Posted by: tootingtrumpet | May 29, 2012

England vs West Indies Second Test – England Report Card

Defintely not Bres on University Challenge (sitting on desk, in purple)

Andrew Strauss (141 and 45) – Dropped anchor to grind is way to a rapturously received second century in consecutive Tests, though he will know that greater challenges lie ahead. Was hardly flawless, with the inside edge of his bat sporting plenty of red bruises – unlike his body, as he played the short ball very well indeed. Captained his team with his usual quiet effectiveness. Never really got out of third gear and we still don’t know if he can summon a fourth as he approaches 100 Tests.

Alastair Cook (24 and 43*) – Reprieved twice due to Roach’s penchant for no balls, but still only 24 first innings runs for England’s most voracious run glutton. His game is much more expansive now he knows that he can go at a run a ball in ODIs, but with that approach has come a little looseness that will be given a sterner examination by Steyn, Philander and Morkel.

Jonathan Trott (36 and 17*; 5-0-24-0 and 6-0-14-0) – Got in and got out straight after an interval, missing one to be LBW on review. Played some lovely shots that belie his reputation for one-paced accumulation, but seems short of the intensity he summons when the pressure is really on. With South Africa his only real blemish on a stellar CV, his mind may be on the upcoming tour, one not short of spice for him.

KP (80) – Any anger he was harboring after his ridiculous fine for tweeting about Sky’s Nick Knight looked like it was going to be taken out on a cricket ball, particularly when propelled by Shane Shillingford or Darren Sammy. But when just about to go ballistic with the round missile on Day Three, the persistent Ravi Rampaul pinned him in front and a gimme century went begging. If he carries on at this pitch of nervous energy, he might just go pop before Graeme Smith greets his arrival at the crease in six weeks time. 

Ian Bell (22) – Stuck somewhere between last summer’s high and last winter’s low, the second new ball did for him as he slightly fell over on a shot that was intended to clip a straight ball to leg. For someone who always looks so good at the crease, he has a lot of technical issues lurking around his game and needs to get his head right in more senses than one.

Jonny Bairstow (4) – Worked over by Kemar Roach and was lucky to last 16 balls before the 17th put him out of his misery. Not the first to learn that Test cricket is a much tougher school than ODI and T20I formats. If England continue to promote from pyjamas to whites, he won’t be the last either. Needs to work out a method for the short stuff, and soon.

Matt Prior (16) – Another who got in and got out having looked to be running into some very decent form. Well, these things happen, but being bowled through the gate hasn’t happened for a while, and everyone knows that it was once a real flaw in his game. Needs to tighten up his defence and maybe show a little more patience. Kept efficiently and effectively and is even getting the hang of DRS advice.

Tim Bresnan (39*; 27-4-104-4 and 17-5-37-4) – Came into bat when an England lead, long expected, looked suddenly in jeopardy and simply played simply, watching the ball on to the bat, blocking the good ones and hitting the bad ones. He looked far more of a Number 6 than either of the men ahead of him in the order. Bowled in a similar vein, a little within himself but fullish and to a tight line – essentially buying a DRS raffle ticket with every ball and waiting for his number to come up. He’ll bowl better for less reward, but he’ll settle for those figures all day, every day. At his Sunday evening press conference appeared to be as emphatically normal as everyone says – and he’s a lucky charm, not a lucky mascot!

Stuart Broad (25; 27-4-81-2 and 17-5-59-1) – Bowled better than he did at Lord’s for fewer wickets, but must be very happy with his game right now. Worked the tight line and fullish length that David Saker must have demanded on this wicket and nibbled the ball around to exploit any caprice in the pitch’s bounce. Snared Chanderpaul with a perfectly directed short ball to turn a good session into a great one and set up the easy Day Four chase to victory. Batted so positively that he had Sammy defending almost from the off, before falling to his favourite sweep shot. He and Bresnan don’t quite add up to four players, but they contribute enough to count as at least three.

Swanny (1; 20.2-4-62-2 and 6-1-24-1) – Was bemused to be given out caught and presumably bemused to be given so little work on a pitch that didn’t offer him much, but didn’t offer anyone else much either. Typically though, along with twice dismissing his counterpart in the West Indies team, Shane Shillingford, his other wicket was a set Shiv Chanderpaul. He’s never off camera for long.

Jimmy Anderson (0; 30-12-74-2 and 20.1-6-42-4) – Trent Bridge was not quite the Swingers’ Paradise of recent years, but Jimmy can make it move either way any time, any place, anywhere. Six wickets was the very least he deserved and he’ll get to 300 career wickets sooner rather than later if he can stay fit. There’s no Good Jimmy and Bad Jimmy any more: just Good Jimmy and Bloody Good Jimmy.  

You can read my other columns on this match below this post with still others available here. You can tweet me @garynaylor999


  1. the West Indies top order is a mess. Shiv and Samuels, maybe even Sammy are batting too low when you look at the guys above them in the order. Sammy as a bowler could do better with field placings – he is always giving an easy single. And unless you are a Yorkie, Baistow does not look likely to become an international batsman.

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