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Page last updated at 22:31 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

WI v England, First Test day one as it happened

First Test, Kingston (day one, close):
West Indies v England 236-5

Kevin Pietersen fell three runs short of his 16th Test hundred as England stuttered on day one of the first Test against the West Indies in Jamaica.

The ex-captain came to the crease with England reeling at 30-2 inside 10 overs after Andrew Strauss elected to bat.

He put on 86 with Andrew Flintoff (43 not out) but perished top-edging Sulieman Benn to keeper Denesh Ramdin.

Spinner Benn (2-64) was the pick of the home bowlers, receiving fine support from Chris Gayle and Daren Powell.


By Tom Fordyce

e-mail (with 'For Tom Fordyce' in the subject), text 81111 (with "CRICKET" as the first word) or use 606. (Not all contributions can be used)


2217: Eng 236-5
Meandering. Going through the motions. Dotting the i's, crossing the t's. Six balls, six dotters. And that's that - the England players are offered the light and accept it at pace. Short of fireworks, today, but a decent recovery from England after being 94-4.

Thanks for the good times, apologies once again for the radio silence during the afternoon. It hurt me as much as it hurt you, honestly. See you around the 1415 mark Thursday.

2212: Eng 236-5
Edwards again, and this pitch is has all the spiciness of a slice of Mother's Pride - he slams one in short, and the ball barely reaches Fred's knees. Three singles.

2207: Eng 233-5
Powell tries to bounce Fred, but the pitch is so slow that the ball sits up like a volley at the net. Fred has his bat almost vertical as he pats it down. One for 'What Happened Next'? Possibly not, on reflection. It's been that kind of day. Four overs to go

2203: Eng 232-5
Fidel Edwards, who seems to have been struggling a touch with a mystery injury, returns for only his eighth over of the day. A rapid shortish one down leg is thinned away by Freddie just past the desperate dive of Ramdin for four fine, and a single follows from a fuller in-dipper. That's the 50 partnership - slow runs, but crucial ones.

2158: Eng 227-5
That's good running from Prior - a flip off the toes down to deep square leg, and a speedy sprint through for the two. Still no sign of the new ball, but the old one disappears through the covers at pace as the England stumper takes a big pace forward and flays a half-volley away with maximum style.

2151: Eng 221-5
In one of the least remarkable overs I can remember in Test cricket, Fred treats five balls with exaggerated caution and then shovels the final one gently through midwicket for a single. Not one to recall to the grandkids.

2145: Eng 220-5
Maiden from Gayle in the time it takes me to type this sente...

From Stella Keel, TMS inbox: "Re Prior going home for the delivery: Bad Idea. On past form Prior doesn't always watch the delivery carefully, and if it pops out to him then he could drop it. Oh dear."

2142: Eng 220-5
Singles left, right and centre, plus a no-ball. The new ball's now there in the shop window for Skipper Gayle, but he looks like he's readying himself for a touch more tweak.

2138: Eng 215-5
33 overs on the bounce from Benn, and after shipping a mere single he's greeted with a blast of Chumbawumba over the PA system. Harsh - very harsh.

2134: Eng 214-5
Fred's now been brought a brace of arm-guards to choose from. He pulls one over the bruised area as Prior jabs down at a replica yorker, and then gets his front stick outside leg as Taylor tries another toe-crusher. Partnership up to 34.

2129: Eng 209-5
Brief hiatus while Fred has some ice spray aimed at a nasty lump at his forearm by the England physio - looks like he wore a rapid one from Taylor in that last over. Benn then twirls away, Prior angling another down through the gully for a two pulled back off the ropes by the rapid Nash. On the Prior pregnancy angle, could he not bring Mrs P out to the Windies to do the shelling Caribbean style?

2122: Eng 207-5
Prior runs the ball down to third man for a streakyish four and then jabs down on Taylor's yorkeroo to pick up another single. Apparently England's stumper will fly home after the third Test if his wife gives birth to their first child then, as expected. What would you do in that situation - head off to be with the love of your life, or stick it out for another Test with England?

From Malley in Reading, TMS inbox: "RE. Kev 2057: Yes because what England really need in a captain is someone who can get out for 7 rather than 97."

2118: Eng 202-5
Fred gets squared up for the millionth time by Benn's away-tweaker and outside-edges along the ground towards point. 2-61 off 31 consecutive overs from the leviathan left-armer.

