It is an overall run rate which is none too demanding. Nowadays, a rate of 3.1 runs per over demands the same sort of tempo as a stroll in the park. The drawback is that England have to reach a target of 628 to achieve victory in the first of three Tests against West Indies.
This is a belated payback for the Test match at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1930 when England made a sporting declaration that set West Indies 836 to win. The hosts made it to 408 for five by the end of the seventh day of this timeless Test – only days eight and nine were rained off, then England had to take the ship home. If their plane to Antigua cares to arrive any time on day four, England will be delighted.
After a record-breaking stand between Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich, respectively the West Indian captain and keeper, Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings had 20 overs to survive, plus two days. With admirable composure for such a new pair, England’s openers completed the first part of their assignment, so that no wicket fell all day, helped by the pitch becoming more placid than when England were dismissed for 77.
The stand of 295 by Holder and Dowrich did not relent until the declaration 40 minutes after tea. Holder’s unbeaten 202 off only 229 balls was the highest innings in Test cricket by any No 8 against England. Indeed only two Pakistanis have scored more from this position, Wasim Akram and Imtiaz Ahmed.
Holder’s eight sixes were the most in an innings in a fixture between these two Test teams, and his partnership with Dowrich was the highest for the West Indian seventh wicket against England.
This was merciless fare when England might well have expected, after taking five wickets for nine runs the previous evening, to have polished off West Indies swiftly. Eighteen wickets had tumbled on day two.
After running through the batting of Sri Lanka last autumn and India last summer, this taste of Caribbean batsmanship was bitter for Joe Root’s team.
It was the third highest partnership for the seventh wicket in Tests – curiously enough, the highest of 347 against Australia was powered by another Barbadian right-handed batsman, captain and all-rounder, Denis Atkinson.
It is never a good idea to let the opposing captain hit a hundred in the first match of a series, because it sets the tone. But England were powerless to stop Holder making his third Test century and first double because only Stokes had the pace to bang the ball into the dry deck and maximise the movement – the lavish movement to be had by a fast bowler with a Dukes ball.
England’s toothlessness was sorry to behold for all their travelling supporters – in other words almost the entire crowd. Saturday, being a weekend, is expected to see the Barbadian element of the crowd rise above the few hundred spectators of the first three days – and if the prospect of a superlative victory over England does not bring the locals through the gate, no red-ball match will.
Anderson’s pace dropped below 80mph, so exhausted was he by his 30 overs in the first innings. and Sam Curran was brought down to earth – earth that was too slow for his bowling as well as for Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.
The only one of England’s three spinners to find the right pace for this pitch was Root, bowling all sorts briskly, but it is none too beneficial if your Nos 4 and 5 batsmen – Root and Stokes – have to do loads of bowling before batting. And Stokes was heroically steaming in from the pavilion end and constantly beating the bat almost until the declaration.
Moeen, in trying to use the trade winds which blow across Caribbean grounds, has bowled more slowly on this tour than at any point in his England career. But in the past, even if there was not much variation and subtlety, his stock off-break commanded respect. Here, floating the ball up on a full length, Moeen was driven for eight sixes over the two innings.
Every spell in this match, save for his last, Moeen began with a full toss – and sometimes went downhill from there, as when Holder followed up by driving three fours through the off side in Moeen’s first spell on day three. All day, except against Stokes, Holder could lunge forward and play off the front foot – not a luxury which England’s batsmen have enjoyed against Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach – and he raced ahead of Dowrich, reaching his 150 before tea and before the keeper reached his century.
Dowrich’s vulnerability against the short ball had been illustrated in West Indies’ first innings by Anderson, but he was too shot to bowl bouncers second time round. In Holder’s shadow Dowrich played straight and neatly like a traditional keeper, accumulating the runs on offer until he cut Moeen for four to reach his third Test hundred off 198 balls.
Rashid conceded six sixes in the match, swiped as well as driven. His selection ahead of Stuart Broad, with his height and pace, was wrong before the start because it left England with only one bowler of pace, in Stokes, backed by two swingers. Now it has to be ranked as the most ill-judged selection by England since they went into the Ahmedabad Test of 2012 with one spinner – worse than Simon Kerrigan’s selection for the Oval Test of 2013, when at least the series had been won.
As England’s second spinner, Rashid’s 26 wicketless overs cost 117 runs.
Another consequence of this terrible decision, which let West Indies off the hook – permanently – on the first morning, was that Rashid has lost his novelty ahead of the second Test in Antigua, where he could well be required as England no doubt try to level this series.
CLOSE: ENG 56/0 (Burns 39* Jennings 11*)
England end a day when no wickets fell 572 runs from victory after a magnificent record seventh-wicket partnership of 295 between Shane Dowrich (116*) and Jason Holder (202*). Still, England fought well with the bat at the end. So they still have 10 wickets left. Join us tomorrow to see how they get on.
