Fourth Test, Barbados (day two, stumps):
West Indies 85-1 v England 600-6dec
Ravi Bopara marked his first Test since 2007 with a maiden century as England posted 600-6 declared on day two of the fourth Test against West Indies.
James Anderson removed West Indies captain Chris Gayle lbw after a TV referral but Ramnaresh Sarwan and Devon Smith saw the hosts to stumps at 85-1.
Bopara (104) shared stands of 149 with Collingwood (94) and Tim Ambrose (76no) before the tourists declared.
After England resumed the day on 301-3, Kevin Pietersen fell early for 41.
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2135: So that's that then. Two days down, a hatful of runs for England, and a burgeoning fightback from the West Indies in that final session. So what can we expect from the next three days? A West Indian run-fest, a clatter of wickets from England's quicks, or simply more inebriated, unintelligible chanting from the legendary Barmy Army? One thing you can put your house on - Pranav Soneji will be here to talk you through the next two days. Jubbly.
"The odd part of today is that you feel it's England's day - Bopara's hundred, good knocks from Collingwood and Ambrose, and then the wicket of Gayle. But you get the impression the Windies will be quite content in the dressing room because this pair look good and it's hard to see where 20 wickets are going to come from for the tourists."
Vic Marks on TMS
WEST INDIES INNINGS
2131 - West Indies 85-1 - STUMPS
Graeme Swann with the last over before stumps and Devon Smith takes the opportunity to lash him to the point boundary second ball, prompting a rather indignant look from the Notts spinner. Scoring a boundary off the last over of the day - how very rude.
2127 - West Indies 81-1
Stuart Broad goes over, round and under (all right, I made that last one up) the wicket in an attempt to unsettle Smith and Sarwan, but it has little impact and three runs come from the over. One over until the close now I guess?
"Honestly, Steve Harmison should be playing here. We need someone who can get it past the low-80s."
Cricketing_stargazer on 606
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2123 - West Indies 78-1
Sarwan ticks the Windies' score nearer towards the 100 mark with an off-side punt that brings up four runs, while even more worrying for England fans is the sight of Graeme Swann pulling up in his delivery stride and feeling his ankle - it looks like he may have trod on a television cable. He gets through the over but he doesn't look comfortable - England need him to be injured like the Barmy Army need a ban on booze and sun cream.
2120 - West Indies 74-1
More accurate fare from Stuart Broad and again he gets excited when one nips in a bit to Devon Smith, the left-hander only saved by a thick inside-edge. Two singles from the over, 10 minutes until stumps.
2116 - West Indies 72-1
Nice action, flight and pitch from Graeme Swann but Sarwan and Smith swat him away like they would a fly in the summer sun. This West Indian pair look so in control here, you could be forgiven for thinking they are operating all aspects of this game via an intricate system of levers and pulleys. Though I'm sure they'd give themselves more boundaries if that were the case. Unless they wanted to avoid detection, of course, mwahahaha (evil laugh).
"Ramnaresh Sarwan can't have been in better form than this in recent years, ever since he's come to the crease he's looked masterful. He had a torrid time in New Zealand recently, too, so he's hungry."
Vic Marks on TMS
2112 - West Indies 71-1
Rolex timing from Ramnaresh Sarwan as the Windies number three sends a decent enough Stuart Broad delivery packing to the long-off boundary. Broad responds by taking out second slip and putting in a short mid-off, and going around the wicket and it keeps Sarwan in check for the rest of the over.
2107 - West Indies 67-1
Maiden to Swann, who again gets a bit of spin and bounce out of the footholes bowling to the left handed Smith.
2105 - West Indies 67-1
Much better from Stuart Broad - Notts's finest getting one to rip through Sarwan's gate and narrowly over the stumps early in the over and then deceiving Devon Smith with a doozy of a slower ball that the left hander is fortunate to see spoon into no-man's-land. Two singles off that over, Smith 30 not out, Sarwan 29 not out.
"I'll say it again, Chanderpaul will bat until Christmas on this surface. Anyone available over there to lock him in the toilet?"
LillywhitePhoenix on 606
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2100 - West Indies 65-1
Graeme Swann - he of the floaty-bits-of-bone-in-his-elbow fame - will get his chance to twirl away now, and Sarwan welcomes him with the most delightful of late flicks down to fine leg for a couple. Swanny gets excited when Sarwan plays leg side again later in the over inches past Alastair Cook at short leg, before Devon Smith latches on to a long hop to grab a couple. Liquorice all-sorts, that over, but one delivery did at least show a bit of grip which might be encouraging.
2056 - West Indies 60-1
Stuart Broad is finally let off the leash with the ball... and he responds by sending down a couple of looseners, both of which are bludgeoned to the boundary by 'Rampant' Ramnaresh Sarwan, on through the covers and one through point. The blonde bombshell tightens up for the rest of the over, mind, but you can't bowl there - on this pitch - to Sarwan.
2051 - West Indies 51-1
Sarwan grabs three more off another over from Sidebottom that promises much but delivers little. A bit like, erm, every Al Pacino movie since Godfather II bar Scarface and Heat, then. (Throws cat among the pigeons and runs... again).
"Re: Wicket at 2010 - the 'goddim' sounds like a bill laurie exclaimation. I would like to see the full version please: 'Heez goddim... goddim... yes... heez gone yes heez gonnnnnnn.'"
