West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

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West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by sirfredperry on Mon 13 Apr 2015, 2:41 pm

First topic message reminder :

WI win toss and decide to field. Not sure why. This "exploit early life in the pitch" thing is really overplayed. Feel England would have batted had they won the toss. Lot of pressure on Cook now.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Stella on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 2:52 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:The other more pleasant issue England have though is what happens with Moin Ali? Obviously, a better batter is Khan but Treadwell can hardly be dropped can he? So do they bring Ali in primarily as an opener?

Depending on what happens, maybe Ali for Jordan, as others have adhered to.
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Gooseberry on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 2:55 pm

Mike Selig wrote:I think having given Trott the nod at the start of the series he will probably play the 2nd test at least. Hard to drop someone after just the one game.

In fact because of the structure of the "modern tour" it is hard to see England making any wholesale changes during the series, unless things go badly wrong. Moving Moeen up to open I would consider a "wholesale change" which is why I can't really see it happening. That was why I said he will most likely return in the same position (or similar) as that which he occupied before his injury. Which means realistically it's one of Stokes, Jordan or Tredwell given way. And I think as the man in possession effectively Moeen does return when fit.

But I tend to agree with guildford that arguing about selection for the 2nd test before the 1st test is done may be getting ahead of ourselves. A lot of things can happen between now and then.

Id agree. Especially in this case where the tour has come off the back of very little cricket for many of the payers, and the first test with minimal warm up. Trott was perhaps lucky to get the nod, but that doesnt mean he should be binned at first wobble. Equally where England to knee jerk to Moeen or and Lyth opening would we then turn to Lees for the Ashes if one as a bad game? I dont think Trot was a great selection tbh but thats based on armchair opinion rather than any in depth knowledge of his technique or how he seemed in practise. Now hes in he deserves a chance to stay there.
Its not a crisis yet, and recent history has shown not an issue that is automatically fixed by going to the next cab off the rank at every opportunity.
The Moeen issue is interesting. His placed was nailed on as a starting spinner who could bat after the India series, but now Tredwell has bowed well enough to make himself very difficult to drop in the short term. Jordan is probably the nearest thing to a place filler England currently have but outbowled stokes so far (IMO) If England have just 3 seamers its important is their best 3 ..is Stokes one of those?

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 3:08 pm

Has Ali done enough to just walk back into the test side? He did pretty well with the ball in test cricket, and his bowling in general has come a long way. But is he one of the sureshot picks who should play when fit? I must say I am not too sure....... Perhaps he will hae to wait a bit? Or if the track has something more for spin, then he certainly can come in for Jordan. Stokes is England's best 3rd seamer and he can do the job pretty well. And Ali and Tredwell can share spin duties.
As Guildford pointed out earlier, of late we have been on the same page on quite a few issues, in the same spirit, I wouldn't say the idea of Moeen as opener wouldn't the most outlandish one in the world. Yes he has major technical issues, and particularly as he has to play most of his tests in England, it might be too much to ask for, but then he has the ODI experience, and he would be a very different kind of test opener, a prototype of what some other sides have tried with more qualified players but that England haven't really tried.......
The idea of the opening partnership in general. When Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, the most successful test opening combination in India's history were struggling for some 2 years and more, many including yours truly did give arguments similar to what have been presented for Cook here. That they were the best available and that they had done it in the past with great success. But they continued to underperform, the selectors thought enough is enough, they called back Murali Vijay who wasn't setting the domestic seen alight by any stretch of imagination and also brought in an unproven, seemingly technically not so sound Shikhar Dhawan. Vijay has gone on to establish himself, and Dhawan has had his moments, and in comparison to Gambhir and Sehwag in their last 2 years, Dhawan with all his struggles, and Vijay have been a much better combination.......
As I wrote elsewhere, I am not a fan of continuing with a mistaken experiment just because it was made in the first place with a different set of assumptions. Trott always has been a batsman with a rather unique technique. He hasn't been a regular opener. Lyth is in the side as a regular opener, had solid domestic record, did well in the tour game, while Trott failed in the first test. Just because he was picked for the first test, that alone shouldn't be a good enough reason to play him in the next.
Bring in Lyth, and if Cook can't get going by tne end of the series, then consider other options including Ali.......

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Mike Selig on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 3:36 pm

There has to be a happy middle between 2 years and 1 game though. Openers get out early, it happens. Trott got out early twice.