OVER 20: ENG 56/0 (Burns 39* Jennings 11*)
This is the openers’ third fifty partnership in four Tests together. We will finish with spin from John Campbell. Strange days indeed … when you’ve got four quicks. Jennings plays the first one late into cover. He is making it turn out of the rough, making it rag towards slip and then plays the ace of one that skids on but it whistle a few inches past the stumps. One of them turns so much it’s a wide and then four byes come when one hits a foothold crater and burrows under the keeper and scuttles for four. That;s it. They’ve survived. Not a single wicket in the day.
OVER 19: ENG 51/0 (Burns 39* Jennings 11*)
Chase settles on a fuller length but there is no real turn. Jennings pushes a single through the covers. Now we see the ball tracking from Joseph’s leg-before shout and because he leapt wide on the crease to make the angle it did pitch about a ball’s width outside leg stump.
OVER 18: ENG 50/0 (Burns 39* Jennings 10*)
Joseph serves Burns up an enticingly good length ball on middle and leg and the opener cuffs it through midwicket for two. Two solid backward defensives keep him on strike but then he loses his balance and is hit on the knee roll by one that wobbles in. Looked out but West Indies don’t review. Did it pitch outside leg? While we wait for that Burns caresses an overpitched delivery through mid-off for for four and England make it to fifty unscathed.
OVER 17: ENG 44/0 (Burns 33* Jennings 10*)
Chase’s appeal dies in his throat when his slider seems to trap Burns plumb in front but there were two noises and, on replay, a distinct inside edge. Good delivery, though. Burns punches a single through cover off the back foot, Jennings, also playing back, chops another through point. He is bowling too short and Burns can play another back foot clump for a single.
OVER 16: ENG 41/0 (Burns 31* Jennings 9*)
Joseph starts from over the wicket, intimations of inswing to the left-handers. Jennings wears one on the thigh pad, lets one go and defends four solidly. Four overs to go.
OVER 15: ENG 41/0 (Burns 31* Jennings 9*)
Jennings sweeps a single off Roston Chase’s off-spin and then the tall twirler drags the next one down and Burns scythes it through point for four. Another wide one slips out and the umpire calls it as such. Curious choice when he’s got Joseph. Ah, he’s coming on from the other end.
OVER 14: ENG 35/0 (Burns 27* Jennings 8*)
Clever from Burns, using the uppercut again to chip the ball over the cordon for four when Roach employs a half-tracker. He has a Heath Robinson technique Burns, but there’s certainly something about him. West Indies are going to turn to spin.
OVER 13: ENG 31/0 (Burns 23* Jennings 8*)
Excellent running from these two when Jennings defends confidently and prods the ball towards mid-off and they scamper a single. Burns then whips his fifth boundary through midwicket, finding Holder’s pace easy to line up. Holder bangs the next ball in and Burns drops his left wrist to uppercut it over point where it plugs so they can run just the two.
OVER 12: ENG 23/0 (Burns 16* Jennings 7*)
Roach replaces Gabriel and comes in from his favoured end where the breeze helps him. Jennings glances a single off his pads then Burns leans back to smite a square cut over gully when Roach gives him bounce and width.
OVER 11: ENG 18/0 (Burns 12* Jennings 6*)
Holder lets Jennings leave three from round the wicket before he drills a single into the offside with an elongated defensive. This is too negative from Holder. He’s got a once in a career lead on his home ground, two knackered rookie openers and the world’s fastest bowler and yet he’s bowling wide and has a mid off, a mid on, a orthodox square leg.
OVER 10: ENG 17/0 (Burns 12* Jennings 5*)
Gabriel slips one and gets one to jag in towards Burns’ throat. The batsman gets his hands up but the ball sears past towards slip. Absolutely unplayable at 91 mph. All you can do is hope it doesn’t have your number on it. For a player who twitches a lot, his jerky style, pulling his neck inside the line, served him well. Gabriel is enamoured of the swing so pitches one up and fires it towards middle and Burns uses the pace to clip it through midwicket for four. Nice shot. Ten overs is halfway there for tonight.
OVER 9: ENG 13/0 (Burns 8* Jennings 5*)
Holder is extracting bounce with his height and makes one fly through to the keeper. Jennings is able to shoulder arms to four of them and dig out the other two. The floodlights are on. Three successive maidens for West Indies.
OVER 8: ENG 13/0 (Burns 8* Jennings 5*)
Burns follows one from Gabriel that bounces and veers away at solar plexus height. He couldn’t stop his hands following the ball but fortunately he pulled them back in the nick. That was the set-up because Gabriel bowls one later that holds its line and whistles past Burns edge as he propped forward. A testing maiden.
OVER 7: ENG 13/0 (Burns 8* Jennings 5*)
Holder, who looks better over the wicket to the left-handers, starts from round. The trumpeter is working his way through the worst songbook in the world. Jennings lets four by and defends the other two. Maiden.
OVER 6: ENG 13/0 (Burns 8* Jennings 5*)
Jennings rides the bounce from round the wicket to block a rapid riser from Gabriel. Leaning forward he whips one through midwicket around his front pad for a single and then tells Burns there was definite inswing. For one so quick Gabriel seems intent on bowling the batsmen out rather than bullying them out and he keeps pitching it up. When he strays on to middle Burns flicks him through midwicket for four. Jason Holder is bringing himself on for Roach.