Goff, Toronto via the TMS inbox
2043 - West Indies 48-1
Oh yes, fetch that son. Devon Smith throws the kitchen sink, strapped to an anvil, at a wide Jimmy Anderson half volley, and it crashes against the advertising hoardings like a rocket. In cartoon world that would have created a comedy-shaped hole in said hoardings and continued on its path, on fire, and followed by a trail of sparks. Sort of. Anyway, drinks!
"Good start, this. Now we should be targeting Chanderpaul. I mean after we've targeted Smith, Sarwan, Hinds, Nash, Ramdin and er, the tailenders, not to forget them too. Well I mean, you know, we need to get them all out if we are to have a chance of winning this, right?"
Stephen R Cook via the TMS inbox
2037 - England 43-1
Ryan Sidebottom will get another over - but twice Sarwan punts away off the back foot to grab four off the over. Sid has completely failed to hit his straps so far. Meanwhile, TV shots reveal a particularly sozzled England reveller, who has not only clearly had too much falling down water, but also decided to take the sun on for all its worth without sun cream. That man is going to be in pain tomorrow.
2032 - West Indies 38-1
If Chris Gayle's dismissal was something of a kick in the teeth for the Windies, the form of Devon Smith is postively a kiss and a cuddle, for the left-handed opener is finding the middle of the bat almost every delivery. A delicious cover drive goes for four - despite Ravi Bopara's desperate dive - to begin the over and that's one of a number of cracking shots he's managed so far. It's not so comfortable for Ramnaresh Sarwan just yet, the number three edging agonisingly short and wide of Kevin Pietersen at gully, before he makes up for it with a punch down the ground for three.
2026 - West Indies 26-1
Ramnaresh Sarwan gets off the mark with a neat drive for a couple through mid-off and then pinches a single to fine leg. A Smith single ends the over and I don't see Sidebottom lasting long in the attack here, Stuart Broad is twitching like a hummingbird at short mid-off.
2022 - West Indies 22-1
More pressure-bowling from James Anderson but Devon Smith stands up well, before latching on to an attempted yorker that turns into a full toss, pumping it back down the ground for a simple boundary.
2018 - West Indies 18-1
Devon Smith cuts loose despite the loss of his skipper up the other end, tonking a beauty of a cover drive away for four, and Ryan Sidebottom with the sort of crazed angry stare that would scare the life out of, erm, no-one. Five off that over and the Notts seamer has not quite got it right yet on his return to the side.
"I have to say, that is the first time I've ever seen Chris Gayle looking angry - he's normally expressionless!"
Sir Viv Richards on TMS
2010 - WICKET! Gayle lbw Anderson 6, West Indies 13-1
Goddim! James Anderson, who has been so on the money so far this innings his face may as well have been imprinted on a £10 note, gets another ripper to pitch in line and swing back at Gayle, rapping the Windies skipper bang in front. Umpire Russell Tiffin shakes his head, but Strauss calls for the referral and TV umpire Daryl Harper says it's out. Spot on too - that was more out than Graham Norton.
2005 - West Indies 11-0
A couple of pushes down the ground bring Devon Smith four between them and not a huge amount of swing on show yet from Ryan Sidebottom.
2001 - West Indies 7-0
James Anderson, taking a leaf out of Fidel Edwards's "Book for the luckless" bowls down a beauty of an over that only yields a thick-edge from Chris Gayle that flies through gully along the ground for four. A doozy of an inswinger is dug out at the last millisecond by Gayle prior to that, while twice Jimmy A has the Windies skipper playing - and missing - at away swingers. Excellent work from the man who could easily be the sixth member of Boyzone.
"Sigh... we left it too late to declare."
AshfordTownMiddlesex on 606
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1957 - West Indies 3-0 Ryan Sidebottom, hair bobbing in the breeze like a birds nest flopping about in a tumble dryer, gets some decent shape with his left-arm seam but, with everything going away from Devon Smith, the opener is able to leave well alone, aside from a straighter one that he prods away for a couple through midwicket.
1952 - West Indies 1-0
James Anderson takes the first over and he looks to line Chris Gayle up after Devon Smith dabs away the first ball, pushing consecutive deliveries across the left-hander before swinging a straighter one back into the skipper's pads, but Gayle is wise to it and gets his bat down to cover it.
1946: I make it 25 overs to bowl today, which should take us right up to the 2130 GMT cut-off time. West Indies first target? They need 401 to avoid the follow-on. England, with their four-strong (is 'strong' the right word?) bowling attack, need 20 wickets. Where's your money? By the way, a few of you commenting on the George H-Steven W 'spat' below - puh-lease girlfriend (snaps fingers either side of face). I'm giving the benefit of doubt to both, so should you.
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"I like that, don't worry about personal landmarks or anything like that, bang, 600, we're off."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS
1937 - England 600-6 - DECLARED
Blimey! With Tim Ambrose 24 short of a second Test ton and the delivery after Stuart Broad laces Jerome Taylor over mid-off for a delightful four, Andrew Strauss says enough is enough and the declaration is called! Is it me or has the captaincy turned Straussy into a bit of a Ruthless Reggie? It's a bit like watching your frail and friendly primary school teacher suddenly erupting in furious anger and beating the naughty boy in the front row with a metre rule. I love it.
"Steven W - Anon is not the same person every time, it is short for anonymous, ie anyone who does not give their name in an email is labelled 'anon'. Therefore I'm sure those messages at 1902 and 1907 were from different people."