I take msp's point that perseverance for perseverance's sake is not the way to go, but neither is change for change's sake. You have to have an argument that the person who is going to be brought in will do better than the one who is being dropped. Frankly I don't see any better options than Cook out there at the moment. Saying "well let's pick x,y,z and see how it goes" is not how things work, you have to have a reason as to why x,y,z would do better than a.

I get the argument over Ali, but trying to replicate someone like Warner/Shewag at the top of the order only works if you have someone like that. Remember back when England were desperately trying to replicate Gilchrist in ODIs? Prior, Jones, Mustard, need I go on? That's not to say that Ali at the top of the order is necessarily a bad idea, but it can only be done if you think he has the ability to do well there. Not because you've decided how you want your (2nd) opener to play and are then trying to find someone who can be pigeon-holed into that role.

msp83 wrote:
Lyth is in the side as a regular opener, had solid domestic record, did well in the tour game, while Trott failed in the first test.

You've said that twice now, but which tour match was this? Lyth scored 23 in the 2nd tour match, Trott scored 72 in the first and then 2 in the second... I think to say 23 qualifies as "doing well" is stretching things a bit.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by alfie on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 3:50 pm

Agree we should probably wait until this Test is over before picking a team for T2.
But : Moeen could come straight back in ; or he could maybe net , acclimatize , and be ready for T3.
If he comes straight back then I imagine he replaces either a seamer or Tredwell (who'd be most unlucky) depending on the pitch conditions. The thought that he might fill the opening spot did occur to me (after all he does open in the 50 over game). I'm not really keen on it , as I suspect that even if he were to manage the job on slowish pitches here - or perhaps in the sub-continent - he might struggle on livelier surfaces elsewhere...so not sure it would be a long term option. Could be wrong , of course... But anyway it wouldn't be out of the question as a short term fix (certainly better than moving Root !)
Which is all a long winded way of saying all options are possible Smile
...and bringing us back to the opening thought : let the selectors ponder this (fairly agreeable) problem after the current match is done and dusted...

Meanwhile , congrats to Ballance and Root on fine , calm , half-centuries. Batting England into a very strong position.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by alfie on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:21 pm

And on the Cook issue : I am possibly in a minority in that I don't mind Cook as captain . Not suggesting he is a natural , or a genius in the role ; but 1/ In the modern game where a lot of analysis is done off field , and coaching staff are involved heavily in planning tactics against generally well studied opponents , there is perhaps more limited scope for individual flair in a leader to assert itself (which is not to say that a good captain isn't an asset !)
2/ it follows from that point that a new captain may take longer to develop his personal style , and show the ability to make the timely moves that can influence a game . And I suspect that a period of adversity may assist in that development better than an initial run of success where "sticking to the plan" brought results...
3/ So yes : I do feel that Cook is learning on the job ...and that he is improving in his captaincy ; though this is perhaps somewhat obscured by the fact that his personal form has deserted him. He isn't - and won't be - a Brearley , or a Clarke ; but he could be a Strauss ...
4/ Apart from the Great Ashes Disaster , his win-loss record as captain is pretty good.
I do think some people (not on here ) have developed a bit of a prejudice against Cook and tend to view everything he does through a dark glass. So if he moves a slip fielder out on a slow pitch and a chance subsequently goes through that is evidence he is an idiot ; but if he places an extra player in the cover area and has a key opponent caught there that was just obvious or lucky...
As a couple of people have said , he handled his bowlers well here ; unlike his opponent. So I for one am in no rush to replace him. And I doubt Root is in any hurry to get in the Hot Seat.

His batting is another matter. You don't score 8000 Test runs if you're a mug. So he is rightly being given time to recover form ; but obviously it can't go on for ever. He needs to get back in runs (though he did make three fifties in the previous three Tests he played before this ) soon. But two failures here against some handy bowling from Taylor in particular shouldn't be cause for panic.
In my view , anyway. I'm for some patience.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:24 pm

My mistake on Lyth's score, had it mixed up with the pre-season county game.
Nevertheless, the point is that he's a regular opener who had a fine domestic season and a strong to the new one.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by alfie on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:25 pm

Sorry to see Root get out then...was enjoying watching him bat !

But it may not be a bad time for Stokes to come in with the lead stretching towards 300...If he gets going that lead could grow rapidly ; and the declaration options could be opened up...