From Jon in Wales, TMS inbox: "Re Kev, Bury 20:57: Typical Pietersen. Scores more runs than rest of top 5 put together whilst entertaining the crowd and is immediately pilloried by the watching English public who can't forgive his combination of talent and self-belief."

2109: Eng 202-5
Good times, Pran, good times. Prior aims a big drive at Taylor and gets a lardy outside edge through point for two after a swivelling pull for the same. A no-ball brings up the England 200 in fitting fashion. We'll have a break for beverages - Big Benn deserves a tall one.

By Pranav Soneji

2104: Eng 193-5
Freddie nabs a single off the first ball of Jerome Taylor's over, but Matt Prior has no such luck, although Shivnarine Chanderpaul makes a useful stop at point to stop a well-struck square cut from scampering to the boundary. Big Benn hops, skips and jumps in for another maiden over. And for all you Tom Fordyce fans, he's back. See you at the weekend...

2057: Eng 192-5
Benn ambles in for his 29th successive over, someone strap that man's arm up with duct tape. Matt Prior scores his first runs with a cut down to deep point.

Kev, Bury via the TMS inbox: "Typical Pietersen, and the best example of why he should not be captain of England. He has to try and smack the leather off the ball to get the glory ton. Instead he leaves Flintoff to struggle with keeper and bowlers. That partnership was developing well and could have been a biggie, and I'm sure a more responsible player would have been aiming for a big hundred to help steer the team through to 400. England will be lucky to hit 250. A very good and hard-working 97 it may be but its not match-winning!"

2054: Eng 190-5
We have a pace revival as Jerome Taylor makes his eagerly-awaited comeback and the Jamaican has two huge lbw appeals against Andrew Flintoff turned down by umpire Rudi Koertzen. The first looks mighty close, but Rudi says there was willow before pad while the second was heading leg-side. Good return, maiden over.

ManUnited2008 on 606:
"Would you rather KP make 97 and get out because of a stupid shot or would you rather him making four runs a la Cook and get out because of a stupid shot?"

2048: Eng 190-5
More darts from Chris Gayle, who is officially the text commentator's least favourite cricketer for his rapid overs, as Flintoff milks three from the over. Bit of responsibility now on Fred, who collects exactly the same number of runs from Benn's over to move to 26.

Wicket falls
2040: Eng 180-5 WICKET Pietersen ct Ramdin b Benn 97
Chrissy Gayle and his laconic offies concede two runs but we have FIREWORKS in the next over (not literally, obviously). Kevin Pietersen launches into Benn's 27th over. Think Batman - POW! Front foot through the covers from the first ball. WHAM! Second ball is thumped right back over the bowler's head for boundary number two. KERPLANG! KP rocks onto one knee and absolutely marmalises a slog sweep over mid-wicket. OH DEAR. This was inevitable - Pietersen attempts to play the same shot to the fourth ball to bring up his 16th Test ton, only to top edge high and into the gauntlets of the grateful Denesh Ramdin. Hugely unnecessary, the ex-England captain trudges off, if you're a dog anywhere near the England dressing room, I would suggest moving sharpish. Matt Prior is the new man at the crease and he sees Freddie hit a lovely drive through cover for four. 184-5

"Maybe Steve Harmison will become a tweaker instead of a seamer for this game. How about it?! He has the height for it..."
Ewan in Dublin

2033: Eng 164-4
Fred thumps a drive down the ground, taking a well-judged single in the process of Benn. The left-armer pulls out yet another ripper, spinning viciously past Pietersen's outside edge, much to the chagrin of the bowler.
2030: Eng 162-4
If you want a job done, do it yourself. Captain Chris Gayle brings himself on for some off tweak. Flintoff greets his return with a huge slog-sweep over mid-wicket for four. Lovely shot, nice to see the old Freddie DNA has not been totally overwritten by Chris Tavare's.

2026: Eng 157-4
The Bennmeister is as mean as a bank manager right now, although the England duo manage to make a squeaky single. More interestingly, 12th man Tim Ambrose was colouring in - yes, that's colouring in - a strap on Flintoff's pad. My only reasoning is it has to do with some sort of excessive logo issue. Never seen that before.