OVER 5: ENG 8/0 (Burns 4* Jennings 4*)
So far Jennings has been certain in his leaving and playing – even though Roach hasn’t been accurate enough yet. His pace is accelerating, though. He leans into a punchy drive and runs a single, Burns does the same off the last ball but the fielder is quicker to it and keeps him down that end.
OVER 4: ENG 7/0 (Burns 4* Jennings 3*)
Ian Bishop is perplexed by the absence of a short leg for the world’s quickest Test bowler against a side 621 behind at the start of the over. Burns sways out of the way of one, plays a good defensive at one angling in outside off then gets his hands up high to ride the bounce of a brutal lifter that was arrowing towards his sternum. Maiden.
OVER 3: ENG 7/0 (Burns 4* Jennings 3*)
More positive intent from Jennings with his defensive strokes, pushing the ball through point off Roach with a soft grip and running two. He leaves a couple and allows Burns to face Gabriel.
OVER 2: ENG 5/0 (Burns 4* Jennings 1*)
Shannon Gabriel shares the new ball and he’s a good 8mph quicker than Roach from the start. My, he’s sharp. Jennings plays a positive defensive to the first one, prodding it through cover and calls a quick single. That was encouragingly sprightly. Burns digs out the yorker with a bat that comes loose in his grip and he ends up shovelling it square on the leg side. But that apart, he plays the other four with no dramas.
Don’t agree with those saying England shouldn’t have a second innings on the grounds it could destroy public trust in our cricketers. Public trust was already destroyed by the first. Having another innings, however angry it may make people, is the only way to sort out the mess.
— Pavilion Opinions (@pavilionopinion) January 25, 2019
OVER 1: ENG 4/0 (Burns 4* Jennings 0*)
Right. England’s openers are greeted by Jerusalem. Roach is coming round the wicket to the left-handers. It’s all about movement and precision for Roach who is only 80mph these days. Burns guides one that bounces through the slips for four but he plays a very tired stroke later in the over, essaying a cut at one that jagged up surprisingly and he almost edged it.
England need 628 for victory
Ho … hum. There should be time for about 20 overs until 9.30pm. I England can go in only one down I would consider that a success after a horribly bruising day for them. Well played Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich, though. They batted magnificently, though Dowrich would have been out for 62 had England not wasted their reviews last night.
OVER 104: WI 415/6 declared (Dowrich 116* Holder 202*)
A double hundred for Jason Holder, pulling Keaton Jennings for four. Then Big Daddy hundred declares.
WI lead by 627.
OVER 103: WI 411/6 (Dowrich 116* Holder 198*)
Root’s bowling well, drifting his leggie in and his offie away. Dowrich cuts off the back foot and edges it past slip where Stokes makes a valiant effort but the ball shoots down to the fence for four.
OVER 102: WI 404/6 (Dowrich 111* Holder 196*)
Dowrich chops Jennings for four through third man with a wristy late cut to bring up the 400. He turns a single into the legside and his captain does the same to farm the strike. WI lead by 616
OVER 101: WI 397/6 (Dowrich 106* Holder 194*)
Root, England’s best spinner today, returns with a bouncy step and concedes only a single.
OVER 100: WI 396/6 (Dowrich 106* Holder 193*)
Jennings continues and Holder brutally dispatches his dibbly filth over long on for six but Jennings can take succour from one he inside edges painfully into his inner thigh. Stuart Broad is on as a sub to a rapturous reception.
OVER 99: WI 387/6 (Dowrich 106* Holder 184*)
Holder now equals Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards with seven sixes in a Test innings against England with an almighty heave off Moeen over the long pasture at cow corner. Next ball he swats for four through square leg. There’s been a murder, as Taggart would say.
OVER 98: WI 376/6 (Dowrich 106* Holder 173*)
Double K Jennings returns with his dobbers. And he ducks one into Dowrich’s front pad above the knee roll and appeals. Big inside edge. Dowrich blocks a couple then pulls the last for two. WI lead by 588
OVER 97: WI 373/6 (Dowrich 104* Holder 172*)
Joe Denly comes on as 12th man for Stokes. Moeen bowls a decent maiden with flight and guile to Dowrich who wants to tee off but can’t override the risk assessment.
OVER 96: WI 373/6 (Dowrich 104* Holder 172*)
Stokes bangs the ball in short and Holder swivels and pulls it high over midwicket for six. Stokes responds with a real effort ball that Holder shapes to hook, bails out and lets it go over his shoulder. He then trolls Stokes with a flashy drive that sails off the edge through a vacant second slip for four. The partnership is now 250.
Stokes departs the field.
