The West Indies made four changes owing to form and injury. Assad Fudadin made his debut at No 3 after an excellent recent home domestic series where he scored his only two first class hundreds. Normally, his career stats wouldn't encourage a debut but the abysmal form reversal of Kirk Edwards which has seen him unable to reach double figures in England, have forced the selectors hands. Not since Doug Walters has a man been so dogged by English conditions, although Edwards has outstripped the Australian's failure. He will be back once he gets off the back foot, literally. He is too talented to end his Test career here.
Sunil Narine came into the side, happy to play Test cricket after his duties with Kolkata in the IPL were exhausted. His situation is only part of a future we appear likely to have to get used to among the lesser cricket nations who have neither the influence or financial clout to tie their players to contracts which will bind them to Test cricket. In the last few weeks, the ICC has made a fuss about the primacy of the oldest form of the game but their roars are the whimperings of a toothless, mangy cat - once a lion but now a Bengal Tiger - which makes loud calls in the wilderness which seldom worry businessmen in the cities of India.
Narsingh Deonorine returned to a side he should never have been dropped from, despite the form of the West Indies middle order.
|Bell drops a clanger ...|
Onions moved to tears
Tino Best returned to the Test side for the first time in three years but his record don't suggest anything more for the well oiled English bats to worry about. Shaved and sprung in South African fields but prepared and oiled in the County Championship, they are only doubtful against spin and flight. Deonarine and Narine have a job to do but nowhere near enough time to do it in.
The first session belonged to the West Indians, losing only Keiran Powell, caught at second slip by Graeme Swann off Tim Bresnan after adding 49 opening with Adrian Barath. Fudadin joined Barath and the pair put their side into a very sound position at lunch (1-86). Barath opened up the Anderson debate early on when he edged to third slip and Anderson's replacement, Ian Bell, grassed a simple enough catch.
The second session was England's despite the sparkling form of Marlon Samuels. Barath lasted only three overs after the break and had his share of good and bad lunch in those 18 deliveries. Bell dropped him - an even easier chance off Steve Finn. Much was made of the fact that Bell was the only player wearing sunglasses, whilst both umpires were wearing those low light, orange numbers to enhance their vision but perhaps the real problem is that Ian Bell just isn't a very good slip fielder. Jimmy Anderson would have shelled both without a thought. Barath went at the end of the next over to another one of the incomprehensible DRS leg before decisions. The naked eye would have sent the ball past the leg stump but umpire Tony Hill raised the finger and Barath was on his way when technology showed it shaving the leg stump. Had Hill said no, the same technology would have saved the batsman.
Even after review, the naked eye still looked the best judge.
Seven slow overs followed in which just 9 runs were added as Finn and Onions worked the batsmen over before Darren Bravo inexplicably returned a catch to Finn in his follow through. If Bravo wore the Starred cap of another nation, rats would be on the breeze. It was a dreadful shot in what has been a string of them from the no doubt talent Bravo. Given the measure of his talent, his tour has been even more disappointing than Kirk Edwards.
|Marlon Samuels raises fifty|
At tea, it looked a familiar story.
Dinesh Ramdin added 56 with Samuels in the hour after tea with bright attacking cricket and it was a surprise when Samuels fell, lbw to Bresnan on another of those DRS lottery umpires call decisions. As it the the Caribbean lads haven't had enough against them on this tour! Darren Sammy and Narine made small but useful contributions as Ramdin continued to attack the English bowlers. England claimed three wickets in the final session and it might just be conjecture but its hard to not imagine Anderson's catching at slip and Broad's deadly bowling at the tail might have had England batting by stumps and West Indie dismissed a hundred runs shorter than their stumps score.
Bresnan, Onions and Finn bowled well but they are not the A-team. Swann was again shown up for his lack of variety once batsmen attack. He is no Ajmal.