2023: Eng 156-4
Fidel is in all sorts of bother with his front foot, sending down his third no-ball in two overs. Pietersen, however, is loving it as he spanks another cracking drive through cover for four. Fidel sticks his tongue out like a six-year-old attempting to lick the remnants of sugar stuck around his mouth after scoffing a particularly large jam doughnut. But without the smile.

2017: Eng 150-4
Benn is tidier than an English country garden, putting down six on the money which Flintoff defends without too much bother.

2014: Eng 150-4
Talking of greasy spoons, Pietersen edges a streaky drive down to third man for four off Fidel Edwards, who has a few things to say to the former England captain. Pietersen then practises an IPL mow (which probably would have reduced his reserve price for Friday's auction had it not been set at $1.35m last week) completely missing the ball, with further comments from our Fidel. KP opts for the textbook and flicks an attractive glance to fine leg for a couple, which brings up the England 150.

2009: Eng 144-4
Spanking front-foot drive from Kaypee, who caresses Benn - bowling his 23rd successive over - through extra cover for a boundary, the best shot for over two hours at least, like spying a plate of the finest Kobe beef in a greasy spoon. The pair scamper a well-taken single which brings up the 50-run partnership.

2007: Eng 137-4
Hello TMSers, I've momentarily stepped into the Fordyce seat while he goes off to eat his body weight in fried rice after watching quite possibly two of the dullest sessions of Test cricket known to man. And woman. Fidel Edwards has the well-worn cherry in hand. Pietersen nurdles a flick down to fine leg and Flintoff returns the strike, pulling an ugly short ball down to the same area, a no-ball to boot. Edwards' front foot is a good six inches in front of the popping crease. And he does the same with the last ball of the over as England collect a whopping five runs from that over.

2000: Eng 132-4
And we're off again.


1940: Eng 132-4
Six more balls of long-limbed parsimony from Benn, and that's the session done. Windies still very much on top as the Bourbons and Nices are broken out in the Sabina Park canteen. KP goes to the break on 60 off 133 - responsible stuff - with Fred on 9 off 43. Grab yourself a refresco and we'll go again in 20.

From Sarah in Nottingham, TMS inbox: "Should I be proud that my 2 year old can recognise all the England players? Or ashamed that I have indoctrinated him so young? Also the first thing he said when play started this afternoon was "Where's Owais Shah?", if a 2 year old can spot the error…"

1938: Eng 131-4
Gayle it is, and Fred - the scent of sandwiches in his nostrils - keeps his aggression housed.

From Jeff Cowell, TMS inbox: "Times being rough I understand the reluctance, but could BBC Sports offer a change of selection on the Cricket Masks link. Trying to spice up the bedroom, I've been through all 10 masks thrice now and my lady is getting a bit bored with it all, although Monty does cause a bit of a stir if I spring him on her from a dead sleep."

1934: Eng 131-4
Uh-oh - Fred's foxed by Big Benn again, a huge ripper from the big unit slicing past the outside edge, over the timbers and past Ramdin's grasping gloves for four byes. Gayle readying himself for a pre-tea wobble from the other end.

1929: Eng 126-4
Getting humid out there now, with tea just around the bend. Powell bangs one in halfway down, KP swivels happily on his back peg and crashes a meaty pull into the square leg boundary boards.

From BillyBoy, TMS inbox: "Alright Tombola? I'm curious, do you and Ms Cheese sit next to each other? I'm about to do the unthinkable and divert my attention to the footy text."

She's within a cricket bat's length of me, BillyBoy - but why divert? Simply follow this link for her tremendo football updates and return henceforthwithly when you're done. Live text - FA Cup fourth round

1925: Eng 122-4
Quick running from the beefy England pair - Fred coming through for a single as Chanderpaul dozes off in the covers, KP bagging a brace behind square and another uno to point. 1-27 off 20 for Benn now - super returns.

From Tim, TMS inbox: "Abandon ship? Never even considered that option. I just kept hammering away at the F5 key until it broke. I now have to refresh the screen with a right-click combo and will be swapping keyboards with an un-suspecting colleague at some point during the evening."

1921: Eng 118-4

That's 50
Good ding-dong action between Powell and KP - a four smashed down the ground from one just short of a length, a flashing outside edge just past gully to go to his half-century and then a huge roar from the bowler as he shoulders arms to a straighter one and survives the ell bee by a toe's width. Fred celebrates by doing the "unscrewing lightbulbs" hand-dance as a blast of Punjabi MC comes over the PA system.

