England vs. West Indies – 2nd Test, Day 4 – “One Of Those Spells”

There is a serious danger of this blog becoming a Stuart Broad fan site. For essentially the first five hours of play, this Test match was seemingly drifting towards an inevitable draw. Then Broad took the second new ball and ripped through the West Indian middle order and the game was not wide open, but at least still in play.

The first hour seemed promising for England fans, with at least two clear wicket-taking opportunities going to (and through) the slip cordon. Eventually, it was Bess who managed to dislodge yesterday’s nightwatchman with a sharp catch from Ollie Pope at short leg. England fans hoped that this would start an avalanche of wickets, but that didn’t come to pass. The flow of chances seemingly dried up, with wickets falling sporadically but without the  tourists looking overly troubled as they meandered towards avoiding the follow-on.

England took the new ball with the West Indies on 235/4, apparently set to comfortably bat out the rest of the day. What happened instead was Stuart Broad dragging England back into contention with three wickets in four overs. Two lbws and a bowled show the importance (as ever) of bowling at the stumps, although Broad was certainly helped by the new ball eliciting variable bounce which left the tourists unsure whether to go forwards or back to his deliiveries.

Woakes continued Broad’s good work, taking the final two wickets of the innings, but it was too late for England as perennial thorn-in-England’s-side Roston Chase scored the runs which took the West Indies past their follow-on target, forcing England to bat again.

Ben Stokes left the field apparently holding his side early in the evening session. Given that he bowled an 11-over spell, largely consisting of bouncers, it wasn’t much of a surprise, but fortunately for England it was apparently just indigestion. He returned to the field not long later, and was called upon to serve as a pinchhitting opener when England’s second innings began.

Stokes’s opening partner was Jos Buttler. He was bowled for a duck, getting an inside edge on a short and wide delivery which cannoned into his stumps. Whilst it may be unfair to read anything at all into a Test batsman’s performance in such circumstances, it does bear mentioning that the two situations he faced in this Test are supposed to be his strengths. In the first innings, he came in with England on 352/5. In that scenario, Buttler is supposed to score runs quickly (using his undoubted white ball prowess) and put pressure on the opposition without taking time out of the game. Instead, he scored 40 from 79 balls. Understandable restraint, given that his continued selection has been questionable for a while now and he needs a big score to secure his place in the side, but arguably not what was needed by his team. In the second innings, when he could essentially treat the game like the shorter formats in which he thrives, he simply mishit a short, wide ball from Kemar Roach which was there for the taking. It may beg the question: If Jos Buttler won’t deliver for England in the exact circumstances that he is supposed to thrive in, what is the point of picking him at all?

England’s batting order reset after the experimental opening duo of Stokes and Buttler, with regular number three Zak Crawley scoring a quickfire 11 before being bowled by Kemar Roach. Regular number 4 Joe Root then came to the crease, in the too-familiar situation of England being 17/2. He and Stokes managed to see out the day, with England finishing on 37/2.

This all means that England are currently 219 runs ahead, with 98 overs scheduled for tomorrow because of yesterday’s rain. England need to win the game in order to regain the Wisden Trophy and avoid drawing their second consecutive home Test series and so, if that is a priority, we might expect a fairly early declaration tomorrow. If England managed to score 50 runs in the first 40 minutes, for example, that would leave the West Indies chasing 270 runs in 86 overs at a minimum of 3.14 runs per over. The later England leave it, and the more the West Indies can restrict the scoring rate, the greater the chance of the tourists rescuing (or even winning) this game.

After a rather dull first couple of sessions, Stuart Broad really rescued England and leaves us going into tomorrow’s play with all three results still on the table. Test cricket is great.

As always, please leave your comments below.


24 thoughts on “England vs. West Indies – 2nd Test, Day 4 – “One Of Those Spells”

  1. Sean Jul 19, 2020 / 8:16 pm

    Probably best for Ben to leave off the mutton vindaloo tonight..


  2. Miami Dad's Six Jul 19, 2020 / 8:29 pm

    There’s easily enough in the pitch for England to win the Test, and, in spite of them shitting themselves trying to score 12 an over tonight, if they can knock it along at a run a ball for 10 – 14 overs in the morning they’ll have 80 odd to take 10 wickets on an up and down 4th day Old Trafford pitch.

    Curran was at least 20mph too slow to take Test wickets in England. If it ain’t 93mph, it won’t work. Of course I jest. Woakes and Broad were good too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean Jul 19, 2020 / 8:53 pm

      I’d like them to bat for 11 overs, add another 70 odd, then put the West Indies back in. That way, England get 5 overs with the 2nd new ball, weather permitting of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. psoans Jul 19, 2020 / 9:03 pm

    I am sure this will come to bite me back but I think England will have to set a target of at least 4 runs an over. If England scores 80-100 runs within 20 overs then it will make an interesting finish.


