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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Andrew Flintoff
Flintoff was at his tireless best, pounding to the wicket and hurling the ball down at full pace

Jonathan Agnew

They used to call days like this 'one for the purist'.

That can hardly be the case now because of the referrals which continue to have the traditionalists spluttering, but an attritional day full of maidens and in which only 192 runs were scored was not often high on entertainment.

It had its moments, though, and England stuck to their task pretty well in broiling heat, while the West Indies, having been 220-1, will feel they missed an opportunity to rack up a match-winning lead.

Although Stuart Broad finished with the best figures, it was Andrew Flintoff who England captain Andrew Strauss turned to the most.

Flintoff was at his tireless best, pounding to the wicket and hurling the ball down at full pace despite there being nothing in the pitch for him.

He blew himself out before the second new ball was taken, and it was at this point that Broad took two key wickets when Chris Gayle nicked into his stumps for 104 and the hapless Xavier Marshall fell lbw two balls later.

This got England back into the game and although Monty Panesar only picked up a wicket late in the day, his accuracy at least created pressure and scoring was extremely difficult.

606: DEBATE
putrevus (U3463696)
This match might appear destined for a draw, but I would still take the West Indies position over England's.

They can build their lead on the fourth day, leaving England having to bat at least until lunch on the final day to be safe.

Needless to say, there will be a number of cricket fans who harbour doubts about their ability to do that.

It was another interesting day on the referrals front with Gayle benefiting when a verdict of caught behind down the leg side when he was on 85 was overturned.

Again, the time it took to go through the process was too long, but the right conclusion was reached in the end.

It will probably be more relevant to assess the system later in the series when the Hawk-Eye technicians have speeded up the crucial role they play, and we have possibly seen some bad decisions overturned rather than the marginal ones we have had so far.

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see also
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England


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