1917: Eng 110-4
Funny old first day for a Windies series, this one - lots of spin, barely a bouncer to remember and as much murk as November at Headingley. KP inside-edges another cunning arm-ball from Benn and then dabs a single to pinch the strike.

1911: Eng 107-4
Powell buzzes in, drops short and is pulled away jerkily by Fred for his first four of the innings. Fred's sporting his new lid, as always pulled so low over his forehead that he's forced to tilt his head back towards the murky skies in order to see straight.

1906: Eng 103-4
Let-off for Fred as a loose drive off Big Benn bounces just shy of the scampering point fielder. Two balls later, another big tweaker dives past the outside edge and clears the bails by the height of a newly-hatched hummingbird. Next ball, Benn does it again. Testing times.

1900: Eng 101-4
Singles all round, and we're rather lacking vim and vigour at Sabina Park at the mo. KP up to 41, Fred to three. From the lack of email chat, I'd guess that the earlier technical shocker has led large numbers to abandon HMS BBC. Sad, but understandable.

1855: Eng 97-4
Sing hosannahs - we're back! Big Benn it is to resume proceedings, and after a prod square from Freddie for one, KP dead-bats his way through the remainder. Still grey up ahead, but it's a whiter shade of pale.

1847: I knew it - the covers are coming off. Keep things crossed - we could be up and running again in less than 10. In the meantime, eight dancers dressed in white cop-tops and hot-pants are busting saucy moves in the grandstand. The Tavern Stand it ain't.

1838: Let's pull on our optimism trousers here - the rain doesn't look to be settling in for a long innings. More of a Colly effort - a brief, slightly dull interruption that no-one will remember for long.

From Stephen Cook, TMS inbox: "My girlfriend just announced she's going out for a beer. Being the archie-typical new-age man I said I'll hold the fort here and dinner will be ready when she gets back. Much more of this though and I might just join her. Albeit in a different pub."


Rain delay
Yup - rain it is. Did I accidentally make some sort of offensive gesture at a gypsy woman on the way in today?

From Robs, TMS inbox: "If you open the live video scorecard twice you get a great echo effect on the commentary."

Yeah - we're doing a special dub remix of TMS for this series. Usual producer Adam Mountford has been replaced by Lee 'Scratch' Perry for the duration. Enjoy.


1828: Eng 96-4
With unhappy timing, a shoal of dark clouds has just drifted overhead. I think it might be raining. Yup - you've waited two hours for these updates to start working again, and within 10 minutes the weather could be closing us down again. Heavy sigh, shaking of dispirited head.

1825: WICKET - Collingwood lbw Benn 16, Eng 94-4

Wicket falls
That might be one of the worst shots I've ever seen from an England no.5. Benn serves up a fullish one, Colly aims a big hoick and is trapped bang in front. Benn deserves that, and to be fair so does Colly.

1823: Eng 92-3
Gentle sweep by Colly for two, followed by five balls of leave-alone. Interestingly, short leg appears to be wearing gloves. Is that allowed, or is he just cold?

1818: Eng 90-3
Colly shovels one round the corner as Gayle lopes in with more gentle tweak. KP tickles round the corner for a strolled two, and the sun disappears behind a wedge of grey cloud. Not that I care - we can hear each other once again, after a period of lonesome typing that almost left me a broken man.

1812: Eng 84-3
What's that? You can read these updates again? Honestly? You won't believe what you've missed - pitch invasions, some of the most incredible streaks I've ever seen, eight sixes off one over.... or Colly scratching around like a man wearing a blindfold while KP chirps encouragingly from the other end.

1809: Eng 81-3
It's almost as if word has got through to Colly that we've had a update meltdown, and he's decided not to score any runs in the interim so no-one misses out on any excitement. One off the over.

1806: Eng 80-3
Colly's playing Gayle like a man playing French Cricket - standing square-on in front of the stumps and shovelling the ball off his knees at the very last minute. It's as easy on the eye as a pair of reverse-spiked spectacles.

1804: Eng 79-3
Benn is bowling like a dream - or a nightmare, if you're a batsmen. He bends in an arm ball and nearly castles KP, and it's another maiden - 11 overs, 11 runs, 11 beatings of the bat.

