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West Indies v England Fifth Test Live Blog: Day One

Live Test Match Blogging RSS / / 06 March 2009 /

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England have rung the changes and are playing five front line bowlers to give themselves the best possible chance of winning the final Test. Strauss has won the toss and is having a bat. Ed Hawkins is drinking endless cups of tea and talking us through the action. Email him at hawkeyeview@hotmail.co.uk

21.02 Eng 258-2 CLOSE
That is the close of day one with West Indies declining the new ball. Pretty dull, let's be honest. But there was a glimpse of the potential excitement to come. The pitch is taking turn and having made hay when the surface is at its best, England will be delighted. Still lots of work to be done, however. Here are the prices: West Indies are [16.05], England [2.08] and the draw [2.10].

20.54 Eng 256-2
There has been much fascination with the Digicel girls in this Test match. Not surprising because of the mundane play nor because these dolly birds are by far the best looking of the series. Of course, it was typical of my fortune that when I was in Antigua there was rubbish selection. Still no new ball

20.44 Eng 249-2
Collingwood half-century. Shirt-wearing Sunderland fans acclaim their hero. He's a Mackem you see.

20.40 Eng 243-2
There are six overs left tonight. Still no new ball. Surely Edwards will take it this time? Nasser Hussain has just said that there is no guarantee of England winning this. Of course he is right, although his reasoning is a bit fuzzy. "England bowled on turning wickets in India but couldn't take 20 wickets." But they were bowling to Indians, who can play spin in their sleep. West Indies are nowhere near as good.

20.31 Eng 239-2
Fidel Edwards is charging in. No new ball yet, but it looks as though he is about to take it. It would be two overs late so I would have been off the mark with my earlier assertions.

20.17 Eng 227-2
West Indies get a new ball in two overs. Whether they take it or not remains to be seen. Throughout this series Chris Gayle has consistently delayed taking the new ball and I would not be surprised if he did so again. In fact West Indies, who are petrified of losing, have been so negative in team selection and tactics that it would be a shock if they did take it. They want to take time out of the game and keep the run rate low. That has been their aim since ball one. So if they did go for the cherry, they would risk putting time back into the game or increasing the run rate. Incredibly, I reckon they don't want to take wickets

19.58 Eng 213-2
A big moment in the match. There has been no wicket. No landmark has been reached. And no one has suffered an injury. But in the 69th over, the fifth ball suggested we are almost certain to get a result. One from Ryan Hinds pitched on a length, disturbed the surface, spat and turned. Paul Collingwood, the batsman, had a big smile on his face because he knows that England have picked the right side and West Indies must bat last on this. You can back England at [2.00]. Still a good bet.

19.48 Eng 204-2
When Andrew Strauss makes a 50 in Test cricket, 54 per cent of the time he goes onto make a hundred. Impressive. Only George Headley and some bloke called Don Bradman had better conversion rates. Just behind Strauss is Kevin Pietersen. Three places further down the list is Michael Vaughan. We're talking Test history here folks. This is particularly good information for punters. If we know Strauss can hold an end up like that when he is set, we can plan our bets accordingly.

19.28 Eng 183-2
Strauss has his third century in the series. Here they are: 169-142-100*. Probably the best of the lot considering the slow nature of the wicket. No-one can argue that captaincy has hindered his batting eh? Shiv Chanderpaul looks like he has hurt his groin and is hobbling off. Now that would be an internal injury, so will impact on where he bats if he is off the field for a while. I think that's how it works

19.18 Eng 164-2
Ridiculous situation at the Queen's Park Oval. The sightscreen, which doubles as a big red advert when bowling is from the other end for a company I will not mention, has got stuck. We can't play at the moment...

19.10 Eng 164-2
Not out. Strauss remains on course for a ton. The ball would have gone over the top of the stumps and Windies have wasted a referral - they have only one left now I believe. Ryan Hinds is bowling quite well. Good news for England that with two spinners in their side

West Indies reckon they have Strauss leg before. Let's have a look

19.02 Eng 159-2
Back after the break. It is Paul Collingwood, not Owais Shah, who has come to the crease. Andrew Strauss is five runs away from yet another Test century in this series. England should really look to press on here but sadly, with Colly at the crease that is not too likely. He is as slow as the wicket itself

18.38 WICKET Eng 156-2
KP out! Bowled. He missed one which deviated only slightly from Ryan Hinds. Good stuff. The game is moving on. We said we didn't fancy KP on this track didn't we? Give yourself a pat on the back. That's tea, too

18.34 Eng 152-1
Captain_S has been in contact with a suggestion to make Test cricket more exciting. "Every 35-40th over of an innings, the fielding side are allowed to dip the ball is gasoline and set it alight with bowlers using fire retardant gloves to bowl it. Meanwhile, the batting team are allowed to employ four bikini-clad supermodels, who stand around the boundary and using a hose and suds - a bit like those naughty 'car wash' music videos we occasionally see - try to put it out." Amen to that my friend.

