Saturday, May 02, 2015

Two second-rate teams battling to see which of them can be condemned as third-rate.

245 Runs, 77.5 Overs, 18 Wickets

It wasn't even a full day. Yes in a macabre sort of way it was exciting, but it was a far removed from proper Test cricket as it's possible to imagine. At the end of the day two second-rate teams were battling to see which of them can be condemned as third rate. I've no idea. England, woefully 39-5 after 21 overs should lose from here. But don't put it beyond the West Indies to contrive to lose either. If we look back over the two days there have been three performances of proper Test quality from the 22 players. Cook batted well in England's first innings. Blackwood the same in that of the Windies. And Jimmy Anderson bowled wonderfully well in taking 6-42. Terrific skill. That's it. Some of the rest of the batting   and bowling was briefly alright. But much of it was at best inconsistent and most of it was dross. Trott should not have been there. Bell lost any sympathy that his feeble "pair" might have generated when he let his ego refer an lbw that was plumb. Samuels did the same. The slow left armer Permaul bowled 20 overs of filth and conceded 86 runs. Ali and Root between them bowled an excruciating 19 overs of village green spin for 90 runs. 

In England's first knock three players played innings of some merit - eight did not. In the Windies first knock Blackwood was the sole player to score more than 25. For the West Indies to take five England wickets this afternoon was not because there was an Anderson-type great spell of bowling. The wickets were shared between four bowlers. It was because England batted like frightened chickens and the Windies thought "Hey, we've got these dummies on the run" - and they had!

Apparently 10,000 of us came to Barbados for this match from England. We are having a wonderful time in this friendliest of nations and enjoying the sunshine. And, as I said, the cricket has been exciting. Maybe tomorrow the two teams will remember that they are playing a Test Match. But frankly the signs are not good. The Windies soon face Australia here in the Caribbean. They'll be taken apart. As will England by both Antipodean visitors this summer. Unless a miracle happens. Dont hold your breath.

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