West Indies vs England: 2nd Test, Day One Blog

As most of you know, I’m at the Test this week, so will do a live blog for at least today and then see how it goes. Much depends on the quality of the mobile signal and if I can steal a WiFi password if it’s poor. Oh and it’s not the BBC. You’ll need to hit refresh.

First up, the weather this morning. On my side of the island at least it’s cloudy and showery but nothing to worry about. Everyone in this hotel is going to the cricket, so breakfast is done and heading over to the ground now.

Joe Denly is due to make his debut today, and here I have to confess I have a real problem with him playing. It’s not that he’s done a thing wrong, it’s not that I don’t like him as a player. It’s that I remember playing against his Dad Nick and seeing Joe playing cricket on the boundary as a kid. Dear God.

0821: Pissing down at present.

0926: Finally got into the ground. I knew it was a bit isolated, but it really is in the middle of nowhere. It’s like holding a Test match in the middle of Dartmoor or something. You’ll never complain about the Rosebowl again. The contrast with the ARG – basically at the end of the High Street in St John’s is stark.

Still, it’s an attractive ground alright, it’s just that it robs any chance of casual local spectators and that’s a real shame.

The weather has improved somewhat though.

0930: second bit of good news. By getting the cheapest tickets around, we appear to be by all the bars. Result!

0938: oh England are batting. Right you are. On the plus side, this could be exciting. Brief, but exciting. Nah, my bet is they’ll do ok this time around.

0954: Delighted to announce that some Brits stood for the national anthem and the rest resolutely stayed seated. Fantastically, contrarily British. I’ll leave you to guess which was me.

1010: Unsurprising, I know, but the crowd is almost entirely English. It’s a work day of course, and anecdotally quite a few Antiguans say they’re planning on coming in the afternoon. Hopefully they do.

Panoramic view of the ground:

1027: Be nice if they would actually show the review for those of us at the ground.

1049: This is going well. Again.

1102: Was told to post at drinks, so I will.

1112: This chap is providing plenty of entertainment taking the piss out of the England team. How good his local tours are, I’ve no idea – but I do admire clever marketing.

1121: Aside from that one going through the top and exploding off a length (best of luck out there, batsmen), the most entertaining thing so far is meeting an American chap called Dan. He’s here on his honeymoon having fallen in love with cricket. He told his new wife there was a Test match on this morning. Apparently she’s ok now she’s had some beer and rum.

1140: Dan’s new wife must think these things called wickets happen every few minutes.

1156: Ben Stokes has the best technique of any England batsman. Discuss.

1203: Lunch the lobster smells amazing.

1215: The lunchtime PA blasting out Earth, Wind and Fire is a lot more fun than Lords. And it’s not even September.

1255: No luck on the Dan front yet by the way. Stokes and Moeen at the crease could be fun. And saying that, you just know what’s going to happen next…

1304: Told ya.

1344: Drinks, and a pretty low key last 40 minutes or so. Probably not such a bad thing for England, but that was very nearly like Test cricket. Remember that?

1423: Pretty decent recovery stand between Foakes and (especially) Moeen. Hard to know what a decent total here is, though England are some way short at present of what you’d think was.

1427: In any potential list of things unlikely to garner too much sympathy, having to move in order to get out of the sun and into the shade is probably fairly high. But it is extremely hot, and one rather nice thing about this ground is a complete absence of anyone greatly caring where you wander to.

Which means I can give a nice new view of the ground:

1439: Just for Trevor

1441: And that’s tea. Something of a recovery, though given there are 39 over yet to be bowled in the final session, we’re going to be very, very short.

Moeen though. Enigmatic doesn’t begin to cover it with him, he fails repeatedly, but when he’s good there are very few better players to watch.

1520: not sure if that stopped on him or if it was just a poor shot. Either way, the end is probably nigh. So here’s some video, which won’t turn up the right way. Sigh.

1539: Is it bad to be really, really looking forward to watching Stuart Broad bat on this?

1553: this could be a very interesting last couple of hours or so, just to see if England get anything out of the pitch or not. If not, this could get very painful.

1623: Concerning the above, there are definite twinges.

1643: This has not been the most threatening of opening spells from these two. And it’s mostly being played on the back foot.

1703: Innocuous stuff really.

1741: The West Indies batted really well in that final session, and while England might claim that they didn’t have much luck, nor did they really create much in the way of chances. Unless they have a great morning tomorrow they’ll again be in serious trouble. But that is for then.

From a spectator perspective, the isolation of the ground is a problem, but the experience when there is simply delightful. No one particularly cares where you wander, meaning the ground is there to explore and get different perspectives. The food stalls are individual, cheap and put the horrific money pits at English grounds to shame.

It’s now back to the hotel, relax, have dinner and do it all again in the morning. See you then.

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