England vs. West Indies, 3rd Test Day 1

In the lead up to this game, the momentum (if you believe in such things) had clearly swung decisively towards the West Indies. The Caribbean team were resurgent, inevitably heading towards a series win in England for the first time in 29 years. England were broken and reeling, both mediocre and at a low ebb. Most of the talk seemed to be about Anderson needing 3 wickets to reach 500 in his Test career. The day before, England captain Joe Root announced that Toby Roland Jones would replace an unfit Chris Woakes whilst the West Indies unsurprisingly named an unchanged side.

The morning began with the West Indies claiming the initial advantage by winning the toss. This summer, the team which won the toss has also gone on to win the game in 5 out of 6 opportunities. The only exception was the previous game, where good batting conditions and a sub-par first innings England batting performance conspired to allow the West Indies back into the game.

If it was meant to be a massive advantage to the West Indies, it certainly didn’t seem like one. The constant threat of rain and swinging conditions left the batsmen struggling to survive through most of the day. Cook dropped a slip chance early on, which might be the start of a worrying pattern for England if you consider his two drops at Headingley. Brathwaite and Kyle Hope both edged deliveries from Jimmy Anderson to the wicketkeeper either side of a rain break in the morning session, taking Anderson to the tantalising career total of 499 wickets.

After Lunch, the West Indies regrouped somewhat with Kieran Powell and Shai Hope sharing a partnership of 56 runs, until Shai Hope edged one from Toby Roland-Jones. What followed this dismissal was a remarkable display of bowling from Ben Stokes, or quite possibly a terrible display of batting from the remaining West Indies batsmen. From 78-3, they lost 7 wickets for a total of 45 runs. Stokes meanwhile claimed his best ever figures of 6-22.

Stokes’ first of the day was a sharp return catch from Kieran Powell, which removed the set batsmen from the middle. He also managed to bowl Chase with a beautiful delivery and induced an edge from Dowrich before Tea gave the visiting batsmen a brief respite. But unfortunately for the tourists, Stokes picked up where he left off after the break. Holder and Gabriel were both bowled by deliveries which hooped in from wide outside their off stumps, whilst Roach edged a good ball to Anderson. The innings ended with the West Indies standing on 123 all out, and England rampant.

Whilst in some ways the pressure was off England with such a small total to overcome, the conditions still favoured the bowlers and at least three batsmen were playing for their place. Stoneman didn’t do his case any good, edging a short and wide delivery from Kemar Roach after only scoring 1 run. Roach managed to get Cook the same way a few overs later, albeit from a much better delivery that Stoneman’s. Westley missed a straight ball from Holder and ended up being given out LBW, although Hawkeye suggested is was barely going to clip the stumps.

Root followed soon after with a dismissal bearing some similarity to Stoneman’s, edging a short and wide ball to the wicketkeeper. It was an unnecessary shot in the situation, his departure leaving England on the precipice at 24/4. Stokes and Malan managed to bat out the next five overs, at which point the umpires called it a day due to bad light.

So the day ends with the game still very much in the balance. What seemed like a catastrophic decision to bat first by the West Indies might turn out to be a tactical masterstroke. Stokes’ 6-22 lowered his career Test bowling average significantly, where he’s getting closer to the point of justifying his selection as a bowler alone. Stoneman and Westley both hurt their chances of playing in the Ashes this winter, but Malan has a great opportunity on his home ground to impress the selectors. Given both team’s fragility and moments of brilliance in this series, it would be a brave man to predict what will happen tomorrow.

As always, please comment below.


29 thoughts on “England vs. West Indies, 3rd Test Day 1

  1. Silk Sep 7, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    Tomorrow it will rain.

    To win this game (or at least, not lose it) the West Indies need to restrict England to 200 or fewer, and bat really well 2nd dig. I reckon England would confidently chase 250 (Bishoo unlikely to run through them!) so Windies are going to need a big score 2nd dig.

    Saturday looks like the best day for batting. Which suggests to me the weather tomorrow is important. If England end up facing say, 30 overs, in the gloom, they’ll (probably) lose wickets. I suspect they’d rather tomorrow was entirely rained off, with sunshine on Saturday giving Stokes, Malan, Bairstow and Ali (and TRJ, of course!) a chance to bat them into a winning position.

