail like a Manx cat. Windies only needed 14 to win which was duly completed as John Campbell launched Jimmy out of the ground. It was a series win, well deserved, brought up in an emphatic style. The margin? A mere ten wickets. It was a battering, it was 'licks' again.

Firstly, take nothing away from the Windies. They have been excellent and have fully deserved their win. Their bowlers have been quicker, their batsman have shown more application and they are brilliantly led by Jason Holder. To see a strong West Indies again would be wonderful for the world game.

England were a shambles. The preparation and arrogance of turning up for Test cricket with a jolly friendly 15 a side game shows they aren't as good as they think they are. The Schofield Report many years ago recommended at least two First Class games to acclimatise to conditions. Too many bits and pieces cricketers have been shown up here as they have been outclassed from start to finish. Bairstow is a class act but not a number three, just as Sam Curran wasn't an opening bowler back in Bridgetown. Root needs runs badly and someone has to go in there and grind the crap out of it. The top order don't protect the middle, so that they are exposed. How many times have we been 40-4 in the last year? The chances of getting 300 from there are slim. The bowling looks average. The faster bowlers of the West Indians have shown them up.

Gravy at the old St John's Rec

Do we blame the players? Well they are in the casino but it is the chiefs at the roulette wheel who have caused this. A County Championship played on green tops, rewarding the military medium bowlers who then look distinctly average when they ho abroad, along with scheduling which is rotten, is the root cause of this shit show.

England can only play for pride now in St Lucia. I'm expecting another pitiful show by the Pitons.

1 comment:

  1. Firstly, after the puddings of recent years, it's good to see West Indian pitches with a bit of pace and bounce (albeit uneven bounce). On them we have been outbatted, outbowled and outthought. Jason Holder is probably the most impressive captain West Indies have had since Big Clive Lloyd.

    Apparently, England were offered a "proper" 4 day warm up game, and declined it.