England vs West Indies, 2nd Test, Day 2 – Application

Well ladies and gentlemen it certainly looks like we have a decent game on our hands, especially if tomorrow’s predicted rain holds off.

England managed a more than respectable 469-9 before they declared much to the chagrin of those that have missed Stuart Broad batting more than anything else, but on a slow wicket on which runs are hard to score, it was a refreshingly decent performance from most of our batsmen. The day belonged to both Dominic Sibley and to Ben Stokes who both converted hard earned starts into hundreds, indeed the latter looked like he might take the game away from the West Indies, when he decided to flick the switch. It has been a long while coming that an English batsman not named Ben Stokes knuckled down and scored a hundred in conditions that were not at all easy, yet somewhat predictably but still somewhat mystifyingly, there were a number of people queuing up to have a pop at Sibley for batting too slowly. It all smacks of ‘have your cake and eat it’. We’ve all been rightfully criticising the English batting line up for being too flaky and too aggressive, yet when an individual digs in and makes a century, albeit one of the slower ones in recent history, he is accused of ‘batting for his average’ or hampering England’s chances to win the game. It’s like people have forgotten the Jason Roy experiment last summer. Personally I’d be happy if Sibley plays like that every day if he continues to churn out big scores at the top of the order and sets a platform for our more fluent batters.

Stokes on the other hand has really become the talisman of our batting unit, who has the uncanny knack of knowing when to defend and when to attack. This coupled with the fact that he is skilful enough to be able to flick the switch between attack and defend means that he is an incredibly dangerous batsman to bowl at. The one thing I also really like about Stokes batting is that his set up is incredibly simple. There is no big trigger movement, no scratching around the crease, but instead on most occasions his bat comes down at a perfectly straight angle. I’m certainly no expert on batting (much like Simon Hughes, though I’ve decided not to release a book) being a bowler when I still played the game, but I just don’t see him suffer the same sort of technical issues that many in this team still have. If only batting was as easy as Stokes makes it look at times, though his reverse paddle to get himself out is something I can relate to, except that we needed to bat out 7 overs at the time.

The rest of the batting was a bit of a mish-mash as England tried to put on some quick runs that would enable them to have a crack at the West Indies this evening. Pope looks a bit out of touch at the moment, Woakes dollied a wide one to slip and Buttler played the sort of infuriating innings that he has been accustomed to in Test Cricket, eventually holing out to the only fielder within 50 yards on the onside. Of course, this was never going to be a winning situation for Buttler to bat in as he would either be accused of scoring easy runs against a bowling attack running on empty or get out cheaply again playing a silly shot. In the end, he performed somewhere in the middle, which sums up his Test career – simply a bit mediocre.

The West Indies stuck manfully to their task in the field, obviously battling fatigue and a number of injuries to their fast bowlers. The pitch although difficult to score on, hasn’t really helped any of the quicks with a lack of pace and a lack of sideways movement and the best they could really do was to try and dry up the runs. It was left to Roston Chase again, so often the tormentor of England to take the majority of the wickets. Chase did manage to get a fair bit of turn out of the pitch, which should have Dom Bess licking his lips at the chance of having a long bowl on it. Whether it’s just the fact that he has the wood over England or due to a lack of technique against spin, Chase once again made one or two of the English batsmen look a bit silly. Not bad for a supposed part-time bowler.

So with runs on the board and a tired West Indian side at the crease, England went in search of wickets to really open up the game. The fact that they only managed one, a really nice delivery from Sam Curran that was eventually given out on review, will be a slight disappointment. This was even further compounded by Root not choosing to review an LBW shout against Joseph that both looked out in real time and was going on to hit middle stump. This isn’t to say England bowled badly, Broad in particular can feel unlucky that he didn’t manage to find the edge, but it does highlight the slog England will have in taking 20 wickets on this pitch, especially if Bess doesn’t bowl well.

So Day 3 is nicely set up for tomorrow and fingers crossed, if the rain holds off, we could have another intriguing day’s play ahead.

As ever, thoughts and comments are always welcomed.


