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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Kevin Pietersen will need to add quick runs if England are to win
England will have to declare earlier than they might otherwise like in order to offer a carrot

Just about anything is possible on the final day, but the most likely outcome is the West Indies will win a series against England for the first time in 11 years.

Whether the margin is 1-0 or 2-0 it makes no difference, which is why England have no option other than to go for broke.

They have already started to bat positively - and still have Kevin Pietersen at the crease for a final charge before lunch - but it seems highly unlikely the West Indies will chase anything and are happy to play for a draw.

This means England will have to declare earlier than they might otherwise like in order to offer a carrot, but if the West Indies do not play any shots in a run chase, they will be mighty difficult to prise out.

All England can hope for is the pressure of batting to win the series produces exactly the type of suicidal tendency that West Indies have become known for in recent years - until this series, that is.

Further doubt was cast over the future of the International Cricket Council's Review Procedure, with more frustratingly extended delays and doubts over the accuracy of the decisions at the end of it all.

That is what the use of technology is supposed to eliminate and while it was good to see two straightforward referrals working as the system was designed to do earlier in the game, it is important to recognise that on those occasions the initial on-field decisions were both poor, and below Test standard.

It is virtually impossible to detect edges without using hotspot. On the fourth day there was a farcical situation in which Mr Dar, in the box, was trying to hear from the replays whether or not England skipper Andrew Strauss had edged a catch to the wicketkeeper.


He had to ask the television commentators to stop talking so he could turn the sound up, and also because he did not want their views to influence his judgement!

This highlighted another basic flaw in the set-up - surely the third umpire should have a clean television feed without the commentary.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul might well have been the recipient of a generous overturning of a decision - again, we do not know for sure, which is so completely frustrating about this - but he again demonstrated his extraordinary capacity to concentrate.

Ultimately, whether he was fortunate or not really makes no difference because, barring a miracle, England's hopes slipped through their hands when Strauss dropped Brendan Nash on 19 shortly before tea on the third afternoon. Nash went on to score 109.

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see also
England set for final-day charge
09 Mar 09 |  England
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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