England vs West Indies: First Test, Day 1

In the lead up to today, most of the discussion has been about anything but the actual game. Will spectators and TV audience enjoy a day/night game in England? How will the pink Dukes ball perform? Which players will secure their place for the Ashes? The result appeared to be foregone, even West Indies fans seemed to have given up before a ball was bowled.

At the toss it was confirmed that Roland-Jones would keep his place in the team, with Mason Crane and Chris Woakes missing out. Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat first, which came as no surprise to anyone. Certainly it feels like the bowlers appreciated the chance to see how the new pink balls performed from the pavilion rather than working it out on the field.

The conventional wisdom about pink cricket balls is that they tend to move in the air for a few overs, then become more batsman-friendly after that. All England’s top order had to do was survive the first hour and then they could cash in through the day. To no one’s surprise, this was not how things played out. Alastair Cook’s latest partner, debutant Mark Stoneman, was bowled through the gate in the third over. It was a very good delivery from Kemar Roach which both swung and seamed, but at the same time you’d probably hope that an opener would at least get something on the ball. Westley returned to the dressing room soon after, having being given out LBW via DRS after playing down the wrong line.

This brought together the familiar partnership of Alastair Cook and Joe Root, both of whom have had difficulties converting their good innings into centuries but are still a class apart from the other English batsmen at present. Helped by slow, wayward bowling and flawed, defensive tactics from the West Indies, Cook and Root dominated the visitors past the Lunch interval and through the whole second session. It wasn’t until almost an hour into the third session of the day that the West Indies managed a breakthrough, with Kemar Roach managing to bowl Joe Root, but not before England’s captain and former captain both managed to score their respective deserved centuries. For those keeping count (you know who you are), that means that Cook has scored 100+ ‘only’ 6 times in his last 99 innings. This is more than his respective partners, but still a marked decline from his prolific earlier years. It has also been noted that Cook has struggled against strong pace attacks in recent years, and the West Indies bowling unit is definitely not a strong pace attack.

Root’s wicket brought the third of England’s auditioning batsmen to the crease, Dawid Malan. He rode his luck early on, flashing an edge from Kraigg Brathwaite just past slip, but recovered to finish the day on 28. Having reach double digits, Malan will probably feel better than Stoneman or Westley overnight about his chances of playing the whole series. At the other end, Cook had managed to bat through the whole day scoring a somewhat impressive 153. At the end of play England are 348/3, and seem to be in a great position to put the West Indies out of contention.

As always, feel free to comment below!

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36 thoughts on “England vs West Indies: First Test, Day 1

  1. Mark August 17, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    If Cook doesn’t beat Brian Laras score tomorrow then frankly I don’t think he’s as good as the Muppets in the peanut gallery would have you believe.

    Michael Holding looks embarrassed to even have to watch this nonsense. He sits in the studio while Dave Cameron runs WI cricket into the ground.

    Like

  2. thelegglance August 17, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    Stupid me had hopes the pink ball might make it more even. Stupid, stupid me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket August 17, 2017 / 9:06 pm

      This could be the case, of course. The pink ball could negate England’s attack (although it’s hard to believe their bowling will be anywhere near as loose ast the Windies) allowing the West Indies to bat out three days.

      Like

    • Mark August 17, 2017 / 9:08 pm

      Not much chance of that when the WI are bowling spin in the dark under lights when a new ball is available.

      This was under 14s stuff.

      Like

    • jomesy August 17, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      Me too.

      But I also wondered whether the bookies have got to WI?

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus August 18, 2017 / 6:29 am

      Could not have put it better. Watching that farce last night had me thinking that if deadly dull cricket against an emaciated West Indies test team with a pink ball under lights is the future then maybe it’s not for me.

      Horrible. The product on the field was lamentable. Truly woeful. One wonders if Ireland or Afghanistan could be worse. Growing up with the team of my youth, the mighty teams from the Caribbean, makes this more painful.

      Fear for the test game.

      Liked by 1 person

      • stephenfh August 18, 2017 / 11:51 am

        A dull watch certainly, so switched over to the T20 game which was entertaining.

        Like

        • Benny August 18, 2017 / 12:45 pm

          Same here

          Like

  3. Sean B August 17, 2017 / 9:10 pm

    50 not out against the Aussies and Saffers. Decent ton from Cook, but from what I’ve read the Windies attack is junk as expected….