1800: Eng 79-3
Another maiden from Benn, who's foxing Colly with laughable ease. His figures now read 0-11 off 10. KP aims one of those swipy sweeps at a slower one from Gayle and gets a top edge which falls tantalisingly between the two fielders behind square. Daft shot, but he picks up another run. Colly then races to five off 30 balls with a dabber to leg.

1756: Eng 74-3
Now then - history in the making, possibly - Gayle traps Collingwood with an in-tweaker, umpire Rudi Koertzen turns down the lbw appeal - and Gayle asks for a referral.* There's a breathless wait as third umpire Daryl Harper scrutinises the television replay.... and gives it not out.

* A what, you might ask? The referrals system allows a batsman to challenge an umpire's decision if they are given out. The decision will then be reviewed by the replay official who will consult the on-field official - but the on-field official has the final say. But each side is allowed only two unsuccessful challenges per innings.

1750: Eng 73-3
Seems like the go-slow has spread from this website to the match itself - we haven't had a single run in the four overs since lunch. Is this the beginning of the end?

From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "I took some of my kids out sledging for a while after school. We had a great time but couldn't believe it when the police approached us and threatened us with an ASBO, just for crouching behind people in a curved line and casting doubt on the marital status of their parents at their conception, and suggesting they're rubbish at batting. This country's in a right state if you can't take your kids out for a bit of innocent fun without the PC brigade getting on to you."

1744: Eng 73-3
Welcome back, although I might as well shout that from the roof - the technical problems are back, I'm told, and battering the entire BBC website, to the extent that no-one can read anything any of us are writing - unless you're accessing this on your mobile. So, with a strange sense of freedom, let me say this: Big-Man Benn gets more huge turn to beat KP comprehensively outside off. Maiden.


1701: Eng 73-3
Lord alive - England were a slice of a millimetre away from disaster there - Benn rips one past KP's prod, and if there was daylight between ball and bat there, it was the slimmest slice I've ever seen. KP and Colly survive, however, and that'll be luncheon.

1656: WICKET - Bell c Smith b Gayle 28, Eng 71-3
Just as the lunchtime sandwiches are being un-clingfilmed, Gayle strikes - pushing through a quicker one, Bell is a fraction late jabbing his bat down and Devon Smith takes a sharp snag at slip. Big wicket for the Windies, and it's been their morning without a doubt now...

1652: Eng 69-2
Gasp - KP drives loosely at Benn and escapes by a skinny whisker as an outside edge flies past a grasping slip. Benn is so long-limbed that he could almost reach out and ruffle KP's new beard in his delivery stride.

1652: Eng 69-2
KP sweeps clunkily to get his pardner back in the firing-line - and with a dab into the covers, Bell notches up his milestone. Almost no-one in the ground notices.

1648: Eng 66-2
Some lovely tweak being served up here from Mr Benn. He's drifting them in to the eyes-wide Bell and then turning them away just as the England man lunges forward. Bell needs one more for his 3,000 Test run, apparently. Fingers crossed. Looks like Chris Gayle is preparing for a dabble at the other end. Twin spinners before lunch on the first day at Sabina Park? Truly we are living through incredible times.

1642: Eng 66-2
What's that? The IT department say we're up and running again? And they expect me to be grateful, having denied the nation its cricket for the past 40 minutes? Bell waits on a drifter from Taylor and uses the pace to guide it through midwicket for an effortless four. 27 from 56 balls for the beleaguered no.3; 26 from 41 for the vengeful KP.

Thanks for all the emails accusing me of falling asleep at the wheel/popping off to buy a 99 Flake. Oh yea of little faith. "Fordyce your commentary is useless," eh, Henry Trotter via email? That hurts, Trottster, that hurts.

1637: Eng 60-2
Taylor tears in to KP and is battered back down the ground with beautiful ease for four. Palms meet in appreciation on the England balcony. In the stands, a man who looks a little like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull suns himself while adjusting his close fielders in his faded board-shorts.

1631: Eng 55-2
I can't apologise enough for this disastrous technical woe. They can put a man on the moon etc etc. Mind you, they don't put men on the moon any more. Maybe that's where they're going wrong - lack of ambition. Great delivery from Mr Benn, and KP was nearly back in the hutch there - the ball turned and spat from middle and ended up an inch outside off. Nasty business.