    Stokes really looks like the saviour of English cricket right now. Batting and bowling, he’s a game changer.


    • dannycricket Sep 7, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Fun fact: Toby Roland-Jones’ batting average is more than Stoneman & Westley. If Malan gets out tomorrow without scoring any more, TRJ will be ahead of him too. I’m not saying he should be opening the batting. The statistics are saying that, and I’m just repeating them.


      • thelegglance Sep 8, 2017 / 12:32 pm

        Chris Woakes has a higher first class average than either of them I believe.


  2. jomesy Sep 7, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    Cook dropped a slip chance early on, which might be the start of a worrying pattern for England if you consider his two drops at Headingley.

    Heart broken


    • dannycricket Sep 7, 2017 / 9:57 pm

      Cook did catch two chances today, but editorial policy dictates that I can’t mention them.


      • thelegglance Sep 8, 2017 / 12:46 pm

        Note for all aspiring trolls: there isn’t any such one.


        • dannycricket Sep 8, 2017 / 3:56 pm

          Note for all trolls: Our editorial policy is also for editors to deny this policy exists.


          • jomesy Sep 8, 2017 / 7:07 pm

            Or for conflicting reports on editorial stance? 😉


  3. Mark Sep 7, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    123 all out plays 46/4. Is this a 20/20 game?

    Sweet Caroline
    Good times never seemed so good
    I’d be inclined
    To reach for my remote control.


  4. KidVicious Sep 8, 2017 / 10:27 am

    I wouldn’t be too quick to criticise the batting of the West Indies. Yes a couple of the shots weren’t great, but you can often tell how difficult conditions are by the way the fielders behave. When the keeper and the slips are giggling every time a ball swings late past the bat, you know it’s not easy. In the first two tests, both Windies and England players got themselves out. Today, England bowled Windies out. It’s very easy to lament the state of the batting rather than fully compliment the quality of the bowling; Stokes in particular was brilliant. Worrying lack of form from Broad though, and these conditions won’t be replicated down under.

    Also feel sorry for Westley. It can’t be easy to be so obviously struggling in full view of everyone, but he is not in a good place. To me his mentality is wrong, and has become too timid. Commentators were saying he was missing out on good scoring opportunities because he was too passive. Test cricket is a mental challenge that may be beyond him. It may be too late to change him, but the Aussies will be ruthless and it could make for a very uncomfortable few months. Contrast with Malan; he may not have the level of technique to succeed long term but he seems to have the ability to grind though the tough points, so I think his place is secure. Jury’s still out on Stoneman for me, but we can’t replace another opener so soon, surely???

    Been a very pleasantly surprising series so far, credit to both sides (and the umpires who have allowed cricket to be played).


    • KidVicious Sep 8, 2017 / 10:29 am

      Also wanted to point out re my comment on the Windies – how many of these young batsman would ever have experienced conditions like those yesterday. Are there any more alien conditions for a player from the Caribbean? Shai Hope looks like a cracking young player mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. pktroll (@pktroll) Sep 8, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Can I point out that Windies seem to have exploited the issue of Root short of a length in the off stump corridor in this game? If they have done so, you can be sure that Australia have done so for quicker/harder surfaces.


    • man in a barrel Sep 8, 2017 / 12:10 pm

      We really have big problems in the top order : Cook has made a grand total of 44 runs in his 3 innings since his mammoth effort in the 2nd Test. The return of Gabriel has stifled him and I’m sure the Aussies are watching Roache closely. I seem to be be more patient than Mark. Batting is difficult in these conditions. One of the finest matches I have ever seen had first innings of 138 and 95, all of 40 years ago, and it went to the wire. Quite a lot of top class batsmen were involved, too

      Liked by 1 person

      • Silk Sep 8, 2017 / 12:27 pm

        I agree. I can’t remember that one but I remember Nass eking out a marvellous ton on a greentop in NZ when everyone else, on both sides, did squat first dig. Then Thorpe got a double, some fat kid made a ton and Astle went berserk. Good match, that…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Silk Sep 8, 2017 / 12:27 pm

        I agree. I can’t remember that one but I remember Nass eking out a marvellous ton on a greentop in NZ when everyone else, on both sides, did squat first dig. Then Thorpe got a double, some fat kid made a ton and Astle went berserk. Good match, that…


  6. AB Sep 8, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    I dislike the concept of “momentum” almost as much as I dislike the idea of bowlers bowling at an “angle” either across or into batsman (it takes roughly 30 second of thought to realise that this is illogical bollocks, yet still commentators persist with it)

    Creativity is another awful concept, that tends to be used in football and rugby to mean “their attack is better than ours and we don’t understand how”


  7. nonoxcol Sep 8, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    According to Rob Smyth, Stuart Broad is “the greatest Ashes winner England have ever had.” This from someone with knowledge of, and proper respect for, Test history.