    Like

  4. Mark August 17, 2017 / 9:13 pm

    And now the real verdict!

    Like

  5. "IronBalls" McGinty August 17, 2017 / 9:13 pm

    Yaaaawn! Sorry, this ain’t for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. oreston August 17, 2017 / 11:51 pm

    The only slight downer for England was Stoneman (aka Revolving Door Opener #12) and Westley failing against the (ahem) might of the Windies bowling attack. On a personal level I hope they each cash in at some stage this series… not that it would mean anything for their prospects Down Under. And therein lies the utter stupidy of this series: it’s unlikely to provide the spectacle of keenly competitive, closely fought quality test cricket and means bugger all.
    That it should come to this is a tragedy and (like so many things in early 21st century life) something I would never have seen coming 20 years ago. Yes, it was obvious then that the Windies were in decline – but then (with Australia in the ascendency) it just seemed like the end of a natural cycle, which all great teams experience, rather than the outlier for some crazy death spiral in Carribean First Class cricket. But then it was their Board and the ICC who cultivated the conditions to turn a mere generational shift into the unravelling of the game across a region with such a proud legacy. To be honest, I never used to mind when England got periodically marmalised by Peak Windies from the mid-Seventies onwards. You just had to put your hand up, acknowledge their brilliance and admire the spectacle and incredible performances. It was fantastic that you had guys like Sir Viv and Joel Garner playing for English counties too.
    I really hope that, sometime this series, they manage to compete. The incident where Stuart Law had to send a message on field to “remind” the players to take the new ball under floodlights does not inspire confidence. Even with the new ball taken, when Cook and Malan should have been enduring a relentless assault (with a designated nightwatchman quaking in his pads in the England dressing room) I believe they put the spinner back on for the final over of the day. They obvously haven’t studied the South Africa series, where Morris bounced out Cook. He’s far from impregnable when entertained with a little chin music. So now he’s got as many centuries against the Windies as Allan Lamb. Whoopie fucking doo! Put him in a Tardis, send him back to the mid-Eighties and see how his average fairs…
    I think I started this comment wanting to say something fairly specific but seem to have rambled. I think it was that the only thing that’s likely to retain any level of interest in this series on my part is a perverse (and probably unhealthy) need to set it in an historical context and see just how dispiriting it becomes. I should probably seek professional help…

    Like

  7. Zephirine August 17, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    Cook doing what he does best… There was talk on TMS about how he’s been working on getting his head forward and what a good idea that is and how much better he’s batting. Perhaps he’s been watching those KP masterclasses.

    Coot and Rook. I was trying to think up a good bird joke, but failed.

    Like

    • quebecer August 18, 2017 / 12:46 am

      Hey Zeph. Cook has always had to work on that weight transference as he has a natural tendency to lean a little back. When times have been rough for him it’s always been that balance point failing to get past his hips as he gets forward that’s been his problem – and why you can tell when he’d batting well as he manages to get to the pitch of the ball and actually drive a few through the offside. I think the head movement to the ball is just another way of conceptualizing doing this. The thing to remember about KP though, is that as a tall batsman, he needs to stick his backside out a bit to get low enough in his eye line. If you think of batsmen like Sachin or even Punter, their stature meant they should stand reasonably straight, but if you’re 6’2 or more, you need to have your bum sticking out a bit. This then mens it is crucial to get your head going to the ball in the right line as it won’t happen so easily if you lead with the front foot, hence Pietersen’s key point for his own technique. In AB De Villiers’ masterclass, it was different and all about getting the body set in the right position to be able to hit the ball in his body position zone, rather than away for it. Cook is more of Pietersen’s height, so it make sense for him too, I guess.

      Like

      • Zephirine August 18, 2017 / 9:58 am

        Aha, thanks q.

        Like

      • AB August 18, 2017 / 3:55 pm

        He’s very left-footed – even when he plays forward, its off his back foot. Steve Waugh was the same.

        Ironically, Pietersen was also very left-footed. But his left foot was his front foot.

        Like

    • Grenville August 18, 2017 / 12:02 pm

      I still think that Cook has become a bit of a flat track bully, but that’s because I hate him (sorry Alistair). I think that you point out he’s had a bit of a bad back. I suspect that one of the reasons why he is back in form is that he has had adequate rest from cricket this year. I imagine that he is not carrying as many niggles. If that’s right, it makes you worry for the three format players.