37 thoughts on “England vs West Indies, 2nd Test, Day 2 – Application

  1. Metatone Jul 17, 2020 / 8:05 pm

    Curran looks like the one bowler this pitch really suits at the moment, getting noticeably more swing than Broad or Woakes.

    Bess should get enough overs for us to see his potential at this level. There is some help in the pitch, although if there’s a lot of rain that may change.

    Not massively confident about England getting 20 wickets if the weather knocks out a fair number of overs, to be honest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean Jul 17, 2020 / 8:45 pm

      Just hope they don’t expect too much of Bess. He isn’t the type of bowler that’s going to rip through a side, more be tidy and contribute a few wickets.


      • dArthez Jul 18, 2020 / 5:44 am

        England suffer from the Warne syndrome after Swann retired. Australia had that, until after years they finally settled on Lyon. Hauritz was the only one who got a bit of a run in the side, and then Ponting did not know how to use him. Lyon was literally the last guy left to try (if you ignore O’Keefe).

        England always want the guy who is playing to do better than Swann in all aspects of the game, everywhere, every time. That is pretty much impossible (just like there will be innings in which Chris Martin outbatted Kane Williamson; but obviously that is not proof that Martin was the better batsman, or that Williamson is a bad player). England possibly have wrecked Moeen Ali as a Test player with that entitled attitude.

        So just pick a guy and roll with it. Don’t expect miracles, expect steady contributions with the ball. If the wickets are not coming, only then pick someone else. All this picking and dropping, re-picking an re-dropping does not aid skills development or confidence of the players involved.

        Personally I would think Leach is the better bet. And yes, if fit, I would have picked him over Bess. And I suspect the first time after this when England play somewhere in Asia, he’ll be picked and outbowl Bess. But chopping and changing every game won’t help either player, so let Bess play for the time being.


  2. andrewrdow Jul 17, 2020 / 10:12 pm

    Fwiw, and having observed Archer from afar for a while, I reckon he just didn’t fancy bowling on a slow Old Trafford pitch, and triggered himself.

    Imho, Selvey, and the rest of the Guarian brigade are blinded by the colour of his skin, so for all their claim to see things differently, they’ll turn a blind eye to this.

    He’s got genuine pace, no doubt, and more talent with the bat than immediately apparent, but I’ve had my eye on him for a couple of years. When things don’t go his way immediately, he ain’t no Courtney Walsh.

    If he really wanted to sneak home, he could have done so without tripping the tracker in his car. But, no, he was just there long enough for it to be “significant”, and then “got found out” ……. oh, gosh, how did that happen – innocent face. Oh, well, I guess I’ll just have to plead guilty and have a mandatory rest….


    • dlpthomas Jul 18, 2020 / 5:12 am

      What are you basing this on? Perhaps your the one “blinded by the colour of his skin”


    • Marek Jul 18, 2020 / 12:11 pm

      Do you think his petrol expenses for the detour were paid for by George Soros too, Andrew?…

      Liked by 2 people

    • DoubleHit Jul 19, 2020 / 9:48 am

      You’ve brought up race and politics in one post. Well done.


  3. Tom Jul 18, 2020 / 8:40 am

    I’m a big fan of Sokes’ batting. He has all the shots, including the one-day versions, but in general, he plays straight and I think that’s why he is so successful. His straight driving is heavenly and it’s a simple technique which means little can go wrong. He demonstrates why all the old coaching books of years ago about playing the ball back towards the bowler were actually based on something sound.

    Sibley’s innings was essential. I know everyone wants to be entertained these days, but without that innings, England would have been in trouble and I doubt Stokes would have scored the runs he did. It’s clearly not an easy pitch to score quickly on, at least without taking big risks, so his innings was vital and I think true test match fans would know that.

    It’s an intriguing match right now. I hope the weather doesn’t intervene. The first session on day four will be vital to both teams. If England can get three or four wickets I think they’ll win, but if the Windies get to lunch with only one or maybe two more wickets down, it’ll likely be a draw.

    All my opinion of course.


  4. metatone Jul 18, 2020 / 11:23 am

    Nasser in good form with the diagrams this morning.