    • Mark Sep 8, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      Who’s Rob Smyth?


      • nonoxcol Sep 9, 2017 / 7:52 am

        Guardian OBO man and writer of some superb cricket (and football) articles over the years.

        Big stats man, so *perhaps* his argument is that Broad has three Ashes MOM awards that all came in the decisive Tests of three different winning series? Oval 09, Durham 13, TB 15?


        • SimonH Sep 9, 2017 / 9:51 am

          I’d argue Botham was decisive in four Ashes’ series wins (regardless of whether he was technically MOTM or not which is a highly dubious measure).

          Botham took five-fors in wins at TB and Headingley in 1977; 1981 speaks for itself; he took a five-for when half-fit at the MCG in ’86/87; 1985 is perhaps the stretch but I thought he bowled superbly in that series and contributed massively to that win.

          There’s always the question of the strength of the oppositon (not that the teams Botham beat were particularly great – he never beat Australia when both Greg Chappell and Lillee were playing) and the value of winning away. How many times more was the win in 2005 worth than beating the shambles of 2013?

          Broad’s MOTM performance in 2015 was at the Riverside, not TB, but you know that.


          • nonoxcol Sep 9, 2017 / 10:09 am

            2013 Riverside (11 wickets, finished off previously balanced chase); 2015 Trent Bridge (8-15).


          • SimonH Sep 9, 2017 / 10:27 am

            Of course, my muddle!

            Those 2013 ans 2015 are a bit of a blur.


  8. SimonH Sep 8, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    So, did anyone listen to Agnew interviewing Theresa May?

    Is there any evidence May is a genuine lifelong cricket fan as she apparently claimed?


    • thelegglance Sep 8, 2017 / 4:18 pm

      Weirdly enough, yes. She’s genuinely a cricket fan and has known Boycott for years, going to matches with him.


      • SimonH Sep 9, 2017 / 9:34 am

        Any ideas how she got to know Boycott?

        I’m not saying it isn’t genuine – it’s just that I can’t think of ever seeing any pictures of her at cricket (unlike, say, John Major or Kenneth Clarke).

        I guess the BBC see this as balancing up the coverage they gave Corbyn at Glastonbury. My only regret is that FICJAM didn’t do the questioning!


        • thelegglance Sep 9, 2017 / 9:38 am

          Boycott was her hero growing up. Her father was a big cricket fan and they would listen to TMS together. Then she got to know him when she became a politician – a meet your idol kind of thing. It is a bit surprising, I agree, but peculiarly enough, her love of cricket is entirely genuine.


          • SimonH Sep 9, 2017 / 12:53 pm

            Do you have any evidence for this, beyond her say so?

            My curiosity has been piqued and searching both the article and picture article archives of a certain well-known search engine I can’t find any picture of her at a cricket match prior to Lord’s last year, no picture of her with Boycott prior to this match and no article about her that mentions cricket prior to Lord’s last year.

            There was a lot of coverage when she appeared at Lord’s against Pakistan after becoming PM but before that there appears to be nothing. Sky aren’t exactly slow to put the camera on known figures in cricket crowds and I don’t remember her ever being shown (and she did hold one of the big three offices of state for five years before coming PM). There could be innocent explanations of all this – but there are also some accusations about some odd things in her past that she hasn’t been honest about and she is of course trying to reboot herself as more human and less robotic so there is a motive here.

            I’m not trying to party-point score because I know politicians of all parties have played games like this.


          • thelegglance Sep 9, 2017 / 12:55 pm

            It’s not that surprising though, is it? She’s always been low key and not really courted the cameras. I don’t think I would expect to see lots of coverage of it. But it was in her Who’s Who long before she became a senior minister.


          • SimonH Sep 9, 2017 / 4:50 pm

            You have old copies of ‘Who’s Who’ lying about?…..


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