OVER 95: WI 361/6 (Dowrich 103* Holder 161*)
A single for Holder off Moeen makes this the highest seventh-wicket partnership against England, surpassing the 235 of Ravi Shastri and Syed Kirmani. Dowrich is on strike and 99*. Moeen tries to tempt him outside off-stump with flight and dip but he’s refusing to bite until Moeen drops short and he chops down on a dab with a bat at about 215 degrees to clip it for four and bring up his third Test century. WI lead by 573
OVER 94: WI 356/6 (Dowrich 99* Holder 160*)
Stokes needs to bat at No7 in the second innings after all this effort. His workload is a shameful indictment of the selection cock-up. As ever he bowls well, sliding three past Holder’s edge after Dowrich tucks a single off his left trouser pocket. Holder ends the over pinching the strike after guiding the preceding ball to the boundary, gliding the ball through the slips off an angled, raised bat.
OVER 93: WI 350/6 (Dowrich 98* Holder 155*)
Masochists of the world unite. Here we go again. Moeen bowls to Dowrich with a slip and a one-day ring on the offside and giving it a rip. Dowrich takes a single through midwicket then Holder leaves a couple that fizz safely past his off-stump. Good Lord. Stokes is going to continue. He has bowled 48.3 overs so far.
TEA: WI 349/6 (Dowrich 97* Holder 155*)
England complete two sessions without a wicket (after 18 fell yesterday). Dowrich and Holder have pressed home their advantage with style and perfect cruelty, running England’s two best bowlers into the ground and grinding their team-mates into the dirt. WI lead by 561 at the break.
Jason Holder, perhaps the most underrated cricketer in the world for a fair while, has come into his own as a high quality all rounder in the past couple of years
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) January 25, 2019
OVER 92: WI 349/6 (Dowrich 97* Holder 155*)
Dowrich flicks a single off his pads and is marooned at the non-striker’s. Stokes beats Holder’s edge a couple of times and that will be tea.
OVER 91: WI 348/6 (Dowrich 96* Holder 155*)
Moeen replaces Anderson. Dowrich, who would like to reach/pass hundred by tea in five minutes, thumps a drive to cover that Root fields smartly. Another good stop at midwicket keeps him down that end until he takes the strike with a drive that he drags to the onside, just over Buttler that dallies on its way down to long on.
OVER 90: WI 347/6 (Dowrich 95* Holder 155*)
Stokes comes back and almost snaffles Holder down the legside when he wafts at one angled across him. He nicks it but Foakes spilled it with his left hand. The ball hit his thumb and ricocheted down to fine leg for four. Stokes yelps. Jeff Dujon says it was a difficult chance but there was an error in his footwork which took him up too early before he could swoop down. He has been in the field so long, maybe his knees ache. ‘As a keeper, you get one hand to it, you should hold it.’
OVER 89: WI 343/6 (Dowrich 95* Holder 151*)
Shot! Dowrich plays the sweetest on-drive, so comely it was worthy of Ricky Ponting. The ball screams past Anderson for four. Tea can’t come quick enough.
OVER 88: WI 339/6 (Dowrich 91* Holder 151*)
Curran had done OK with the new ball given the field he’s bowling to and how far under the steamroller his side is. But his last delivery is too short and Holder plays a wonderful pick-up shot, marmalising it over square leg for four. WI lead by 551
OVER 87: WI 332/6 (Dowrich 90* Holder 145*)
How about this for a recipe. Take one exhausted and exasperated great fast bowler, a pair of batsmen who are grounding the fielding side into the dirt, an umpire who has twice ticked the bowler off. What do you think his reaction would be if one of the batsmen, Jason Holder, then pans a back-foot drive in the air in the direction of short cover, a fielding position you’ve requested specifically, but the fielder didn’t see it until it had parted his hair? The ball goes for four, Buttler, for it is he, can’t look at Anderson who is threatening to make Krakatoa seem like a wet firework.
OVER 85: WI 326/6 (Dowrich 89* Holder 140*)
Next milestone is the 200 partnership, brought up in sumptuous style by Dowrich caressing an off-drive past Anderson. In a beauty contest I think it would shave the captain’s in the previous over. Next he plays tip and run into the legside for a single then Holder plays a lovely leg glance, that was Inzamamesque in its timing and execution. This is a pummeling. A proper old school gubbing. Anderson’s last ball is dug out and dinked back to the bowler who pantomimes a shy at the stump and receives a rollicking from the umpire. Anderson tramps down to fine leg chuntering away and kicking the grass.
OVER 84: WI 317/6 (Dowrich 84* Holder 136*)
Strike a pose. Jason Holder smokes an off-drive past Sam Curran with such glorious timing that he holds his bat past the horizontal in the followthrough as the ball bullets to the boundary. WI lead by 529
OVER 83: WI 310/6 (Dowrich 82* Holder 131*)
Six exemplary outswingers, six dot balls for Anderson who is wicketless in this second innings.