George H via the TMS inbox
1935 - England 595-6 A tame over containing three singles is lit up in the most unorthodox fashion off the final delivery when Stuart Broad's pull off Fidel Edwards flies off a top edge and sails away for a one-bounce four. Seven off the over. By the way - the only other time England passed 600 in the West Indies was in 1930. And they went on to make 849. Someone get the deck chairs out.
1931 - England 588-6
Right England, here's a message from your uncle Sam. I want more slap and tickle in this next half an hour than a 25-year-old's stag do. More humpty than dumpty. More swashbuckling than a Captain Bluebeard reunion party. Do it now, you know it makes sense. Anyway, England run five singles to Taylor. Thrilling stuff.
"Broad and Ambrose have a chat, and if I were his captain I'd be telling Tim Ambrose 'if you want a century, you've got seven overs in which to bring it up'."
Geoff Boycott on TMS
1920 - WICKET! Bopara c Taylor b Edwards 104, England 580-6
Ah that's a shame. Ravi Bopara, certainly not playing for his average, opens up having knocked up his century but after drilling Fidel Edwards for a beautiful one-bounce four over mid-off, he holes out to Jerome Taylor on the boundary edge pulling on another short ball. Stuart Broad strolls to the crease - his role is surely to help 'Tiny' Timmy Ambrose to get his second Test ton - and he gets off the mark with a couple off his hips first ball.
1918 - England 576-6
Bopara inches to within touching distance of a maiden Test century with a lovely lofted drive down the ground for four and a couple of singles later he faces up to Taylor needing just a single to reach three figures... and he does it! Unfortunately, the Essex boy takes the opportunity to style his hair and do the Usain Bolt-style bow-and-arrow celebration to the England balcony - oh dear.
"I wish Anon would make up his mind!! (see 1902 & 1907)"
Steven W via the TMS inbox
1913 - England 568-5
Just the one over for Sarwan after tea, then, and Fidel Edwards is back into the attack. Ambrose and Bopara work a couple of singles before a nudge off his hips from the latter bring up a wonderful hundred partnership - off just 120 balls - and takes the Essex man to within six runs of a maiden Test ton at the same time. Will England wait for Bopara AND Ambrose to get their hundreds before they declare?
"RE 1902: are people crazy saying some things are more important than cricket?!"
Anon via text on 81111
1907 - England 564-5
Geoff Boycott and Tony Cozier in the TMS commentary box are, to be quite honest, rather bored with proceedings out in Barbados and I can sort of see why. England are racking up the easiest of runs at the moment and the Windies are making no efforts whatsoever to take wickets, merely waiting for a declaration. Jerome Taylor is bowling to the most defensive of Test fields but Ambrose still picks his spot nicely, timing it wonderfully off his pads to bring up yet another boundary.
1902 - England 558-5
Ramnaresh Sarwan will continue with the ball - which should be all the encouragement England need to throw their bat at any- and everything - and Bopara and Ambrose do indeed open their shoulders, even if it only brings five singles. The intent is there, though...
"Are people crazy saying that Prior took a risk going to see his son?! Some things are more important than cricket!"
Anon via text on 81111
1841 - England 553-5 - TEA
Ambrose is in danger of over-taking Bopara at this rate, nurdling a couple off his pads before pulling Jerome Taylor away for a brilliantly-timed boundary next ball. A leg bye ends the over - and the session - and Ravi Bopara goes into tea on 88 and Ambrose 59. A blaze away for half an hour or so post tea should set England up nicely for a declaration no?
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"If I were Matt Prior I would be hurriedly putting my spongebag in my kit-bag and booking the next available flight back to the West Indies. This is exactly what he was risking when he left to see his new baby son."
Christopher Martin-Jenkins on TMS
1835 - England 547-5
Ramnaresh Sarwan comes on for a wheel away but it makes little impact on England's run-rate. And take a bow Timmy Ambrose, you may look about 12 years old but this a sterling effort. The Warks man brings up his third Test half-century with a sweep away for a single and he salutes the balcony with understandable glee - a great innings from Matt Prior's replacement. Bopara, who has been happy to let Ambrose open his shoulders, continues to edge his way to a maiden Test ton, he's now on 88 not out.
1832 - England 540-5
Jerome Taylor comes into the attack to replace Ryan Hinds and Tim Ambrose makes the most of the extra pace on the ball, punting a delightful boundary over long-on and then clipping an attempted yorker down to fine leg to end the over. He is racing towards a half century.
1827 - England 532-5
Ooh it's like a speed-dating evening out in the Kensington Oval, so abundant are the number of singles Boppy and Ambrose are serving up - five off that over and it's about this time in the day where anyone sat in the sun in Barbados contemplates necking some lager and bread fruit with a rum chaser. Or at least that's what I'd do. Not when on the clock, though, obviously - honest Mr Big Boss BBC Man.
1824 - England 527-5
Ryan Hinds will complement, for want of another word, Benn from the other end and it's six easy runs for this pair. FYI, Boppy is now 85 not out and Ambrose 37 not out.
"Jimmy G makes an inspired point (1759) about Colly and being older than him. Football is even worse as they seem to be playing younger and younger these days. For years, David Seaman was the only one older than me and so I had to forgive him that ferret on his top lip and hideous ponytail. Too late for me now I fear."
Mark Pettman via the TMS inbox
1821 - England 521-5
Sulieman Benn returns to the attack, but only with a dolly of a full toss that Ravi Bopara eases through midwicket for four, and another single ends the over.