1629: Eng 54-2
Scamperer of a single from KP before Bell is kept honest by the remaining five. Bell's barely scored a run since KP strode onto the stage. Interesting.

1622: Eng 52-2
I'm told these updates aren't getting through to all of you. I apologise, if that wasn't absolutely pointless since can't you read this anyway. First the scoreboard, now this - they're already calling this "Live Text Commentary's Day Of Shame". Bell drives Mr Benn uppishly for two.

1618: Eng 50-2
It is, you know. If you've not seen Mr Benn in action before, he's got the classic build of a great fast bowler. Expect he bowls left-arm off-spin. After his first delivery bites and turns, he drops a fraction short and gets flayed to the cover fence by the imperious Pietersen. The next one looks to be heading in the same direction, but KP's eyes slip off the prize and he almost thins a skinny one through to Ramdin. Gasps of horror to my right and left.

1612: Eng 46-2
That's nice from Powell - menace in the high 80s in the tempter zone outside off. Bell tugs his blade away until an inside edge from a late in-dipper cannons into his front pad. Ouch. Now then - is that the enormous Sulieman Benn limbering up for a tweak at the other end?

1606: Eng 46-2
Edwards, with that Malingaesque arm action, flings one right into the slot and is middled with dreamy ease by KP straight back past the stumps for a photograph-that four. What a shot. If it wasn't tempting fate in the most foolhardy way, I'd say the ex-skipper is in sensational form out there - but it would be, so I won't.

From Kevin, TMS inbox: "Has anyone else noticed that on the right hand side of the screen under "See Also" is the title: Englands Biggest Obstacle - Cricket. Judging by this start I think you might have a point."

1601: Eng 40-2
KP blinks in the bright sunshine and then calls a halt to proceedings as a small piece of paper blows across the square. Maybe it's a cheque from the Rajasthan Royals. Powell drifts down leg and KP creams him away to the square leg fence with swashbuckl... I'm sorry. That's drinks.

From Anonymous via text on 81111: "Thanks for your coverage. I am currently in Milan airport, sitting next to a man who obviously is not aware of deodorant, while I contemplate another five-hour wait until my flight back to England which should have left Monday but couldn't because it snowed a bit."

1557: Eng 35-2
Attempted yorker from Edwards, which KP klips legwards for a strolled two. If you've not seen his face recently, KP has grown a 'tache-heavy faux-beard which makes him look a little like a cricketing pirate. Expect a rush of 'swashbuckling' and "flashing blade" comments shortly.

1551: Eng 33-2
Extraordinary - KP walks to the middle, takes off his gloves and pulls up his shirt to reveal the words "SACK ME, WOULD YOU?" tattooed across his midriff. Not really - I'm joking. He twiddles his bat, pops Edwards away for the usual dicey single to get off the mark and then ostentatiously practises his forward defensive at the non-striker's end.

1546: WICKET - Cook c Sarwan b Powell 4, Eng 30-2

Wicket falls
What was that? Dear oh dear - Cook, becalmed like Crusoe, tries to pull a short lifter, gets it bang on the splice and lofts the easiest catch in the history of the world straight to mid on. Calamitous stroke - and you know who that brings to the crease...

1543: Eng 30-1
Little jab into the covers from Cook to move his tally along to four. Bell stays watchful to Taylor's testers and then steps into a full one to drill it sweetly to the long off boundary.

1537: Eng 25-1
Did I say run machine? Powell tears in for his first over of the series and stamps down on the brakes with a large size 10. Maiden.

From Rhys, TMS inbox: "RE. 1526 - Correct Steven, you're not one to make gut reactions - that was more of a knee-jerk reaction."

1531: Eng 25-1
Who dared doubt the run machine that is Ian Ronald Bell? Taylor drifts down leg and is flipped behind square for four more. 12 runs off eight balls from England's all-conquering number three, an early candidate for one of Wisden's cricketers of the year. Fear us, Ponting, fear us...

By the way - I'm told our match scoreboard has been misbehaving. It's now been disciplined by my colleagues in the IT department and should be working again shortly. Early talk is of a loss of match fee following allegations that it was out late last night with the picture gallery.

1526: Eng 18-1
Now then - expectation sits on Bell's shoulders like an overweight elephant. He flicks two fullish ones into the vacant midwicket acres for a brace of singles and then drives straighter for three more. Pressure - what pressure?