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:29 pm

Agree with the general feeling that Cook captained well so far as far as this game goes. The experience in the job would have certainly helped. But he's a kind of captain who has to lead through his performance. Yes he did score a few against the Indians, but the last 2 years has been far too inconsistent. So its been a longish window. So its not just the 2 scores here, its more than that....... He can't be expected to consistently maintain the high point of the tour of India, but after that series, its been too much in consistency.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:31 pm

Stokes quickly on to 20. Back at 6, he's back in runs.......
Still think he's more of a 7 and Buttler can be at 6, but if Stokes can perform at 6 then well and good.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:32 pm

So if Stokes and Moeen both play in the same side, then I would see Moeen at 8 or perhaps as an unconventional opener.......

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by alfie on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:39 pm

msp83 wrote:So if Stokes and Moeen both play in the same side, then I would see Moeen at 8 or perhaps as an unconventional opener.......

Whichever way you go , it looks like a handy player at number eight ! And possibly a Woakes at nine...

Might need a bit of batting depth against Australia in a couple of months Smile

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by alfie on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 4:54 pm

So when to declare ? The way they're going a lead of 400 should come well before tea so it is perhaps largely an issue of how long a session do you want your bowlers to have this afternoon. Chasing anything over 400 seems out of the question even if the pitch remains true : I know West Indies did run down 418 against Australia on the old ground here , but there is no B Lara in the present lineup...
Think I'd be looking for a short bowl before tea if the timing is right. But it wouldn't astonish me if they batted on a bit longer : as long as they ensure a second new ball is available by tea tomorrow they should feel confident of a result.
Whatever they choose there will be commentators frothing at the mouth before the close Smile

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:02 pm

If Buttler gets going, the lead can touch the 400 reagion and them some more rather quickly. There more than an hour and a half to tea, Even if England go at around 3 an over and even if the WI bowl only around 20 overs, then the lead should above 400, and if Buttler is still in, England can have a quick bash in the next half hour, get the lead pass 450 and then go hard at the West Indies batting.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:03 pm

So ton up for Ballance, Well played!.
The formula for him is to never score 10, skirt pass the figure, he's far more likely to score a ton!.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:06 pm

The potential difficulty though for England is the upcoming 2nd new ball. If there is a lower order collapse and if they fold for around 300 by tea, then WI would have 4 sessions to score 400. Very difficult, particularly for this batting lineup, but not impossible.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by NickisBHAFC on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:08 pm

450 I would declare on. 

Well batted Gary Ballence, middle order of him, Root, Bell, Stokes and KP would be very strong, providing we get 2 decent openers.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Duty281 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:26 pm

Would indeed be a decent middle order - once you remove KP!

Just declare now, England, the West Indies will not make this total. I remember in 2009, the English were on the brink of victory two or three times, but declared too late - don't let it happen again!

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by CaledonianCraig on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:40 pm

I think they'll declare once Buttler gets out or his fifty.
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by CaledonianCraig on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 6:53 pm

Ah well it must be the 450 they are looking at or declaring half an hour before tea.
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Gooseberry on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:00 pm

Selfish review from Buttler, although Englnd arent desperately short on time these few minutes wasted could mean a lot more than whatever runs and personal records he now gets

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Gooseberry on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:08 pm

I bet the umpires are glad theyve finally put that innings out of its misery, the game was fast becoming a farce.

Englands game to lose here, the wickets should drip through with tight bowling.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:24 pm

Thought England got the declaration spot on tbh
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Mike Selig on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:29 pm

What happened leading up to England's declaration? I've only just tuned in, but read a couple of comments on twitter also...

Early wicket for Broad. Good tactics, fielder right in the right place. One for the backroom staff I feel, and Broad bowled it spot-on to take advantage.

Nick I think you've got 5 players for 4 places there. Unless you're suggesting Stokes as part of a 4-man attack in which case I disagree.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:41 pm

Buttler's chat behind the stumps needs serious improvement - severely lacking comedy
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Stella on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:47 pm

Mike Selig wrote:What happened leading up to England's declaration? I've only just tuned in, but read a couple of comments on twitter also...

Early wicket for Broad. Good tactics, fielder right in the right place. One for the backroom staff I feel, and Broad bowled it spot-on to take advantage.

Nick I think you've got 5 players for 4 places there. Unless you're suggesting Stokes as part of a 4-man attack in which case I disagree.