1817 - England 516-5
What did I say about bowling short and wide of Ambrose's off stump? If only the Windies bowlers had my commentary on their mobiles in the outfield huh? In fact, maybe that's why Gayle is showing all the get up and go of a teenager on a Monday morning - he's reading this! Hello Chris! Ahem, anyway, Ryan Hinds serves one up in the slot and Ambrose lashes it away square for a four, before another short one is kerplunked over the midwicket boundary by the keeper-batsman for a six next ball. A statement of intent from Ambrose perhaps?
"RE 1745: I've always been a bit of a critic of Colly, although for the life of me I don't know why when you look at his record. I take it all back. What's more, I'm a northerner so even if his average were under 30 I should still vociferously support him."
Peter via the TMS inbox
"FS, I'll see your Scrappy-Doo and raise you a Dogtanian."
Sheero, NY via the TMS inbox
1813 - England 503-5
Ravi Bopara stirs the Barmy Army from their late afternoon rum-induced slumber with a nudge off his hips to bring up England's 500 and, with half an hour until the tea break, surely (don't call me Shirley) now this pair will start to open up? Three more come from yet another wayward Daren Powell over.
1810 - England 499-5
Fetch that! Tim 'no Ravi, you will never have the strike again' Ambrose goes down on one knee and larrups Ryan Hinds on the sweep over the rope for a maximum. More like it from England, this.
1806 - England 493-5
The Windies have clearly not watched many Tim Ambrose tapes, for if there is anywhere you don't bowl to the diminutive keeper-batsman, it's short and wide of off stump. Still, Daren Powell does just that and Ambrose takes the chance to brutalise it through the covers for four.
"RE 1747: Does anyone else think Scrappy Doo is the most irritating cartoon character in the history of television?"
FS, London, via the TMS inbox
1802 - England 488-5
Great hands from Tim Ambrose as he skips down the track to Ryan Hinds and lofts an inside-out shot over the covers and away for four. Six off the over, again, and it is clear that Windies skipper Gayle ran out of ideas pretty much immediately after Edwards's fantastic short-ball attack this morning failed to bear any fruit. Dum de dum.
1759 - England 482-5
Ravi Bopara breaks the tedium with a boundary more welcome than chewing gum at a non-smokers' convention as he pulls Edwards to backward square and away for four. A couple of singles either side edge England towards 500, with Boppy 71 not out.
"Re Collingwood: even as a daft Dutchman I'm appalled by the ongoing criticism players like Colly and Cook have to endure. Actually, scrap that, we'll trade you Kervezee and Ten Doeschate for those two!"
Jesse via the TMS inbox
"I was discussing the merits of Colly with a couple of friends last week and we concluded that as he is the only England player older than us, he has to stay in the team. If he goes we know our chance of playing for England is gone forever as we will officially be past it. Keep the dream alive Colly!"
Jimmy G in Bristol via the TMS inbox
1754 - England 476-5
Even Ravi Bopara is now becalmed and Ryan Hinds gets away with a maiden with a tame over.
1752 - England 476-5
The Kensington Oval is suddenly more subdued than a sixth form poetry assembly with Tim Ambrose feeling his way into the crease and Bopara happy to put him on strike with the odd single. Two from that Edwards over.
1747 - England 474-5
A couple from Sulieman Benn's first over after lunch and every man and his dog (all right, not the dog) has an opinion on a suitable declaration target for England. To my mind, whatever the score, a refusal to have at least an hour's bowl at the Windies tonight would show all the bravery of Scooby Doo and Shaggy holed up in a haunted house. Here's hoping Andrew Strauss is more of the 'Scrappy Doo' persuasion...
1745: By the way, a fella in my office has just pointed out to me (for he clearly has time on his hands, bless 'im) that Collingwood's current average (42.74) is better than that of Alec Stewart (39.54), Mike Atherton (37.69), Nasser Hussain (37.18) and Michael Vaughan (41.44). Is it about time we started to recognise Colly up there with the greats of our game?
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1741 - England 472-5
So where does that leave England's declaration charge? One fella in our office reckons they're targeting 600 but surely they have to give themselves at least an hour at the Windies batsmen this evening regardless of the score? Anyway, 'Tiny' Tim Ambrose gets off the mark with a lovely boundary through backward point off an over-pitched Edwards delivery, before the paceman responds with the predictable bouncer. That'll be drinks.
1735 - England 467-5
Collingwood's departure brings Tim Ambrose to the crease - and the wicket-keeper is luckier than a supermodel's boyfriend as he edges Sulieman Benn behind fourth ball, only for Dinesh Ramdin to shell a sharp chance behind the timbers. That's, what, six drops from the Windies in the innings now?
1731 - WICKET! Collingwood c Nash b Edwards 96, England 467-5
What on earth? Collingwood appears to be strolling his way to the easiest of Test centuries, deflecting a simple boundary past backward square to move to 96, before he completely loses his cool and flails injudiciously at a wide Fidel Edwards delivery, succeeding only in thick-edging to Brendan Nash at deep point. Where did that come from? A superb innings ended with a complete aberration. What a shame.
"This is why we are not winning matches!!! We need to turn the screw and UP the run rate, we are not giving ourself a chance of bowling them out twice if we keep scratching around!!"
bythebeardofmerlin on 606
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1725 - England 461-4
Spin more gentle than hands soaked in Fairy Liquid from Ryan Hinds, but England still resisting the urge to flay every delivery into the Carribbean Sea and Colly and Boppy (does that work?) milk four more ones. More singles on offer here than at Gants Hill Faces on a Friday at the moment.