OVER 82: WI 310/6 (Dowrich 82* Holder 131*)
Curran shares the new ball and pins Holder with an isnwinger high on the back leg. Given he’s about a foot taller than Curran, the umpire turns it down on the grounds that it was too high. He squares him up next ball, another inswinger, then angles one across but Holder leaves it. He takes a single off the next ball, another inswinger, drilling it to wide mid-on. After four decent deliveries Curran bangs one in and Dowrich pulls it nonchalantly for a single. WI lead by 522
OVER 81: WI 307/6 (Dowrich 81* Holder 129*)
Anderson takes the new ball and he begins with a maiden. Some swing and bounce but Dowrich is well set and shoulders arms to five of them. One of those deceptive maidens that flatter the figures but don’t help.
OVER 80: WI 307/6 (Dowrich 81* Holder 129*)
Keaton Jennings, a new skinhead who hasn’t given his bonce time to turn the same colour as his face, rather like Tim Roth in Mean Time in less sunny climes, comes on to bowl. Holder smacks the first, a long hop, over midwicket for four. Then Holder thrashes a drive but slices it high over cover. Burns running back, Moeen running in converge but Burns is the quickest and dives to reach it but he can’t – it snags his nails as he made a valiant attempt.
Quite fancy Windies batting the whole day without losing a wicket today. Absolutely no need to think of declaring. Have the chance to completely grind England down and still have two days to bowl them out.
— Peter Miller (@TheCricketGeek) January 25, 2019
OVER 79: WI 301/6 (Dowrich 81* Holder 123*)
Dowrich brings up West Indies 300 with a dabby late cut off Root for four. WI lead by 513. Let us seek solace in drinks.
OVER 78: WI 295/6 (Dowrich 76* Holder 122*)
Holder’s soft hands and the absence of more than one slip means that when Anderson finds the West Indies captain’s edge it flies past slip for four.
OVER 77: WI 289/6 (Dowrich 75* Holder 117*)
Dowrich late cuts for two and connects with a more thumping cut for two more, Between those two scoring strokes, Root’s off-spinner leapt off a good length and almost kissed the edge. Almost. Of all sad words of mouth or pen … WI lead by 501
OVER 76: WI 283/6 (Dowrich 70* Holder 116*)
It’s not declaration bowling by any description but England are just plugging away here. Three runs off Anderson’s over and the bowler is making a sincere effort to get off the pitch which scuppers those malicious souls who think it would be the perfect opportunity to take a breather if he transgressed again. WI lead by 495
OVER 75: WI 280/6 (Dowrich 69* Holder 114*)
Root carries on with this very encouraging spell, alternating leggies and offies to keep the batsmen guessing. Just the single, for Dowrich who played down the wrong line and hit it with a thickish inside edge.
OVER 74: WI 279/6 (Dowrich 68* Holder 114*)
England have been working on the ball diligently but haven;t seen much evidence of reverse, maybe a smidgen from Stokes but nothing from Curran or Anderson. After a long chat between Anderson and Stokes, Anderson goes back to his mark. He is straining to reach 80 mph and has the breeze to help his inducker but first he has to conquer his followthrough which is taking him down the danger zone. Rod Tucker has a word with him and he stands on the crease to look where he landed. At the end of the over he receives a warning.
OVER 73: WI 278/6 (Dowrich 67* Holder 114*)
Two singles off Root, both batsmen working the ball off their legs between square leg and midwicket. James Anderson has been warming up and it looks like he’s going to come back on now, seven overs before the new ball is due.
OVER 72: WI 276/6 (Dowrich 66* Holder 113*)
And now the pitch is misbehaving again. Stokes unwittingly gets one to pea-roll under Holder’s bat. He also finds his edge but with only one slip it’s safe. The partnership extends to 156.
OVER 71: WI 275/6 (Dowrich 66* Holder 112*)
Root is making judicious use of his new trick, the legspinner, and he bamboozles Holder with it. Unfortunately the ball clips his inside edge as played the drive and shoots past leg-stump, the keeper and fine leg. WI lead by 487
OVER 70: WI 270/6 (Dowrich 66* Holder 107*)
A maiden for Stokes to Dowrich, teasing and tempting him with ones that angle in from outside off-stump and straighten. Dowrich goes fishing twice and you don’t need me to describe the colour of Stokes’ face as he curses the fates when they slide past the edge.
OVER 69: WI 270/6 (Dowrich 66* Holder 107*)
Another good over from Root, tying the batsmen down with his pace and turn. Just the single – Dowrich cuffing it off his toes. WI lead by 482
OVER 68: WI 269/6 (Dowrich 65* Holder 107*)
Poor Ben Stokes is brought back. England are using their thoroughbred all-rounder as a carthorse. He bangs one in to Holder and it sits up invitingly enough for the West Indies captain to swat his pull over midwicket for four. He’s far too tall to be bounced by a 68-over-old ball and a bowler starting his 44th over of the match.