You could open with Ali, in Nick's side, giving you a five man attack, not that I would.
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by kingraf on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:57 pm

Tbh I thought Nick's line up made it clear that Ali had to open. Might have been ignorance on my part.

At this stage of his career, his Test one anyway, it would be hard to label Ali as anything other than odds and ends. Needs a fair crack at mastering an art, and then contributing with the other. Having your front line spinner double up as your opener is brave, to say the least. Almost UnEnglish.
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 7:59 pm

James Anderson struggling to swing these cheap magic balls that make opening the batting impossible it seems
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:39 pm

The West Indies haven't been playing like the West Indies of recent times in the 2nd innings so far. Trying to stay in the game, and even Smith is scoring some runs!
When Brathwaite, their 2nd best batsman got out, I was thinking of a very early finish.......
Didn't get what was all the fuss about the England declaration. It was a pretty good declaration, and there wasn't any need to take a chance before that.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:42 pm

The journalistic comment about the ball did sound a cheapshot to me anyways, and even if they use a ball that does a bit at least to start with, I'd any day welcome it in this day and age when no sensible person would like to be a bowler.
Looking forward to the next pathetic little theory of conspiracy!

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:49 pm

Cook trying things, Root on for a bowl. Not a bad call....... He can't buy a run, but Cook has picked up on leading the side on field.......

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:52 pm

Tredwell hasn't given anything away. The seamers weren't swinging the ball much. But isn't 11 out of 34 a few too many overs from the offspinner? Think Cook has got that slightly wrong.......
In between, a test 50 for Devon Smith!

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by JDizzle on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:53 pm

Chris Jordan is a bloody exceptional slip fielder.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:56 pm

Root gets Bravo!.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by JDizzle on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:57 pm

Root gets a wicket, Broad straight into the attack. I like it.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:59 pm

With only 5 overs to go, West Indies not sending in a nightwatchman, its Samuels in at 4.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:00 pm

Yes, pretty good call from Cook to get Broad back on, right bowler for the moment....... Up to him to back the skipper up........

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Mike Selig on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:01 pm

Good shout from Cook. I was just thinking that Root with his lower trajectory could maybe be worth a go. Cook does seem quite proactive ATM on the field. Good to see.

Great catch from Jordan BTW. Not for the first time either. Terrific natural athlete.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by JDizzle on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:04 pm

Comms raised an interesting point about how dominant he is a right hand slip fielder. Stands fine to the RHB and wide the LHB so as to increase the % of it going to his right. I'd certainly never noticed anyone doing it quite as pronounced as CJ before.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by JDizzle on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:05 pm

That's the downside of standing so wide though, can beat you on the inside. All about the %s of in what position he'll catch more. They should look at the data on it. Whistle

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:07 pm

Perhaps Cook should bring Stokes back on.......
Root has done his job.......

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by NickisBHAFC on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:11 pm

Take a bow sir Chris Jordan! 

Still not sure what to expect going into tomorrow. Morning session is very key.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by msp83 on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:21 pm

Stumps on day 4, West Indies 98-2. Better than expected performance from them so far in the 2nd innings, without that late wicket of Bravo, their chances of saving the game would have been much better.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Mike Selig on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:28 pm

JDizzle wrote:Comms raised an interesting point about how dominant he is a right hand slip fielder. Stands fine to the RHB and wide the LHB so as to increase the % of it going to his right. I'd certainly never noticed anyone doing it quite as pronounced as CJ before.

There is also the fact that you would stand finer to a RHB than for a LHB anyway for an offie because when the ball is turning in the edge tends to go finer. So a combination of that plus Jordan being as you say very right hand dominant makes the difference quite startling.

But Clarke for example is very left-hand dominant also. It's just that slipping to an offie this means he is basically on the same line to a LHB as a RHB (if anything slightly finer to a LHB which is unnatural on an offie as said).

It will also depend on the pitch, the type of bowler (pace, trajectory, etc.) etc.

England seem to have gotten it right... just.

West Indies had a good session. England plugged away but didn't look all that threatening. I think Tredwell should bowl a bit quicker on this pitch in this innings - it's more about getting some kick off the wicket than flight and guile on this one.

England still favourites but WI have given themselves a slimmer of hope. Tough to see them seriously threatening the win (pitch is not conductive to stroke making) but a draw remains a decent possibility.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by JDizzle on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:37 pm

Indeed, good points Mike. No doubts quite a lot of people make subtle stance differences to suit themselves, I had just never seen someone do it quite as pronounced as Jordan did.