1723 - England 457-4
Three singles from another blink-and-you-miss-it Sulieman Benn over, with Collingwood now 89 not out, and Bopara 60 not out.
"You can tell the age of horse by looking at it's teeth would you believe. So if any one ever gifts you a nice horse don't look in it's mouth to see if it's an old nag as this may cause offence."
Marcus, Beirut (and approximately 12,482 others) in the TMS inbox
1719 - England 454-4
A polite ripple from the Barmy Army as Paul Collingwood brings up England's 450 with a single, and this really is buffet bowling at the moment, with Colly and Bopara happy to rotate the strike and rack up five more of the easiest, risk-free runs you could imagine.
1717 - England 449-4
Maiden to Benn and Gayle will be happy enough to have slowed the run-rate, even if these spinner are showing all the threat of a shark in a sandpit.
"I'm sorry, but at the moment this match has all the intensity of a Saturday afternoon knockabout. That's my worry about Chris Gayle as Windies skipper - it's not that he switches off, he doesn't switch on!"
Geoff Boycott on TMS
1715 - England 449-4
Oh whoop-de-do, Ryan Hinds is coming on to bowl which only means one thing - spin from both ends. And we all know how much a text commentator loves that. Ahem. A couple of singles and not much else to report from that over.
1712 - England 447-4
Collingwood has clearly been reading from Andrew Strauss's book of reinvention on this tour and he is looking in delightful touch, scampering runs and slashing away at Sulieman Benn to edge England ever nearer the 450-mark.
"What does a gift horse look like and why is it so wrong to persistently look at its mouth?"
Chris (delighted its Friday) in Manchester via the TMS inbox
1709 - England 443-4
Well I suggested England would only straight-bat Brendan Nash for a while and Paul Collingwood duly proves me right, bless 'im, as he bludgeons consecutive boundaries back over the bowler's head and away for fours. Chris Gayle is showing all the verve and enthusiasm of a legless sloth here.
"The question now is how many do England want before they declare? They must bowl today, you feel, to give themselves any hope of getting 20 wickets on this pitch."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS
1705 - England 435-4
Take a bow Ravi Bopara - he was dropped on four and faced a barrage from Fidel Edwards, but has come through it all to reach a maiden half century. He brings it up with a lovely nudge off his pads for four after Collingwood pinches three with a deliberate nudge past the slip cordon, but his celebration is more reserved than the top table at every main celebrity haunt in London city centre every Friday night - he wants to go on for big runs, here, I feel.
1702 - England 426-4
Two more singles from that Nash over and Colly and Bopara - whose partnership is worth 108 now - are just keeping an eye on the Australia-born medium-pacer's doppers at the moment. I don't suspect that will last long.
1659 - England 424-4
Oh that's delightful from Colly, slapping a short and wide one from Benn past point and away for four - a rare break of the shackles against the accurate spinner.
"Pedalo??! Never, the commentary from you and Mr Dirs is far better than that. You both deserve a First Class Caribbean Cruise to get you both the Trinidad for the next Test and then it can carry on cruising round the Islands for the One-dayers too."
Gemma (in Newcastle and bored at work) via the TMS inbox
(Gemma - you are my new best friend)
1657 - England 420-4
Brendan Nash - the man who keeps things tighter than my brother's wallet when he bowls - is brought on to try to stem the tide, and he duly obliges, yielding just a single. News alert! The boundary-side pool is back open! And a bunch of pinker, more out of shape Brits you couldn't ever hope to see in one place! Genius.
"Sam, would your pedalo be one of those with a slide on the back as well?"
Andy in Tooting via the TMS inbox
(Is there any other kind? Plus it would provide Dirsy and I with an extra 'danger element' payment and/or opportunity, lovely stuff)
1652 - England 419-4
If anything is going to help England rack up the runs it's Daren Powell bowling half-volleys outside off-stump and Paul Collingwood refuses to look a gift horse in the mouth, tonking a lovely stroke the covers for four, before clipping down to third man for another next ball. A couple of singles either side ensure that over emerges with about as much credit as a teenage text-addict's mobile phone.
1647 - England 409-4
Now then, with a bit of rain still in the air, England may want to press the pedal to the metal here - even if Sulieman Benn remains as accurate as he has been. The spinner takes the first over after lunch and Collingwood and Bopara work four runs without taking any great risks.
1640: Right, the players are out and ready, the emails are back up and running, and I am happy to get back to commentating despite the fact I have received no Facebook friend requests all day. Boo to you. Oh, and for all the BBC bosses who are reading this, I can speak for both Dirsy and me and say that we would happily pedalo to Trinidad for the next Test, just give us the nod.
"Given that your colleague Tom Fordyce is cycling the 450kms from Cardiff to Paris for this evening's Six Nations game, what will you and Mr Dirs be doing in the cricketing sphere? Perhaps you could pedalo to Trinidad for the next Test? Other suggestions from anyone?"
Nigel from Plymouth
The other Tour de France - latest
1635: Hello again my lovelies. The trouble with these 1400 GMT starts is that when 'lunch' rolls around at 1600, it's too early for dinner and too late for lunch - I was all confused in the BBC canteen, I tell you, finally plumping for some crudites and humous. What's that about?! Five minutes until the restart peeps...
