Preamble: After being chivvied by Trevor in the comments for being late on parade, I’ve now had coffee and arrived at my spot in the ground. Square of the wicket in the Mound area by the way, though wandering around is permitted which is wonderful.
Stuart Broad said England need a batting hero today, and he’s probably right about that, but first up is the small matter of taking the last four wickets before the already significant deficit becomes a chasm. The possibility that this is the final day of the Test does loom large, for if England don’t bat extremely well later, this Test and this series is done.
For later on, these are the kinds of decisions that are more important though:
The crowd appears to have thinned again today, albeit hopefully more locals will be in given its a weekend and their team is (to be blunt) winning.
0910: Weather report, the skies are mostly clear, with a few fluffy clouds. No rain this morning at all so far.
0920: Desperate news from the West Indies camp that Alzarri Joseph’s mother passed away this morning. Nothing more to be said, dreadful.
0922: I think what I like about this ground, and presumably the others in the region, is that it’s a no shits given kind of venue. Do whatever you like, no one is bothered what you are doing or where. It’s so refreshing.
0930: Wise words from Chris Tremlett
0936: England still playing football in the warm up.
It amazes me so much gets written about this. It’s a relaxing way to get loose, and injuries can happen whatever they do. And they do as well. Not a thing wrong with it, when exercising, muscles can ping, ankles can be turned. Scrapping football won’t change that.
0949: view from the other side of the ground. Nothing to do with going to get another coffee.
0958: Out come the teams:
PS, the decent photographer on these pages is Dmitri. Me? I take as many as possible on the phone and pick the one that’s vaguely acceptable. My total lack of interest puzzles him.
1050: That nasty blow for Bravo is a sign of things to come for England. As was the Holder wicket. As the lead stretches, and with England needing to score a minimum of 250 to have any kind of realistic chance, this Test looks to be going only one way.
1057: Alzarri Joseph got a wonderful reception from the crowd as he walked out. But the PA isn’t very clear here, so most around me didn’t know and were asking why people were standing and applauding.
1119: It’s probably gone as well as it could have for England this morning. The real business of seeing how England bat is to come.
1134: That is a big lead on this.
1204: Being conditioned to expect the worst is a terrible thing. But getting to lunch without losing a wicket is mildly surprising all in all. Seeing England duck and weave though is a fantastic reminder of how Test cricket was at times in the past, before pitches became placid, slow and uniform, existing only to break the hearts of fast bowlers. So it’s a bit uneven. So what?
1244: I actually hate it when the press publish photos of their lunches that are provided for them, but since I queued and paid for this, I’ll mention the goat curry was excellent.
1258: Fancy an opener playing a risky pull shot in a crisis situation. Would never have happened a few years ago.
1322: It looked a terrible shot live. It looked worse on replay from Burns. A late cut (of sorts) straight to the slips is, well, brave.
1342: Still 52 overs scheduled today. So England should be significantly ahead assuming they’re still in by the close. One way or another, we’ll be a fair way to knowing the outcome.
1348: that’s another ridiculously ambitious shot. Bairstow said in the first innings that he didn’t feel ever in, hence attacking everything. Seems the second innings was to be the same.
1410: Don’t worry, they’ll learn from this. It’s just an aberration, right?
The atmosphere in the ground is great now though, the locals are climbing into this England team with relish and gusto. Who can blame them?
1419: this is shambolic. Again.
1420: Alzarri Joseph being the catalyst for it though, that’s pretty special.
1425: Just a brilliant atmosphere. Though just heard the England fans next to me say “bollocks to going to South Africa to watch this shit”.
Oh England are winning the rugby at least.
1432: Meet Michael, who has provided plenty of entertainment to the crowd all around the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. He’s currently offering all the sad England fans a free flight home tonight and not to cry too much.
1441: Dominant session from the West Indies. And every chance they’ll wrap up the series after tea.
1450: My legs are burning. I await your sympathy.
1521: England are playing a positive, exciting brand of cricket, remember. Are you not entertained?
1530: Six down, four of them bowled. This aiming at the stumps lark is clearly overrated.
1543: Just to emphasise that no one cares what you do in this ground, there’s an enormous reefer being passed around just to my left. Lord’s next.
1556: Ironic cheers all round as England make the West Indies bat again. What a hiding this is.
1559: Seven wickets this innings have been bowled or lbw. England did that once when they bowled.
1610: “The England teams are very clear that part of their responsibility in playing this bold and brave cricket – this commitment to playing an exciting formula of cricket every time they go on the park – is linked to this.” – Tom Harrison.
That’s alright then.
1614: So. Beach tomorrow then.
1628: Just trying to get a few different photos of the finish, I’ll then pop them up with a few words. It’s not like anyone is on tenterhooks about the outcome!
1633: West Indies sneak it, in the end.
1641: On my way out of the ground now. Some photos and some video of the winning runs…edit: why the hell this is upside down is beyond me.
And a last farewell to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium:
Two Tests played, two thumping victories for the home team. And my goodness did they deserve it. They outbatted and outbowled England by a distance, pretty much from start to finish. England have made a point when they lose matches of saying they haven’t executed their skills or some such guff. It’s nonsense, they’ve just been outplayed by a better team in these conditions.
The inability of the England team to graft and show fight is quite striking. Rabbits in the headlights when faced with the revolutionary tactic of a team bowling straight at them. It was a pleasure to witness the West Indies play, and to see the amazed pleasure of the locals who have watched their team struggle for too many years. And if a sporting success can bring a small crumb of comfort to a young man in distress, so be that too.
But some of the English media appear to be in disbelief that such a thing could happen, so convinced by the ECB mantra that all is going swimmingly that rational analysis has gone by the wayside. England are brittle they have been for some years. Doesn’t mean they can’t win, doesn’t mean they won’t win. But faced with challenging circumstances, they wilt more often than not and appear to struggle to cope with needing to change their method. That a player as free scoring as Darren Bravo gave them a lesson in Test match batting ought to ring alarm bells. But alas of course, it will not.
Have a good rest of the evening folks, been a pleasure to share the Test with you. TLG.