18.19 Eng 143-1
It is the second time in his England career that Owais Shah has had to retire hurt because of cramp. In his first Test in Mumbai, he had to come off just after reaching his 50. It was not without consequence because the England management took a dim view, suggesting he had not done the correct prep work to ensure it didn't happen. He could well be in trouble again. His fingers on his left hand were gnarled and rigid, a result of gripping his bat too hard, his tension and the humidity. He has been back on cat-on-hot-tin-roof form today. He had been looking pretty relaxed in the series up to this point but the pressure on him for runs has manifested itself in this.

18.09 Eng 133-1
So the referral system does work. Pietersen not out. The ball pitched way outside leg stump. KP immediately asked for it. Well it works to an extent, there has been a problem with the third umpire and on-field umpires communication system. Aleem Dar has had to run outside of his box and signal to change the decision.

KP given out leg before to Nash

18.05 Eng 133-1
Owais Shah has retired hurt. It's his age old problem of cramp in his hands which has returned to haunt him.Kevin Pietersen at the crease. A bit of life should be injected into the game either in the form of KP increasing the run rate or West Indies removing the fresh batter

17.52 WI 126-1
Terrible mix up in the running between Strauss and Shah for the second time today. Both men were at the same end but Lendl Simmons could not collect the ball. Shambolic all round. That is the third run out West Indies have missed today. While on the subject of what could be done to make Test cricket more exciting, West Indies could do some work on their fielding

17.49 Eng 119-1
"For each 100 runs a team scores without losing a wicket, make the bat half an inch thinner," says Stumper. A sound suggestion. We could make the ball smaller, too. Make themplay with a golf ball. Or a team could get a new ball every 40 overs instead of 80.

17.28 Eng 98-1
50 for Strauss to go with centuries in Antigua and Barbados. To pickupon PP's point earlier about England needing to up their rate, he is absolutely right. Sooner rather than later they will have to try to put their foot on the gas. The run rate for the innings is 2.4. Over the last 10 they have been even slower at 2.10. The problem is, the pitch is so slow the batsmen are struggling with their timing. Both Strauss and Shah are consistently hitting the field of the scoring balls.

17.16 Eng 86-1
Portuguese Pirate says: "It looks a good wicket and if England are to win this they need plenty of time to take 20 wickets, specially with the likes of Sarwan (in particular) and Chanderpaul in the form they're in. And they're only going to get that time if they score at a much quicker rate than they are now. Is it just me or does Shah look more interested in getting a painstaking 50 that will cement his place in the side than playing an aggressive knock that can give his side a decent chance of winning this?"

17.06 Eng 81-1
The draw price is really shortening up now. Currently at the [1.73] mark. This really is turgid stuff. No good for Test cricket this, particularly after the boring match in Barbados. Antigua, too, was pretty dull for the most part aside from that exciting last day. What can we do to make Test cricket more exciting? Send me your suggestions at hawkeyeview@hotmail.co.uk

16.53 Eng 78-1
We are only into the second session of the Test and there is already debate about the state of this Trinidad wicket. It looks so slow. There is nothing in it for bowlers while batsmen, although finding crease occupation easy, will struggle to score quickly. That is a recipe for stalemate. Understandably there is panic around the state of the wicket because everyone is petrified - no matter what your interest in this game - that we are going to have another slow death of a Test like Barbados. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it takes turn later on.

16.42 Eng 76-1
I don't know where the phrase 'man or mouse comes from'. From my experience mice are men, in terms of them being one of the most cocky, brazen and braggadocio creatures on earth. You may recall that during the Antigua Test I was discussing how I fought off a mouse insurgency before I left for the Caribbean. Well, while I was away, they thought it was holiday time didn't they? No doubt lounging on the sofa, using the ipod and generally larking about. The other day, bold as brass one of them sauntered across the rug, like you or I might stroll out for a coffee. It's war. New traps have been laid and no mercy will be shown, although I will stop short of comparing a mouse to Daren Powell. That caused controversy when I suggested both should be knocked on the head with a hammer.

16.01 Eng 73-1 LUNCH
West Indies are in a dreadful hole if you ask me, and I guess if you're reading this you're probably interested in what I reckon. Edwards might be injured, Powell, despite his wicket, is historically awful while Lionel Baker looks mundane. England should make hay this afternoon, safe in the knowledge that they have got their selection spot on, although they wouldlike to see a bit more spice in the surface. The draw has finally gone odds-on, West Indies are out to [7.00] and England are around the [2.60] mark. The only price that will come in during the next session is WI's.

15.49 Eng 67-1
Nash is bowling. He came on for the 19th over. There cannot have been many times in Test history when such an innocuous bowler has bowled the 19th over of a Test. It exposes West Indies' selection policy as negative. For that I hope they get beat. England will be feeling very pleased with themselves that they gambled on five bowlers, two of them spinners.