"Cracking partnership this and it is exactly what England will have wanted. Well, apart from Pietersen getting out, obviously..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS
"You are more "Avenue" than "Street". Not posh enough to be "Promenade" but too posh to be "Street"."
Andy (avoiding work) in Manchester via the TMS inbox
(I tell you what, I'll take that - nice one)
1603 - England 405-4 - LUNCH
Huge cheers from the English contingent as Paul Collingwood brings up both the 400 and his own half-century with a punch through midwicket for three. The ginga ninja seems somewhat embarrassed by the grand reception that provoked, but I reckon it's a suitable reaction to a delightful effort from this pairing. That or the Barmy Army have been tucking into the falling-down water nice and early. Bopara ends the over with a sublime flick in front of midwicket for a couple and that is a very nice morning's work indeed from this pair - Collingwood 52 not out, Bopara 46 not out.
Oh, and a quick update from Johannesburg, where South Africa have ended the day 85-3, still 381 runs behind Australia's first-innings 466. Who dared suggest the Aussies were a spent force in Test cricket?? I'm off for some tucker - NO EMAILS FOR HALF HOUR PLEASE!
South Africa v Australia
1558 - England 399-4
A maiden from Benn, who is commanding more respect from the England batsmen than a decorated, retired Wing Commander visiting an Old People's Home in west Sussex. Some terrible news filtering in from the Kensington Oval, meanwhile - the boundary-side pool is shut today. Those poor blighters out in Barbados must be wondering what they've done to deserve such bad luck.
"Re: 1551 Surely it should be lil sis if you were really so 'street'?"
Daniel, Manchester via the TMS inbox
1554 - England 399-4
Ooh Collingwood, a little sign of danger there - like an envelope sporting a warning against paper cuts, for example, as opposed to those skull-and-crossbones efforts you get on flammable liquids - as he drives forward but inside-edges inches past his stumps. It rolls away for a couple, though, and that three from the over put England on the brink of the 400.
1551 - England 396-4
Another Sulieman Benn over, another couple of singles. 'Nuff said. Ooh, check me out getting all 'street' - my little sister would be so proud. My father, however, would probably get the belt out so I won't be saying that again. Ahem, anyway...
1548 - England 394-4
Ravinder Bopara is really showing some class out there, this time using the pace of Powell's delivery to spank a beauty of an on-drive away for four, and three more singles make it seven from the over.
"RE: David (Edinburgh) - Quite the monarchist aren't we? A chest of gold for 50, but just a telegram from the Queen for 100!?"
Neil D via the TMS inbox
1544 - England 387-4
Close! That would have been a sight unfortunate for Paul Collingwood, the Durham man dancing down the wicket and almost punching a cartoon-style hole in Ryan Hinds at short leg with a firm punt off a length. Some days those stick, today it didn't, but no blame to Hinds there. Bopara gets the strike and responds with a rock back and punch square for a dreamy four - impressive work from both these two this morning.
1541 - England 382-4
Daren Powell comes into the attack so Fidel Edwards can rest his weary bones out on the outfield - you can almost hear the gnashing of teeth from here, I tell you - and it's decent enough as Collingwood nudges a single and no more.
"Even after that first-wicket partnership, I'd say Collingwood and Bopara are putting on one of the best partnerships Englands have had in a while in respect of the situation."
Stokell85 on 606
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1537 - England 381-4
Sulieman Benn - where was he hiding before his West Indies call huh? - continues to impress with his good action and accuracy and he restricts Bopara and Collingwood to a single apiece. No great threat, though, and with just over 20 minutes until lunch England might have a thrash for 10 minutes or so now. Or not, obviously. But I definitely think it will be one or the other. Ahem.
"To celebrate 50, flunkeys should appear with a chest of gold, for 100 a telegram from the Queen, and for 150 a scribbled note from the captain telling them to get a move on or get out."
David, Edinburgh via the TMS inbox
1535 - England 379-4
Fidel Edwards will get another over - Gayle clearly determined to thrash the life out of his paceman here - but Collingwood 'mans up' and faces out the over, grabbing a couple to midwicket and then lacing a beauty of a straight drive down the ground for four.
"I've been impressed with this pair - they've more than survived some real aggressive, short-ball bowling, they've dealt with Benn's spin, and all the while they are keeping the scoreboard ticking over. I like it."
Geoff Boycott on TMS
1529 - England 373-4
Sulieman Benn wheels away but Bopara, seemingly unaffected by that blow to the face last over, produces a delightful flick around the corner for a couple before a cut through the off side brings a couple more.
1521 - England 369-4
Fidel Edwards - fast resembling the angriest man in showbiz since Ozzy bit the head off that bat - will get another over as he looks to tear some holes in the England players, if not their stumps. Bopara is firmly in his sights, but the Essex man gets off strike first ball with a nudge to the leg side. A similar Collingwood nurdle brings up the pair's 50 partnership and Bopara back on strike - and Edwards responds by bouncing one up into Bopara's grill. The all-rounder will get some treatment here, with a nasty bruise showing itself rather promptly under his right eye... he continues though - us Essex boys are made of stern stuff I tell you - and the predictable short ball is fenced away on the pull for a single last ball.
"With all this talk of entrance music, what about celebrations when players reach 50, 100, 150 etc... anyone got any suggestions?"
Dan, Loughborough via the TMS inbox
"Regarding Sam M: I agree about the entrance music. I mean whatever next? They'll be playing matches of limited overs, finished in just the one day and wearing pyjama like clothing... And they'll call it progress!"