OVER 67: WI 264/6 (Dowrich 64* Holder 103*)
Correction – Holder’s hundred came off 99 balls. Three singles off Root’ over. He seems to be bowling a bit quicker than last year and with more control. WI lead by 476
Holder smashes a six over long on to become the first Bajan captain of West Indies to score a Test hundred in Bridgetown since Sobers in 1971. Special moment
— Nick Hoult (@NHoultCricket) January 25, 2019
OVER 66: WI 261/6 (Dowrich 62* Holder 102*)
Jason Holder brings up his century off 99 balls with his fifth six that he launches over the bowler’s head with an emphatic thump. He has batted flawlessly and with real authority. He takes two more with a flick through midwicket off the googly. West Indies have studied Rashid and can pick him.
OVER 65: WI 252/6 (Dowrich 62* Holder 94*)
Root brings himself on and his first ball is a dart that Holder has to jab his bat down on sharpish. The ball squirts off the edge through third man for four. Then Root, who squandered his two reviews yesterday, pins Dowrich plumb with his new legspinner but for some reason Chris Gaffney doesn’t give it and England can’t contest his error. It never rains …
OVER 64: WI 247/6 (Dowrich 62* Holder 89*)
Rashid resumes after lunch and Holder smacks his second ball back over the bowler’s head. He relaxed his bottom hand which sent it over long on, clearing Buttler’s jump by bout 5ft, but for a moment he looked worried. The six salves all that. Rashid has looked better from round the wicket but even those who are fond of him, including this correspondent, would have to concede he bowls too regular rations of filth each over.
LUNCH: WI 237/6 (Dowrich 61* Holder 80*)
England have 40 minutes to come up with a plan and with their two best bowlers, Anderson and Stokes, on their knees having bowled 40 and 43 overs respectively in 2 days and one session. No wickets and West Indies rattled along at more than four an over to extend their lead to 449. WIth the weather set fair, hosts that would not want to refund gate receipts for days four and five, and the opportunity to run England into the ground so punishingly that it affects them for the second Test starting next week, West Indies have no incentive at all to declare today.
OVER 63: WI 237/6 (Dowrich 61* Holder 80*)
This is as bad a session in the field since the third day of the Sydney Test. A single apiece off Stokes and Holder and Dowrich depart for lunch 449 runs ahead.
OVER 62: WI 235/6 (Dowrich 60* Holder 79*)
Curran hurtles round from midwicket to cut off a boundary, diving head first with one arm outstretched Superman style to parry the ball before it touched the rope to Bairstow who arrowed a throw to Foakes. Saved two runs.
OVER 61: WI 230/6 (Dowrich 57* Holder 77*)
Back to Stokes for a couple of overs before lunch. Three singles, one each flicked through the onside, and then Holder taps a drive wide of cover. WI lead by 442
OVER 60: WI 227/6 (Dowrich 56* Holder 75*)
Rashid comes round the wicket as Daren Ganga has long advocated and he immediately hits the foothold crater and rags past Holder’s edge as he played a backward defensive. After Holder scrambles a single into the legside, Dowrich spends three balls working out the new angle and using his pad. Better. David Lloyd says he was speaking to a tour group last night and one of them said he wanted his money back! Some people, eh? You go on tour to watch England play, what on earth do you expect? A guarantee?
OVER 59: WI 225/6 (Dowrich 55* Holder 74*)
Holder raises the hundred partnership in style, flaying Curran over long off for a towering six. Being so tall and with such good timing, he seems to impart extraordinary power effortlessly. Two sharp saves at point and cover, one from Stokes, keep the pain down to six. WI lead by 437
OVER 58: WI 219/6 (Dowrich 55* Holder 68*)
Three singles off Rashid, Holder’s two off the back foot, Dowrich’s whipped off his pads.
OVER 57: WI 216/6 (Dowrich 54* Holder 66*)
Curran racks up his first maiden. If reports from those at the Women’s World Cup that suggest the Antigua pitch is slow and will turn are accurate, have England picked this side a Test too early. Has Broad missed the boat for the tour now? Or will they be too chastened to pick an unchanged side if they are trounced as soundly as everyone anticipates?
OVER 56: WI 216/6 (Dowrich 54* Holder 66*)
Holder drops to one knee and mullers a six over long on off Rashid’s leg-spinner. England’s fielders are relentless in their encouragement for Rashid and he responds with more flight and dip. Holder opens the face and glides a single to point, Dowrich is given a long hop that he thrashes to the midwicket sweeper who keeps him to one.
OVER 55: WI 208/6 (Dowrich 53* Holder 59*)
Curran switches ends and fields and comes over the wicket. Holder prods a single to point off the first ball and Dowrich waits, watching two full ones that are angled across him and scoot through low before accepting the invitation to pass fifty with an overpitched one on middle and off. Dowrich opens his stance and whips it through midwicket for four. The partnership is now 88 and the lead 420.
OVER 54: WI 203/6 (Dowrich 49* Holder 58*)
Rashid at last … and if you’re not going to bowl him at seven and wight, when are you? He does Holder with a googly that rips into his thigh but the West Indies captain responds next ball with steepling six, murdered over long on, exploiting a lapse in length.