Only saw the last few minutes of the session, but should England be concerned that Root looked more threatening than Tredders? I've only seen glimpes of this Test and obviously Tredders got a four fer in the first innnings, but Root seemed to create more in the little passage that I watched. This may have something to do with the batsmen relaxing/looking to get after Root more, but slightly worrying still.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Mike Selig on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:48 pm

Think that was to do with a lot of things:
- Tredwell's fingers were probably a bit tired. He'd bowled a fairly long spell already.
- Batsmen relaxed a bit against Root
- conversely I suspect the West Indies view Tredwell as one of the major threats
- Root's lower trajectory was well suited to the type of pitch this has become
- Tredwell bowled a bit slowly

I think it's worth remembering that Tredwell is not really the type of bowler who is going to run through a side with ripping turners. This is not to do him a disservice but he is more the type of bowler who is going to keep things quiet, work over, coax and tease a batsman into making a mistake. He has so far played his part extremely well but England would do well not to put too much pressure on him and not expect him to take all the wickets.

I think Tredwell should bowl a bit quicker on average tomorrow, and remain patient. It only takes one ball...

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 10:50 pm

Proper test cricket this
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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by guildfordbat on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 11:27 pm

Mike Selig wrote:
...
I think it's worth remembering that Tredwell is not really the type of bowler who is going to run through a side with ripping turners. This is not to do him a disservice but he is more the type of bowler who is going to keep things quiet, work over, coax and tease a batsman into making a mistake. He has so far played his part extremely well but England would do well not to put too much pressure on him and not expect him to take all the wickets.

...

Exactly.

Put another way, some may say that Tredwell is a poor man's Swann. Even so, that again is not to do Tredwell a disservice as we tend to forget how immensely rich in value Swann was. I was keen for Tredwell to come into the Test side upon Swann's immediate retirement and am pleased that he has at last had the opportunity. Probably the biggest difficulty Tredwell has now is that he has set expectations too high through his performance in the first innings.

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by dummy_half on Fri 17 Apr 2015, 7:26 am

Interestingly poised game: 90 overs, 8 wickets or 340 runs.

Very unlikely the Windies will chase down the total - if they do, fair play to them. More likely they will be looking to bat through the day without chasing runs. Certainly possible on this wicket, which doesn't appear to have any demons.

I think England are just favourites - scoreboard pressure will mount through the day and the Windies have had a habit of folding under pressure in recent years. I suspect at some point in the day there will be a flurry of wickets that turns it our way.

As for England's declaration, I think they got it pretty close to perfect. Maybe a case for coming in 20 runs earlier, which would have been 3 overs, but certainly no more than that as the target would have been too gettable (at least on a runs per over basis).

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Re: West Indies v England 1st Test - Antigua

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 17 Apr 2015, 8:41 am

dummy_half wrote:Interestingly poised game: 90 overs, 8 wickets or 340 runs.

Very unlikely the Windies will chase down the total - if they do, fair play to them. More likely they will be looking to bat through the day without chasing runs. Certainly possible on this wicket, which doesn't appear to have any demons.

I think England are just favourites - scoreboard pressure will mount through the day and the Windies have had a habit of folding under pressure in recent years. I suspect at some point in the day there will be a flurry of wickets that turns it our way.

As for England's declaration, I think they got it pretty close to perfect. Maybe a case for coming in 20 runs earlier, which would have been 3 overs, but certainly no more than that as the target would have been too gettable (at least on a runs per over basis).

Largely with you there, Dummy. I too make England favourites. I'm a bit more bullish than you and would put them somewhere in that middle ground between ''just'' and ''clear'' favourites.

I doubt that the West Indies will go for the runs. If they do, they'll be likely to start giving away wickets. On the other hand, I question their temperament to bat out the day.

A good decision though by the West Indies - almost certainly made by Simmons rather than Ramdin - imo not to send in a nightwatchman. Even when a nightwatchman survives the final overs of the evening session, he often falls early the next day to give the bowling side a fillip and make the scoreboard look more precarious. England don't have that to look forward to.

Wasn't watching the final session so hard for me to properly judge the declaration but it seemed about right. Cook doing ok so far in this Test but I'm sure he'll be a hero or a fool in a few hours' time ....

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