Owen Warne via the TMS inbox
"Re Sam M: Entrance music? Dry-ice? This sounds amazing. Maybe we can get Swann to pull a rabbit out of his helmet when he gets to the crease or pull coloured rags out the end of his bat?"
Jacob, Richmond via the TMS inbox
1514 - England 365-4
Sulieman Benn is going to have a go, now, and it's accurate enough from the spinner - no great spin, no great bounce, but England pay their respects to the big man. For now, anyway.
1512 - England 365-4
I am starting to suspect Fidel Edwards has chopped off a rabbit's foot, burned some heather and melted down a horse shoe, such is his lack of reward so far in this match - an innocuous Paul Collingwood push into the covers skips under Daren Powell's lame dive and runs away for three and Ravi Bopara then gets in on the act, spooning a mis-cued pull wide of the fielder for a couple the delivery after buckaroo-ing a beautiful maximum over the boundary rope. That's 11 off the over and Edwards's figures of 1-104 off 21 overs do him no justice at all.
1502 - England 354-4
That's more like it from Ravi - following a Collingwood slap for three to midwicket with consecutive pulls to the boundary off Jerome Taylor short balls with delightful aplomb. You get the impression Bopara needed those more than LeAnn Rimes needs you. Those bring up the England 350 and this total is building nicely again. That's drinks - brew anyone?
"What's all this about entrance music? This is cricket not darts - when a batsman enters the field I want to see a respectable stroll to the wicket with willow tucked under the arm, and maybe a few practice forward defensive strokes if he's feeling frisky! I don't want dry-ice, ludicrous props, wobbling beer guts and overblown gesticulations to the crowd!"
Sam M, London via the TMS inbox
1456 - England 343-4
With Fidel Edwards looking at a short-ball approach, Windies skipper Chris Gayle places Shiv Chanderpaul at a leg-slip position to Ravi Bopara, who is prone to deflect the ball in the air off his hips - and it almost works when the Essexman prods away for a couple just wide of 'The Wall' next ball. Another short ball is fended away by Bopara, prompting a jovial barracking from Windies giant Sulieman Benn towards the diminutive English batsman from square leg. Bit like a rottweiler barking at a dormouse that.
"What music would Sir Geoff Boycott come out to? Might I venture 'Hanging Around' by the Stranglers or 'Stuck In the Middle With You' by Stealers Wheel?"
Keith Edwards via the TMS inbox
"At long last, the TMS brigade have taken on board what has been common knowledge for some time now - England play better and win more often without Flintoff. Maybe now the "Talisman" myth will at long last be dispelled and replaced with the more correct "Jinx" nametag and they will stop bleating on every five minutes about FF this and FF that."
can'tfindmyglasses on 606
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1452 - England 340-4
That earlier scare appears to have brought about a more watchful Ravi Bopara and he keeps his bat straight and elbow high in playing out a Jerome Taylor maiden.
1447 - England 340-4
Fidel Edwards continues to rip the ball through at cracking pace and, a Bopara single aside, England's batsmen are happy to wait for him to batter the shine off the ball before the inevitable pre-lunch fireworks. Or am I just being optimistic?
1443 - England 339-4
A single apiece keep England's scoreboard ticking over before Paul Collingwood opens up his top drawer and pulls out a doozy of a pull shot, as a Jerome Taylor short-ball keeps a touch low but the Durham all-rounder times the pants off it on the swing and it races to the boundary faster than a Barmy Army member to the Oval bar at last orders.
"RE 1433: Tim Ambrose should surely therefore walk out to the oomper lumper theme?!"
George in Lancaster via the TMS inbox
1439 - England 333-4
Dropped! Ber-limey - this Windies team couldn't even catch a cold from an eskimo. Ravi Bopara is the man given a life this time, attempting a wristy flick on the pull off Edwards and succeeding only in sending it high towards Jerome Taylor - but the paceman spills the catch on the dive and the Essex all-rounder survives. Not the easiest of catches, that, but given all of yesterday's ills in the field, you would've hoped for an improved showing today...
"RE: Steve's comment about ginger ninjas. I am a ginger and would like to inform the world that we have not mastered the art of ninja per se, so much as been born with the natural ninja instinct deep within us, a bit like Curtley Ambrose with his natural bowling ability."
Chad S in Liverpool via the TMS inbox
1433 - England 329-4
Paul Collingwood - the Rocky Balboa of the cricket world in my eyes such is his survival, back-from-the-brink instinct - continues along merrily, tonking Taylor away on the pull beautifully to bring up another boundary through square leg. He moves on to 23 not out.
"Furthering the discussion started by Sam, KP should come out to "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", Freddie to "Tubthumping" (he drinks a lager drink, he drinks a vodka drink) and Strauss to that Beatles classic "Taxman" but only cos he looks like one."
Andy in Manchester via the TMS inbox
"You have to hope that the dressing room are giving Pietersen some almighty stick for referring that decision - it really was the most forlorn of appeals."
Vic Marks on TMS
1421 - WICKET! Pietersen lbw Edwards 41, England 318-4
Oh dear - Pietersen has looked more out of touch than my nan at a school disco this whole innings and he finally succumbs to a straight Fidel Edwards delivery, the ball after clipping a delightful four off his pads. For some inexplicable reason KP appeals against the decision - one can only think he hoped he had hit it - but it hit him plumb in front and it was ripping out middle three-quarters of the way up. Justice for Edwards and that brings Ravi Bopara to the crease. Bopara gets off the mark with a single and Edwards then sends a bouncer away for four byes.