    • metatone Jul 18, 2020 / 11:24 am

      Predicts not much play today tho. Shame, I have a bit of time to watch.


  5. Marek Jul 18, 2020 / 12:23 pm

    The other thing about Sibley’s innings that its detractors are underplaying is its effect on the third Test. The WI seamers are likely to be completely knackered by the end of this match–much more so than England, who have fielded two different attacks of specialist seamers.

    Gabriel is already looking pretty creaky (unsurprisingly, since he hadn’t played a game since September), Joseph has a bit of a niggle, and WI’s two reserve seamers have played one test between them (although Holder in particular sounds very promising).


  6. dArthez Jul 18, 2020 / 4:17 pm

    As England are grateful this is not a four-day Test, you have to wonder yet again, how incompetent the people running the game are, as play being called off on Day 3 without a bawl being bowled is hardly something wildly unimaginable.

    Meanwhile in South Africa, a 3-team cricket match has been played. Probably far more revolutionary than the Hundred can ever aspire to be. I might have missed the game, but at least I can see the potential complexities for such a game, without altering the concept of ‘overs’, or doing away with any of the essential cricketing rules (if you make the necessary allowances to make it a three game affair). Obviously it is not perfect, but I can see a meaningful game being developed out of the concept.


    • dannycricket Jul 18, 2020 / 5:10 pm

      I was at work and can’t see it on BBC’s iPlayer (the BBC streamed it in the UK). The concept seemed like it was a mess when I read it, but I did want to see how it worked in practice.


      • dArthez Jul 18, 2020 / 5:39 pm

        Obviously the format is wildly different from regular 2-team cricket. So a lot of the confusion is because of that, especially since it has not been played before. So not strange that the players themselves are a bit confused – let alone the viewers. But if more of these games were to be played, I think they would quickly catch on.

        I am not sure if I am a big supporter of the fielding restrictions in this 3-team format. They might be a bit too lenient to the batsmen (then again, that is what the powers that be already do with ODIs and T20Is, albeit they pretend otherwise). Don’t think this would be the final version of such a 3-team format, but it shows that with some creativity, people can come up with really revolutionary concepts, to create a truly new format. Whether it has long term potential is to be seen; but I see more potential for this than for the Hundred as a distinct format.


        • Glenn Jul 18, 2020 / 7:23 pm

          I really enjoyed this 3 team game. It had more variety than the usual short term forms because of the split in innings and reduced team players. Imagine a version of this with England, Pakistan and India in England – it would be a fun occasion.

          I probably regard all the short term games – T20, T10 and 100 as essentially the same thing.


  7. Tom Jul 19, 2020 / 11:17 am

    Can someone explain why so many bowlers are using head-bands? I’m assuming it’s related to COVID-19, but haven’t seen an explanation. This is not a criticism, I’m just curious.


    • thelegglance Jul 19, 2020 / 11:18 am

      They’ve not been able to get haircuts. Even since barber’s shops were opened they’ve been in the bio-secure bubble so unable to get it done.
      They could have hacked at their own of course!


      • Tom Jul 19, 2020 / 11:35 am

        Thanks, I didn’t think of the bubble. Right now our barbershops are open but I’m a little scared visiting them and I think the best way to describe my hair is like Bob Willis in his prime…


        • Tom Jul 19, 2020 / 11:41 am

          I actually bought some clippers to cut my hair if things became desperate. So far I’ve only used them to shave my coronavirus beard because shaving it with a regular shaver became too painful!

          I now have a new respect for those who wear beards…


          • thelegglance Jul 19, 2020 / 11:42 am

            I did the clippers thing. Just set it on grade 4 and did my whole head. Was quite content knowing I wouldn’t be going anywhere so no-one would ever see. Then remembered I had a Zoom call the following day…


  8. Tom Jul 19, 2020 / 11:48 am

    The “touch up my appearance” option in Zoom is worth using.