15.39 Eng 63-1
The big question that I want answering is whether the father of Trinny (from Trinny and Susannah) has ever been to Trinidad.

15.29 Eng 57-1
The draw price is holding its own at around the [2.20] mark. This is unusual. When England were wicketless after seven overs, it had nose dived to around [1.99]. But after a longer, and more productive partnership of 33 runs, between Strauss and Shah, it remains pretty steadfast. Refreshing to see a lack of overreaction at this early stage.

15.18 Eng 44-1
Following the terror attacks on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore, it has been a difficult and introspective week for the sport. Alas we have a situation now where Pakistan will be virtually ostracized from the game, which hinders their development and helps the terrorists. However, the incident could well have more significant global implications. If the terrorists reckon Lahore was a triumph, they could actually have just made their biggest mistake. Attacking cricketers, a group of people revered in that part of the world no matter what race or religion, is a public relations disaster for terror. Huge support will be lost and those that were previously quiet in their condemnation of such action will shout loud and clear.

15.00 Eng 39-1
A bit of seam and swing for West Indies. But they need more than a bit, especially as Fidel Edwards seems to have developed a niggle after only five overs. Lionel Baker, in his second Test, is having a bowl. Military medium he is folks. to worry about for batsmen of the skill of Strauss and Shah.

14.42 Eng 26-1
Andrew Strauss (twice) and Kevin Pietersen are the two English batsmen who have top scored in first innings in the series. They are [3.65] and [2.50] respectively. Not too sure about KP on this wicket. It is pretty slow and Pietersen has struggled in the past on such surfaces. Owais Shah, given a vote of confidence in this Test, should score well. He is [3.00]. But beware, the average second-wicket partnership in first innings here is 24 which would suggest these two might not be around for long. Paul Collingwood, at [5.50], could be the best bet because the wicket could suit his nudge and nurdle style.

14.37 WICKET Eng 26-1
Phew! Thank goodness for that. We've got rid of the crabby Alastair Cook early on. And the opportunity to back England at [2.56]. The draw had briefly touched [1.99] - after only seven overs.

14.30 Eng 23-0
A couple of stats to mull over. Only one side has scored more than 350 in the last 14 Tests in Trinidad. The first-innings average over those Tests is just 262. On the back of those it would be reasonable to lay the big numbers on England's first-innings runs market. The [1.58] for 400 runs or more and the [1.88] for the 425 or more for example. However, with this toothless West Indies attack and the mundane nature of the pitch, England should score well.

14.19 Eng 18-0
"If you're looking to draw from the outset, it normally comes back to haunt you." The words of Michael Atherton. He is correct. I just don't understand why WI have gone with this attack when one of them, Daren Powell, is needing to bowl 20 overs to take even one wicket in this series. Let me know your thoughts at hawkeyeview@hotmail.co.uk
In a mo, we'll look at top England runscorer markets and their first-innings runs

14.12 England 7-0
By contrast England are aggressive. Ravi Bopara has been dropped after his Test ton and Ryan Sidebottom also loses his place. In come Amjad Khan, the Kent pacer, and Monty Panesar. You'll note the difference of opinion between the sides. West Indies have left out their best spinner, England play two. It is lucky therefore that England have won the toss because West Indies will have to bat last on a surface which could crumble. Ordinarily in Trinidad one would advise laying the draw because of the bowler-friendly surface but West Indies' attack is so weak, and with the pitch at its best, I can see England shortening dramatically today.

14.05 Eng 3-0
Let's have a look at the prices. West Indies are [4.30], England [2.60] and the draw is [2.50]. The first thing to say is that I don't know how West Indies can possibly win with the side they have chosen. A big statement which could bite me in the behind. But West Indies have only the pace of Fidel Edwards, the inexperienced Lionel Baker and the downright useless Daren Powell. To supplement this attack, they have the part-time spin of Ryan Hinds. There is no place for Sulieman Benn, their leading wicket-taker. Incredible.

14.00 England win the toss and bat
Afternoon all and welcome to our coverage of the fifth Test in Trinidad, a game West Indies must notlose in to win their first series for five years and England must win to avoid returning with redder faces than the sunburnt fans. Already, we have drama. West Indies have picked the most negative side I have seen in years. England have gone all-out attack. There is no Jerome Taylor for West Indies, either. England have won the toss and will bat. Basically, everything that could go right has gone right for Andrew Strauss.
West Indies CH Gayle, DS Smith, RR Sarwan, LMP Simmons, RO Hinds, S Chanderpaul, BP Nash, D Ramdin, DBL Powell, FH Edwards, LS Baker
England AJ Strauss, OA Shah, AN Cook, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, MJ Prior, SCJ Broad, JM Anderson, GP Swann, MS Panesar, A Khan


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