1419 - England 312-3
Circumspect from Paul Collingwood as Jerome Taylor bowls down a maiden. Clouds overhead again, now, and I fear we may have those yo-yo on-off days due to rain interruptions and the like which will be almost as frustrating as rocking up to Glastonbury only to find your crate of beers have leaked all over your supply of toilet rolls.
"Why is it oft assumed that people with ginger hair have also mastered the complex martial art that is ninja?"
Steve via the TMS inbox
1414 - England 312-3
Fiddy Ed (for that is his rap name) is pushing the ball through at good pace, here, but with little swing on offer he is now testing the middle of the pitch and England are able to ride the singles. Three from that over.
"On topic of music to walk out to, I cannot help but dream of the day Sidebottom comes out, locks blowing in a light breeze, a gentle shake of his head, to Tina Turners Simply the Best."
Sam, Leeds via the TMS inbox
"RE 1357: I can see England putting up about as much fight as a lawn chair would to Giant Haystacks's backside a fairly dramatic collapse!"
Thomas M, Isle of Man, via the TMS inbox
1409 - England 309-3
A modicum of swing on show for Jerome Taylor and, the ball after clipping a couple through midwicket, Kevin Pietersen rather oddly plays unconvincingly at a fuller delivery and edges it a yard short of Chris Gayle at first slip. Bit of an escape, that, and KP again looks to have come out to bat with a bamboo stick as opposed to his usual trusty blade. Get that man a Red Bull.
1404 - England 307-3
Fidel Edwards to take the first over of the day and serves up a wide half-tracker second ball that Paul Collingwood makes no mistake in kerplunking to the boundary edge on the cut. Can we blame that on a wet ball? No, probably not. A couple of singles follow and an encouraging start to proceedings for the batsmen.
"I refer to this this matter of the proposed use of 'Audioslave's Cochise' as a type music (and I use this word loosely for deliberate ironic effect), which might best engender in the work entrant or the title fight combatant the necessary fusion of steely focus and pugilistic spirt for what lies ahead. Having taken the opprtunity to aquaint myself with both the rhythm and melody at the heart of this musical endeavour, by venturing the use the renowned YouTube electronic portal, I am inclined to say: 'No, Mr Lyon, you are talking nonsense. Try the Dies irae from Verdi's Requiem instead.'"
Paul in Lancs via the TMS inbox
"The ginger ninja to get a double century, good support from KP and Bopara, England declare 650 and WI 30-3 at stumps - any takers??"
Paul Grant, Bristol via the TMS inbox
1357: The players emerge from the dressing rooms and we're moments away from the start. The ground is by no means full but they're already making more noise than a teenage band practising their death metal covers in the family garage. Good work Barmy Army, good work.
"Strange that the third and fourth tests should end day one on the same score, is this Groundhog Day? Am I bound to spend eternity watching cricket on the telly whilst supping Budgen's Diet Coke [until the evening session you understand] whilst texting fellow cricket nuts and developing a thumb RSI which even Freddie has not had yet? If it is, I say bring it on!"
Graeme Edgar via the TMS inbox
Huzzah! Good news people - the covers are coming off and it is expected we'll have an on-time start at the top of the hour. Let's hope KP looks in a bit better touch than he did last night - credit to him for digging in at the end of the day, but at times he looked like he was holding his bat upside down. If he hits his straps this morning, I tip the Kensington Oval ball boys to more than earn their breadfruit on the boundary edge.
"Windies badly need a good session this morning."
shivfan on 606
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1344: Righto, the scenes from Barbados are a little confusing. Sky Sports' commentary team are doing their bits and bobs cowering under umbrellas, while all around them is bright, sunny and glorious. Still no official word on when we'll get under way, but I can't see play being too delayed, if at all. Perhaps they could ship some sand over from The Sir Viv Stadium in Antigua?
Right, news from the Kensington Oval... it's raining. Disaster. Not sure what that means in terms of start time, yet, but the middle is covered and the umbrellas are out. When I know more, you'll know more.
1334: As always I'm relying on you good people to lend me your thoughts, via email, text on 81111 or 606.
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I want to know your predictions for today, your thoughts on Flintoff's latest breakdown and, for those with their off-topic hats on, is there a better song to walk around London/enter work to/prepare yourself for a world title boxing fight than Audioslave's Cochise? If I were an England batsman, I'd insist they play that on my walk to the crease every time... which no doubt would go down a treat at Lord's.
1333: Still, England have made a terrific start to this fourth Test and another good day's batting today could well set them on their way to a crucial series-levelling win. A lot rests on the shoulders of crease incumbents Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood - but with Ravi Bopara, Tim Ambrose, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann waiting in the wings, you've got to hope the tourists can push towards, say, 600? Then of course it's down to whether or not England can take 20 wickets... but let's cross that bridge if and when we come to it hey?
1329: So, if England are to win this Test series against the West Indies, they're definitely going to have to do it without Freddie 'The Unfit' Flintoff, who has been sent home today for treatment on his hip injury. If Shane Warne is to be believed, England might as well give up the Ashes now if the big man isn't fit... though I'm struggling to remember a time when a comment from that ol' wily Aussie spinner wasn't laced with mind games...
Flintoff to return home from tour