    • dlpthomas Jul 19, 2020 / 1:52 pm

      I’d like that in real life


  9. Grenville Jul 19, 2020 / 12:51 pm

    I find it weird that there is talk about disciplining Archer. I guess it is because sport is so rooted in school culture. This idea of disciplining and punishing adults is odd. Sack him by all means, if you don’t want people with such a cavalier attitude in the team (it would be a foolish decision, but if you were as stupid as the ECB…). By do we feel the need to punish an adult and employee?


    • Rohan Jul 19, 2020 / 2:16 pm

      I agree, disciplining adults does seem odd. I am, however, a teacher and sadly this is what happens in my profession these days. If a teacher makes a mistake or gets something wrong, headteachers often discipline them like a naughty schoolchild, it’s the way my profession has hone and it’s sad to see….


      • Grenville Jul 19, 2020 / 5:03 pm

        Is that a school thing or is it more widespread in the culture?

        I was hoping the West Indies were going to bat most of tomorrow. This is seeming less likely given the up-down bounce. It shows the advantage of 1st innings runs.


        • Rohan Jul 20, 2020 / 7:02 am

          Widespread in the culture is my experience from the schools I’ve worked in sadly……

          Anyway I hope the windies can play out a draw in this match…


  10. Rohan Jul 19, 2020 / 2:22 pm

    “ The one thing I also really like about Stokes batting is that his set up is incredibly simple. There is no big trigger movement, no scratching around the crease, but instead on most occasions his bat comes down at a perfectly straight angle.”

    Spot on Sean! I remember staying up to watch his debut hundred in Perth. I felt it was never in doubt as his technique was so simple and solid, still the same today. He does what Boycott always used to advocate, he plays with a straight bat, hits the ball down the ground well in the V…….simple…..


    • Rohan Jul 19, 2020 / 3:47 pm

      One thing I would add though. Stokes is a very talented batsman and should be averaging far more than his current 36 odd. I’m sure you can selectively mine his stats, to show he averages much higher over the recent past, but let’s see/hope that continues…..


      • Sophie Jul 19, 2020 / 4:12 pm

        He used to be very hit and miss in the past. It’s only the last two or so years that he’s been reliable as a batsman. Since after his court case or so, as far as I remember.


  11. Rohan Jul 19, 2020 / 2:23 pm

    I really like watching SCurran bowl…….and bat for that matter!


    • Rohan Jul 19, 2020 / 2:26 pm

      Funny how Sky are trying to use data against him, saying he’s poor overseas in terms of bowling average. Errrr, hang on, what about Wood, Woakes, Anderson, Broad, aren’t their averages all worse overseas…..double standards…..is SCurran a face doesn’t fit type?


      • dArthez Jul 19, 2020 / 3:11 pm

        Anderson averages less than 30 in West Indies, England and the UAE. I think he averages 1 5-fer abroad for every 2.5 years he has played (7 of them in 67 Tests). That is Makhaya Ntini level effectiveness abroad. So to have a go at S. Curran for basically the same faults as others seems a bit misplaced.

        In fact, Anderson and Ravi Ashwin have the most lopsided bowling statistics in the history of cricket (with a minimum of 200 wickets taken). Yet one of them gets chastised for being a home-track bully, and the other is supposedly an all-time great.

        Besides, Anderson was given, what? A decade to get his overall average under 30 (he needed 83 Tests to achieve that). And yet we somehow expect S. Curran to do that in less than 20? Seriously?

        Liked by 1 person

      • dannycricket Jul 19, 2020 / 3:43 pm

        I think it’s that he’s a slower bowler than the others. The received wisdom is that pace is needed overseas.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. dArthez Jul 19, 2020 / 6:08 pm

    West Indies completely collapsing against the new ball. A position of relative strength has become quite precarious: 242/4 to 287/9.

    Still about 112 overs left in the match, so England may even have a go with the second new ball tomorrow if necessary. Yet another reason that this collapse is hurting West Indies badly.


  13. dArthez Jul 19, 2020 / 6:27 pm

    The thinking in opening with Stokes and Buttler is good. but Buttler really should have done more than a 3-ball duck, even if it against the new ball. How can the selectors keep justifying his place on the back of no discernible performance?


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