From Steven, TMS inbox: "I'm not one to make gut reactions…BUT…sack Strauss I say."

1517: WICKET - Strauss c Ramdin b Taylor 7, Eng 8-1

Wicket falls
He's gone this time - another angler across the left-hander, a little tickle outside off and it's straight down the 'keeper's throat. Joy in the Windies ranks, uproar in the Sabina stands, and Strauss trudges off trailing his bat behind him, eyes staring at the sunny skies above. Is that the start of the mockers?

1512: Eng 8-0
Whoo - argh! Taylor whistles one across Strauss, the new skipper chases it with eyes-shut abandon and the edge flies straight to Marshall at third slip - who spills an absolute dolly. Goodness me. Strauss rubs chunky salt in the raw wounds by driving fuller one back down the ground for the first fence-slapper of the day, and when he follows it up with another for two, Taylor strides off with a face like like tropical thunder.

1506: Eng 2-0
Fidel Edwards from the other end, and Cook plops forward to nudge the first run of the series into the covers. Strauss deflects to leg for one of his own before Cook keeps his blade in its scabbard for the remainder.

From Paul Wileman, TMS inbox: "Oh god bless the return of TMS. Sometimes I wonder if watching the live updates is better than actually watching the cricket, apart from being in Barbados to watch the 3rd test live, which I will be, but then who isn't??"

1502: Eng 0-0
Oh my giddy... Jerome Taylor canters in to Skipper Strauss, and there's an edge first ball - which falls just short of second slip. Gulp, bead of perspiration appears on brow, sweaty palms wiped on jeans. The next five continue a fizzing arc from right arm over across the leftie and are left alone with judicious judgement.

1458: Right - hold onto your keyboard and mouse mats - I mean mice mats - the Windies players are out, Cook and Strauss are jogging towards the middle and we're almost off.

1450: A little statistic for you to chew on as Cook and Strauss strap on the arm-guards and visit the smallest annex of the dressing-room for the last time: the Windies have only won two of their last 30 Test matches, and lost 17 of them. The mockers thus placed on the tourists, I'll sit back and wait for the inevitable England collapse.

From Emma in Aberdeen, TMS inbox: "Only 90 minutes until work is over, then I shall run as quickly as the snow and my clumsiness allows back home to make sure I miss as little of the text commentary as possible. It's days like this that bring back glorious memories of a sun-soaked St Kitts and Scotland playing the worst one-day cricket ever in 2007 World Cup. Sigh."

1440: Some consternation on the emails about the inclusion of Ian Bell at the expense of 'Midnight at the' Owais Shah. Understandable, I'd say - the incumbent needs a good knock later on. As does Colly, to be fair. The pitch looks like it should help them, though - dry, flattish, no early signs of that nasty shininess which heralds finger-breaking bounce.

From Mick in TMS inbox: "Ahhh - Test Match cricket. You are back! And in the Caribbean too. Once I have finished work I shall lock myself in a room where I cannot see the snow, turn the heating up, pour myself a rum and coke and listen to the sounds of the Windies. Either that or the sounds of England taking 2 days to try and get Chanderpaul out."

1429: And now for the toss - Skipper Strauss calls it correctly, and he opts for a joust with the bat. Big news for England, that - the pitch looks a beauty. "Good toss to win, I think," says a smiling Strauss. "The guys are chomping to get out here," he adds, possibly referring to a pre-match snack the rest of team are enjoying in the dressing-room.

1428: Other team news for you - Ryan Sidebottom is in, as is Monty and Stuart Broad.

1425: Breaking team news for you - Freddie is fit and plays. Repeat - Freddie is fit and plays.

1415: Good day all. Three feet of snow? A face-ripping Arctic wind? Ice underfoot as treacherous as Guy Fawkes? Not in Jamaica. Oh no. It's a freckle-inducing 28 degrees, the sky overhead is a watercolour blue and we're set for a mouth-watering afternoon of Test match magic. C'est superbe.

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see also
Pietersen knock steadies England
04 Feb 09 |  England
Pietersen defends shot selection
04 Feb 09 |  England
West Indies v England photos
04 Feb 09 |  England
England's biggest obstacle
03 Feb 09 |  Cricket
Pietersen is still the main man
27 Jan 09 |  England
Windies cricket falls on hard times
26 Jan 09 |  West Indies
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England

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