      Like

      • Grenville August 18, 2017 / 12:03 pm

        *pointed out

        Like

      • Mark August 18, 2017 / 1:19 pm

        I suspect the reason he is back in form is the opposition isn’t very good.

        He made a good innings against SA in the second test match to help set up the game, but didn’t do much else. Certainly nothing that deserves all the hype.

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        • d'Arthez August 18, 2017 / 1:24 pm

          Dawid Malan has made more runs this innings than he managed in four innings against South Africa. 18 more balls and this innings is lasting longer than he managed in four innings against South Africa combined.

          Are there people out there pretending this is a West Indian attack?

          Liked by 1 person

          • alecpaton August 18, 2017 / 3:05 pm

            It’s not a bowling attack, it’s a bowling charity drive

            Like

        • pktroll (@pktroll) August 18, 2017 / 1:35 pm

          As I’ve said, Ryan Harris and co had clearly done their homework on him 4 years ago and that disciplined bowling can home in on a 4th/5th stump corridor on a full length and he soon goes out of kilter. Windies bowling maps look mightily unimpressive.

          Like

        • d'Arthez August 18, 2017 / 1:57 pm

          Just 93 more runs needed for Cook now, and he’ll have scored as many runs in one innings against this quality attack, as he managed in 8 innings against South Africa.

          But apparently, Alzari Joseph is as good (if not better!) as Ambrose, Garner, Holding, Patterson, Walsh and a few dozen others …

          Liked by 1 person

  8. d'Arthez August 18, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    Guess I’ll have to revise my optimistic prediction of an innings and 200 runs. An innings and 350 runs may be the better bet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez August 18, 2017 / 4:56 pm

      That prediction won’t hold. The lower order did not contribute as much as anticipated.

      And poor Cook. Fell just 25 runs short from equalling his series haul against South Africa.

      Still I’d be surprised if this even lasts well into Day 4.

      Like

  9. d'Arthez August 18, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    Question: is Dawid Malan, Adam Voges redux?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. AB August 18, 2017 / 3:59 pm

    Scoring a bullying double-ton against this club team is just so very, very predictably Cook, isn’t it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol August 18, 2017 / 4:02 pm

      I think it was the most inevitable event in sport this summer. I would not even have opened a book on no hundred v SA and a massive cash-in v WI.

      Like

      • d'Arthez August 18, 2017 / 4:15 pm

        Not entirely inevitable. They could have dropped Cook to three, and he might not even have had a bat against West Indies all series.

        Not sure which is more shoddy: their bowling or their fielding.

        Like

    • Grenville August 18, 2017 / 4:17 pm

      You still have to score ’em. I am not sure why I feel the need to leap to Cook’s defence. I guess I think that a double hundred is impressive, even on a flat track against a mediocre team.I also think that annoyingly the Bastard is back in form. He is a good player much as it pains me to admit it.

      Like

      • d'Arthez August 18, 2017 / 4:22 pm

        Well, if you’re undroppable these series come by every now and then. If you’re say Jennings or Carberry, you never get the chance to cash in …

        Like

        • Mark August 18, 2017 / 4:48 pm

          Yes, all those who played in the Indian and SA series, and were then dropped must be watching on with envy.

          As for me, I’m watching the Solheim cup.

          Like

      • Mark August 18, 2017 / 4:46 pm

        In many ways it’s not Cook, but his idiot fawning followers that are the problem. As you say he has to get the runs, and good luck to him. But it’s the media’s constant attempt to turn him into superman that means so many people refuse to take him seriously.

        He scored a good 80 odd against SA. He played well, but the media had to turn it into something far bigger than it was. He has been ill served by a media that have tried to turn him into a weird cult, and that puts a lot of people off.

        They should have just let him play.

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus August 18, 2017 / 4:48 pm

        Indeed Grenville. I’m not a fan. You know that. But to criticise a 240+ would look silly. You know. Like making 355* against Leicestershire. When no other Surrey player reached 40.

        Can’t help stupidity from those throwing rocks. Imagine thinking this blog is only about hating Cook?

        Like

        • Mark August 18, 2017 / 4:51 pm

          But the 355 was only second division runs!!!

          Wtf are these?

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus August 18, 2017 / 5:07 pm

            I love my critics. Facts are so inconvenient.

            Like

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