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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Andrew Strauss and Monty Panesar
Without curbing Panesar's enthusiasm, he simply has to curb his appeals

Finally, we have seen a really brilliant day of Test cricket - a day spent watching England using all their force to push the door open and West Indies doing all they could to keep it closed.

It was gripping, and easily the most enjoyable day we have had since the exciting finale in Antigua.

It ends with West Indies having weathered the immediate storm, but still facing a couple of anxious sessions on the fourth day to ensure that England do not pick up a first-innings lead.

England will feel that a 120-run advantage would still give them a platform from which to throw the bat, and leave West Indies clinging on under pressure on the final day. There is a chance, but only a slim one.

England's real opportunity came when Brendan Nash was dropped by Andrew Strauss at silly point when he had 19.

It was not a difficult catch by any means, but Strauss is unfamiliar with fielding in the position usually taken by Ian Bell.

Later, there was a close lbw decision in Nash's favour off the same bowler, Monty Panesar, but Panesar had already bombarded the umpire so often with ridiculous appeals that Mr Tiffin's reaction was understandable.

Panesar clearly bowled with much greater variety, and has added a quick arm ball to his repertoire while sitting on the sidelines, but without curbing his enthusiasm, he simply has to control his appeals.

Why make the umpire feel that you are trying to wear him down into making a mistake under the pressure of constant appealing? It simply does not work in a bowler's favour.


Amjad Khan picked up the prize scalp of Ramnaresh Sarwan during a spectacularly mixed day for the debutant. A number of balls were flung wildly down the leg side for wides and byes, but there was also some reverse swing.

It is too early to judge, but if I were Steve Harmison, I would not be packing my England cap and sweater away just yet.

Chris Gayle rarely breaks into a stroll, let alone a sprint, so it was a great surprise to see him run crazily on a misfield to bring up his hundred.

His hamstring twanged as he raced past the stumps - some time after the ball did, incidentally - and it was desperately sad to see such an excellent innings ended by injury.

He will only bat in an emergency and, having missed the lucrative IPL last year with a groin strain must have some worries about playing for the big money next month.

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see also
Broad condemns Caribbean pitches
08 Mar 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
07 Mar 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
06 Mar 09 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England

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