OVER 53: WI 196/6 (Dowrich 49* Holder 50*)
The shower arrives and the players head off before the umpires tell them to carry on. Moeen can’t dry his hands sufficiently and delivers a long hop when the ball slips out of his hand. Great stop by Burns, running from midwicket to square leg and diving headlong with an elbow-grazing swoop, reduces the damage to two. Another drag down costs two more runs, this time slapped through point. WI lead by 408.
OVER 52: WI 191/6 (Dowrich 45* Holder 50*)
Fifty for Holder who lets the ball run off the face of his sponsor-less bat down to third man. Curran ha s a leg slip, a man halfway between short leg and orthodox square leg and a short midwicket. Dowrich is not falling for it and he gets on top of the short deliveries to pull into the ground. Grey clouds to the east of the ground. It’s a bit black over Bill’s mother’s … if William’s mater resides at Sandy Lane.
OVER 51: WI 190/6 (Dowrich 45* Holder 49*)
Anderson and Stokes have been bowled into the ground so Root is reduced to Moeen, Rashid and Curran. Or himself. Moeen continues and restricts Holder to a single. It’s turning.
OVER 50: WI 189/6 (Dowrich 45* Holder 48*)
Jason Holder is 6ft 7½in so what on earth possesses 78mph 5ft 8in Sam Curran to bang one in short is beyond reason. Holder rocks back and pulls it contemptuously in front of square for four. He follows that with a fuller delivery that Holder prods through point for a single. Dowrich belts four through cover off a juicy half volley. If England were not demoralised already, they are now. That’s drinks. WI lead by 401
OVER 49: WI 178/6 (Dowrich 41* Holder 43*)
Holder posts the fifty partnership by taking a big stride towards Moeen and lacing a cover drive to the boundary for four. Next ball he does exactly the same, rinsing it through the covers. A variation from batsman if not bowler next as he lofts it over mid-off for four more. Pedal to the metal.
OVER 48: WI 166/6 (Dowrich 40* Holder 31*)
Curran begins, peaking at 78mph, round the wicket to the right handers. Fairly tight line and he concedes merely a single, Dowrich using the slant to guide it off his toes. WI lead is 378
OVER 47: WI 165/6 (Dowrich 39* Holder 31*)
Female face in the crowd time, an habitual Tony Greig-era TV director trope. Beats BT Sport at the Ashes and their obsession with supporters’ flags but it feels a bit too Channel 9 1983 for Sky in 2019. Anderson strays on to Holder’s pads and the West Indies skipper flicks it fine off his toes for four. Anderson has had his fill and leaves the field at the end of the over. “A little bit tired, a little bit grumpy,” says Nasser Hussain. Well, quite. Time for the irregulars to win their medals – Curran is coming on for Stokes so we will have a double change.
OVER 46: WI 160/6 (Dowrich 38* Holder 27*)
After a delay to deal with the glare reflecting off the gloss-coated advertising hoardings, Stokes resumes with five dot balls but as the over continues he edges further over to leg stump and Holder, having had a sighter, tickles the last ball down to fine leg for four.
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OVER 45: WI 156/6 (Dowrich 38* Holder 23*)
Holder digs out Anderson’s virtual yorker, falling over to the onside, and squirting it down to long leg for a single. Can he exploit that overbalancing with a big inswinger? Dowrich plays a more orthodox shot, opening the face and gliding a drive square of third man but behind point for four. WI lead by 368
OVER 44: WI 151/6 (Dowrich 34* Holder 22*)
Stokes oversteps for the second time this morning and persists with a back of a length approach. The pitch is not helping today and the batsmen tuck singles off their hips. When he ends the over with successive outswinging good length balls Dowrich is beaten, nibbling at the ball as it sears away from his edge. One more over for Anderson and then it looks as though Joe Root will switch to spin.
How can England remove Shane Dowrich? Bowling the quicks is a good start, he averages 40 against spin but just 20 against pace. The pacemen should target a traditional ‘good’ length where he averages just 9.50 compared to 20 against balls fuller or shorter than that. #WIvENG
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) January 25, 2019
OVER 43: WI 146/6 (Dowrich 32* Holder 20*)
Anderson lays the trap for Holder with outswingers that are swinging early from the hand. Holder plays watchfully, wary of the inswinger that is bound to come. When it does, Anderson goes wide on the crease but it doesn’t arrow in as much as wanted and Holder uses the length to thwack it through cover for four. WI lead by 358
OVER 42: WI 142/6 (Dowrich 32* Holder 16*)
Stokes has Dowrich to bowl at for the first time for a while and recommences his chin symphony tactic. Dowrich knows it’s coming and is already transferring his weight on to his back foot which allows him to get on top of the ball and pull it safely through square leg for a single. Stokes ends the over with purler that angles in on a good length, leaps and whistles past Dowrich’s edge, squaring him up and enticing the batsman’s hands to have a fiddle at it.
