It was a warm a cloudy Saturday at Lord’s. A day for happy English cricket campers to come and absorb some cricketing action. Chelsea is playing Bayern Munich today and one was expecting a personality vacuum today, but no such thing. Fans turned up in decent numbers wondering if Andrew Strauss would go on to make a monumental century (or even make his first ever double century) and if England will put in enough runs on the board to not have to come back and bat the second time..
England resumed at 259/3 – 16 runs ahead of the West Indies. In the past, whenever Andres Strauss resumed an overnight century, never made more than 6 runs more. Will he beat the beast (of superstition today) is what commentators and analysts wondered.
He started cautiously, leaving the deliveries outside of off alone, even though Fidel Edwards got close to the stumps on more than a couple of occasions. Ian Bell though started off scintillatingly, with a boundary. Strauss’ curse continued as he fell to a fantastic delivery by Kemar Roach. Roach’s delivery whizzed past Strauss, getting a faint knick. The umpires were undecided and went to the third umpire. Strauss was given out after the HotSpot detected the knick.
Jonny Bairstow walked out, making his test debut, fulfilling a family dream. Everything from the first delivery he faced, to his first runs, were brilliantly cheered by the fans. Bairstow fell for 16, LBW, but his stance and technique look great. If this lad keeps his focus, we might just be seeing a future star.
Matt Prior, who walked in to a large applause, has moved a position down to accommodate Bairstow. Prior fell when England’s score was at 320 to Gabriel, followed by Bresnan for nought to captain Darren Sammy – the Windies seem to have done some hard thinking overnight. Previous innings’ bowling hero Broad walked out. Broad hasn’t come good with the bat since his century against Pakistan a couple of years back. He was taken for 10, clean bowled by Edwards. Swann fell at 397 after a swashbuckling 30. And England were eventually sent home after Bell, who made 61 was caught by Powell of Gabriel.
Come to think of it, if it wasn’t for Strauss’ contribution to this English inning seems to be more important now. Subtract his 122 from the score and there’s little to choose from either teams’ batting.
West Indies started marginally better than their first innings, but lost their first wicket Barath at 31. Broad’s much anticipated hat-trick ball hardly caused any problems to the Windies though. Powell fell at 36 and vice captain Kirk Edwards fell for the same score (run out thanks to some good fielding by Bairstow) and West Indies went to tea.
After tea, West Indies’ first innings savior Chanderpaul had a close edge past slip, but survived. Just when Chanderpaul and Bravo were attempting to rectify the innings, Swann managed to get Bravo’s timber and the fourth wicket fell. Chanderpaul slowed things down , displaying a solid, wall-like defense. He was rapped on the pads by Bresnan with the score at 108. The umpires went upstairs and Chanderpaul survived.
At the end of the day, West Indies walked back at 120/4, with Chanderpaul and Samuels both getting decent starts. England still has a lead of 35 runs. Their goal tomorrow will be to try and get the Windies out for less than hundred, while the Windies are desperately going to try to save the match.