Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 22, 2012

England vs West Indies First Test – England Report Card

Jimmy and Stuart enjoy Cliff’s tribute to the venue of England’s next Test.

Andrew Strauss (122 and 1) – His was the biggest of thousands of smiles around the ground, as the captain hit his first Test century since Brisbane in November 2010. KP expressed the feeling around Lord’s by hugging his skipper rib-breakingly hard. Fended off a horrible snorter from Kemar Roach in the second innings to gully – something Morne Morkel will have noticed.

Alastair Cook (26 and 79) – Scored faster than any of England’s top six and steadied a slightly listing ship in the second dig. Looks full of runs after a spell of patchy scores – there’s a big one coming soon.

Jonathan Trott (58 and 13; 2-0-7-0 and 6-0-14-0) – Somewhat anonymous, but played his part in an upper order unit that added 194 for England’s first two wickets. The contrast with their opposite numbers is stark, the difference surely enough to swing the series.

KP (32 and 13) – Not really his thing a curtain-raiser series, but he blazed boundaries in the first innings before being undone by Marlon Samuels’ innocuous spin and then bottom-edged debutant Shannon Gabriel to Ramdin to raise West Indian hopes briefly on day five. Of course, he really should take every game as it comes, but you have to believe that his attention has been taksn by the ODIs vs Australia and the Tests vs South Africa later this summer. That might cost England in the first half of the season, but probably won’t.

Ian Bell (61 and 63*) – As comfortable at Lord’s as he was uncomfortable in the UAE, Belly simply picked up where he left off vs India last summer. Had Sunil Narine been in the Windies party, things may have been different, but the otherwise excellent Shane Shillingford hasn’t the tricks to transfix England’s Number Five.

Jonny Bairstow (16 and 0*) – Played a shockingly conceived and miserably executed stroke to end his maiden Test innings, but looked athletic and intense in the field. Will work on tightening his technique and improving shot selection before Trent Bridge, where his nerves won’t be quite so visible.

Matt Prior (19; 3ct) – Looked very good indeed as he sought to play the Gilchristian innings that takes the game away, before a tinge of complacency led to his missing a straight one. Kept wicket with his now expected unobtrusive excellence and kept his bat away from the window.

Tim Bresnan (0; 20-7-39-0 and 36-11-105-1) No first innings wickets, a duck, a dropped catch and his first four balls second time round taken for ten runs, relieving Broad and Anderson’s carefully constructed pressure. A lesser man (or the same man in a lesser management set-up) might have hidden, but Bres’ next ball was the perfect outswinger that was plenty good enough for Barath, gone just as he was getting going. 12 Test wins in a row now for the whole-hearted Yorkie, but might yet miss out to Steven Finn at Trent Bridge.

Stuart Broad (10; 24.5-6-72-7 and 34-6-93-4) This time last year, Stuart Broad was bowling too short with the word “Enforcer” being bandied about. Since then, he’s found a McGrathian length (which is never quite there to drive) and is taking wickets at a McGrathian rate. Eleven in this match was enough to get him on to all three Lord’s Honours Boards and Swanny thinks there’s plenty more records to come. Will need to remember this length when looking down the track and seeing Smith, Amla, Kallis and AB who won’t be drawn so easily.

Swanny (30; 18-6-52-0 and 18.5-4-59-3) Biffed 30 runs that drove home England’s first innings advantage and then, at long last, induced a false stroke from Chanderpaul to prise out this year’s Dravid. He must be getting used to batsmen going hard at him early on, but Swanny appears utterly unrattleable, as his Test wickets haul climbs towards 200.

Jimmy Anderson (o* and 6; 25-8-59-2 and 36-11-67-1) Immaculate masterclass in swing bowling, the highlight of which was an almost cruel setting up of Kieran Powell who looked as aghast as Gatting once did on seeing the ball hit the stumps. Trent Bridge next – he might be unplayable at England’s swingers paradise.

You can read my other columns on this match here, here, here and here and you can tweet me @garynaylor999

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Responses

  1. “Will need to remember this length when looking down the track and seeing Smith, Amla, Kallis and AB who won’t be drawn so easily.” Mr McGrath would beg to differ! No doubt they are all too polite at Lord’s but there should have been a good 15,000 saying I told you so to Stuart about his bowling lines and lengths. Maybe it was injury the forced the change in his attitude, but at least he seems to have got the massage.
    Was striking how similar this match felt to the West Indies v Australia matches. With the West Indies competitive, but leaving a feeling that they are just not quite there yet to challenge over 5 days. I did however detect that Sammy was a little less defensive which was pleasing.


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