OVER 41: WI 140/6 (Dowrich 31* Holder 15*)
Schwing! for Anderson but it’s gentle and Holder opens the face to drive crisply through point. Bairstow makes a valiant effort to stop it with a dive to his right but it scuttles under him and races to the fence. Daren Ganga, the co-commentator, is distinctly unimpressed with Anderson’s field. They need wickets and he has his usual single-savers on the drive. WI lead by 352
OVER 40: WI 136/6 (Dowrich 31* Holder 11*)
Stokes has shaken the stiffness now and is bounding in, probing away with a threatening line, angling in to the right-hander and straightening. Holder pulls his bat inside the line of one, tips another into the covers for a single and is genuine surprised by the pace and bounce of one he intends to tuck through square leg but instead flies off a leading edge towards point and plunges to earth short of the fielder.
OVER 39: WI 133/6 (Dowrich 30* Holder 9*)
Anderson imposes Maiden Law on Dowrich, helped by a sharp stop at cover. The keeper-batsman has a well-grooved forward defensive now, playing it nicely three times in the over.
OVER 38: WI 133/6 (Dowrich 30* Holder 9*)
Root asks Stokes to share the burden and he begins stiffly with a floaty one across Dowrich. Foakes saves byes with a full-length dive. Slowly he builds up his speed from 75mph to 77mph and he continues to bang it in. Dowrich gets away off a no ball by going on to his toes and tucking it round the corner. Three balls from wide of the crease, each quicker than the last, zip past Holder’s bat as he holds his line.
With day three set to begin in 20 minutes WinViz considers the Windies – with a lead of 339 runs, to be 95% favourites to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Only one team has ever scored more than 339 in the fourth innings at the Kensington Oval: WI 387 v Australia in 2008. #WIvENG
— The Cricket Prof. (@CricProf) January 25, 2019
OVER 37: WI 131/6 (Dowrich 29* Holder 9*)
We begin with a discernible breeze billowing the players’ shirts. Jimmy Anderson will take the first over to Jason Holder who defends it to point and runs a single because the fielder at 270 degrees has been put on the rope even though England need to bowl West Indies out. Dowrich tucks a single off his hip to long leg and Holder makes it a run-a-ball off the first three with a flick from middle behind square. Dowrich opens the face on a push to take a single wide of gully and then Anderson puts his first dots of the day in the scorebook. Four off the over. WI lead by 343.
To the third and final day’s play of the first Test. At the risk of premature adjudication, barring an innings of Mark Butcher Headingley 2001 proportions, it’s very unlikely that England will get out of this scrape against such a high-quality fast bowling attack with their dignity intact and not behind. England’s bowling has been adequate but the selection error – picking Curran or Rashid instead of Broad – has left Ben Stokes with too much to shoulder which will probably mean he will be footsore and cranky when he comes into bat at No5. He has the talent to bat as high as five but not if he’s having to perform the role of England’s quickest and most intimidating bowler in 11-over spells,
As for the batting – only Jennings, Moeen and Rashid could be held mainly responsible for their wickets but there is a bigger truth than England’s top order being blown away so consistently even against a fine attack on a two-paced pitch. England have made 400 or more in their first innings only four times in their last 25 Tests and not at all since the MCG. Change the personnel, change the instructions, change the captain, change the attitude and it persists. England are an exciting team but they are incapable of being a persistently dominant one until they sort out the top order. You don’t always have to pick the best players, you need to pick the best team.
Anyway, they’ve given us many thrilling moments over the past seven years, it’s not impossible that they do something brilliant – peanuts in the face, interesting, surprise, wasn’t expecting that etc
DAY THREE PREVIEW: Can England avoid humiliation?
Hello and welcome to day three in Barbados where England have a mountain to climb to save this Test having been bowled out for a pathetic 77 yesterday.
After the day’s play on Thursday, Moeen Ali admitted England’s players sensed they were on the way to a major collapse as soon as Kemar Roach worked up a head of steam.
West Indian quick Roach conjured a sensational spell of fast bowling, taking five for 17 as the tourists were rolled over for under 80.
Play will resume today with England 339 behind, on course for a potential three-day defeat despite a fightback with the ball leaving the hosts 127 for six.
England’s score was the lowest-ever Test innings at the famous Kensington Oval, instantly calling to mind the previous Caribbean calamities in Trinidad, where they made 46 in 1994, and Jamaica when they were skittled for 51 a decade ago.
The current crop are no strangers to collapsing either, most recently rolled over for 58 in Auckland last March.
Roach deserved endless credit for his inspired performance on home soil, while Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph and Shannon Gabriel offered faultless support, combining to create a crushing feeling of inevitability that unsettled the tourists.
Moeen, who top-edged Roach to fine-leg for a golden duck, said: “It’s difficult to stop guys who are bowling well with their tail up.
“Sometimes in the changing room you know what is going to happen… that they have the momentum.
“You try and go in and stop that, either by taking the momentum away from them or by grinding it out, but there are times when you will just get bowled out for not many. Every team does.
“I feel over the last few years it’s happened often where we’ve lost wickets at the top but previously we’ve been able to get a score.”
Can England turn this game on its head or will it be another day of humiliation? Giles Mole
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