    • dannycricket Jul 19, 2020 / 9:08 pm

      But taking 20 overs would remove any possibility of England getting a second new ball. I’m not sure this bowling attack will be potent enough to take 10 wickets without it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • psoans Jul 19, 2020 / 9:40 pm

        I honestly hope I am wrong but it will be too late if England will need the second new ball.


        • dannycricket Jul 19, 2020 / 9:44 pm

          Yeah, probably. The second new ball seems the likeliest way for England to take 10 wickets, but it will be virtually impossible for England to score enough runs in 10 overs that the West Indies can’t chase within 80.


        • Miami Dad's Six Jul 19, 2020 / 9:56 pm

          If they give themselves 90 overs on a 5th day pitch, and require more than 80 of them, they’re really struggling to keep the runs down to avoid losing the game. So the idea of a second new ball evaporated when England’s attempt to score 100 from 8 overs failed this evening. Now they just need to bat the Windies out the game, be it 10 or 15 overs – then bowl well.

          I think I’d like a more trustworthy spinner, and Stokes not to have bowled 11 (frankly filthy) overs on the trot this afternoon, but it’s still adv England. 5th day Old Trafford rearguards are rare.

          I’ve digged on Bess before, but he seems to get driven through point far too often. It’s usually something an offie wouldn’t mind, but I think it’s cos his length is all over the place, rather than deceiving anyone in the flight. He bowls a bit too quickly overall, too. Bet he takes a 5fer tomorrow now.

          Liked by 1 person

        • dannycricket Jul 19, 2020 / 9:59 pm

          Not if I go full declaration bowling and just let the West Indies win in 10 overs.


      • Miami Dad's Six Jul 19, 2020 / 10:00 pm

        One of the best things about it not being the Ashes summer, is that the guest commentators are humble are knowledgeable and not complete bellends.

        Botham being sent to the glue factory is also long overdue. What’s the betting he ends up “punditing” somewhere with Richard Keys and Andy Gray on Talksport 6?


        • dannycricket Jul 19, 2020 / 10:06 pm

          I agree about the commentators. One funny thing (and I haven’t listened to TMS this summer, so can’t be certain) is that I suspect Ian Bishop and Michael Holding talk less about the glory days of West Indies cricket during play than some of the English radio commentators.

          Not high. Botham has just being appointed to the House of Lords, which means he is now an important part of our democratic process.


          • Grenville Jul 20, 2020 / 12:19 am

            I’d ennoble Johnathan Agnew if it would get him off the airwaves. Of course I’d prefer the trusty old wall stick him up against routine as his political end, but I’m all for compromise these days


          • dlpthomas Jul 20, 2020 / 7:27 am

            Your democratic process doesn’t seem that democratic. I don’t miss Botham’s commentary but a bit of Gower would be quite nice (or so my wife used to say)


  4. dArthez Jul 20, 2020 / 11:50 am

    Really not sure that England should set a target at 3.5 / over, when runscoring has been a challenge throughout the match. Then again, West Indies’ batsmen are not exactly known for batting within themselves …


    • dArthez Jul 20, 2020 / 12:15 pm

      Exhibit A: John Campbell.


    • dArthez Jul 20, 2020 / 12:51 pm

      Not even 9 overs in, and it will already be a miracle if West Indies last till tea. On a mostly dead wicket.


  5. Miami Dad's Six Jul 20, 2020 / 4:01 pm

    England have been dire the last hour that I’ve seen, but more dribble from Stokes has ended up with a breakthrough. 40 odd overs left, 5 wickets to get. It’s another good 5th day of a Test, whatever happens.


  6. dlpthomas Jul 20, 2020 / 5:13 pm

    Curran you little beauty!


  7. dArthez Jul 20, 2020 / 6:06 pm

    And it is on full display why the last time West Indies actually drew a series on the road against the traditional teams (top 8) was in 2010 (the monsoon washout in Sri Lanka). That means they have lost EVERY SINGLE series on the road against New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and England. None of these players have actual experience of even drawing a series on the road.

    Beyond dreadful since tea yesterday.


  8. dlpthomas Jul 20, 2020 / 6:19 pm

    Good catch to finish the innings. I’m glad I don’t have to pick the side for the decider.


  9. Metatone Jul 20, 2020 / 6:39 pm

    Feel a bit sad, a number of WI batsmen played well and then let it go…
    It’s good for the series that England won and really WI would have been lucky given the rain.
    Still, a lingering sense that WI didn’t quite live up to the 1st Test performance.


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