FOURTH ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL, Barbados:
West Indies 239-9 (50 overs) lost to England 136-1 (target 135 off 20) by nine wickets under the Duckworth-Lewis method
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ENGLAND WIN BY NINE WICKETS
19th over: Eng 136-1
Easy singles now. Strauss then edges - for four, and that's it! I have witnessed it with my own eyes - an England victory. Hats off to Strauss for a fine 79 not out - he punches the air with delight and punches gloves happily with the grinning Prior.
Lovely touch here from Steve Bucknor, officiating in his 181st and last international match. He's leading the two teams off and is being afforded a standing ovation by everyone in the ground. Super way to finish the day. One million thanks for your company today, and considerable respect for sticking it out to the soggy end. We'll go to Friday's final ODI with the series hanging in the balance at 2-2. Bon nuit.
From Colin in Dubai, TMS inbox: "I'm disappointed you've been allowing so much tosh to be published this evening relating to DL. My Mam had a brief fling in her youth with Tarquin Duckworth-Lewis III. He was a merchant banker, and was responsible for developing statistical financial analyses, that were later used as the foundations for the creation of hedge funds. I asked my Mam about him once. 'So he's a banker then?' I asked. She merely smiled and said, 'You're nearly right.'"
18th over: Eng 129-1
Fantastic chase and pull-back from Pollard, but Prior will still have two for that straight drive. 10 needed. He then upper-cuts to third man and is lucky that the ball falls just short of the in-dashing Baker. Strauss singles to gully; Prior misses with an eyes-shut hoick. That's surely a wide down leg - it is - and another single. Five needed from 12 balls, with nine wickets in hand. Dare you believe?
17th over: Eng 123-1
Bravo back for a final blast. A cunning slower one fools Strauss before a short one is hacked away for one, and Prior then gets tres fortunate with a horrible one-handed mow that picks up a streaky four to fine leg off the inside edge. 12 required from three overs - surely even England can't blow this, can they? Can they? Or can they?
16th over: Eng 116-1
Sammy gallops in. Strauss pulls to midwicket for one; Prior drops one into the off-side for one. Dink away to leg for two more, with only a brave sliding dive from Baker preventing the four. 19 needed off 24.
From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "The idea that Duckworth-Lewis may have been a Leicester-based Nietzsche devotee does have a ring of truth about it, given these words of wisdom from the greatly misinterpreted one, which seem to presage DL's bad weather-based fame. 'I love all who are like heavy drops falling one by one out of the dark cloud that lowereth over man: they herald the coming of the lightning, and succumb as heralds. Lo, I am a herald of the lightning.' (Thus Spake Zarathustra, Ch 4)"
15th over: Eng 111-1
Matt Prior's been promoted up the order. Makes sense, you'd say. Pollard ships a wide and Prior gets away from the quacker with a snatched single. 24 runs required from 30 balls - surely now, surely...
From David in Spain, TMS inbox: "I wonder the BBC allows history to be traduced so. Louis d'Arc-Wurt was a knight of Alsace who arbitrated mediaeval Franco-German cricket."
15th over: WICKET Bopara c Miller b Pollard 35, Eng 108-1
Huzzzah! Bopara has smashed one - Pollard can only watch in horror as the ball goes clean over the Greenidge Stand for the biggest six of the day. Better get yourself a new ball, Kieron - that one's not coming back. Ah - he does get a new one, bowls a cunning slower one with it and foxes Bopara into lofting down fine leg's throat.
From Colin in Devon, TMS inbox: "My dad told me the D-L thing was invented by 2nd Lieutenant Rupert A Duckworth-Lewis, formerly of the Kings Own Shock Statisticians based in Bombay and famous for developing the arrival probability theory of passenger trains on the Indian Railway system. Later widely adopted by schedulers for Virgin trains."
14th over: Eng 102-0
Lucky from Bopara - chinese cut down to fine leg for a jammy trio - and class from Strauss, wafting a short one high over extra cover for a sweetly-struck four. He advances down the track again and - kerpow! - laces a fuller one into the stands behind long-on for a delight of a six. A pair of twos to deep square leg follow, and the England 100 comes up. Cracking innings this from the skipper - 17 off the over, 33 needed from 36 balls.
13th over: Eng 85-0
Tickle to leg from Strauss off Pollard to go to his half-century - 41 balls and seven fours in a proper captain's knock. The floodlights come on as two more singles are sprinted - 50 runs required off 42 balls, and England must surely fancy this now.
From Dave in Gloucester, TMS inbox: "No no no no no! Duckworth 'Slash' Lewis was the lead keyboard player in the alternative rock band 'Danny and the Stats' who first starting out in the late 70s. Rumour had it he helped to write Travis' 'Why does it always rain on me?', although this was later disproved."
12th over: Eng 79-0
Twirler Miller continues with his left-arm tweak. Strauss drives straight for two and then top-edges a big slog-sweep - Bravo makes a spectacular diving attempt at the catch on the boundary but can only watch mid-air as the ball bounces across the rope. England needed that boundary. 56 needed off 48.
11th over: Eng 67-0
Great backing up from Bopara - he's through to the striker's end before the fielder at gully can fling Strauss's dab back at the timbers. And then there are overthrows - Bopara is sent back, is well out of his ground when Pollard throws but escapes with a bonus single to boot. Pollard keeps it straight but gets turned away for one more by Bopara. The scoring rate has dropped - 64 needed from 54 balls.
10th over: Eng 67-0
Nikita Miller for a twirl - which is a surprise, considering his side injury. Singles are filched and stolen left and right but nothing more - just four runs from it. It's tightening up again...
From Colin in Sharjah, TMS inbox: "What are people going on about? It was Lewis Duckworth, and he studied with me, way back, at Leicester Poly. He was a scruffy grunt with jam-jar-bottom-specs, and had little interest in anything, save for Nietzsche. We used to rib him all the time for being such a stoner, and he would merely retreat further into his fortress--built on works of depressing text. He got blind drunk one night on Red Stripe, and wandered the corridors of our Halls in just his socks, bellowing how he would have his revenge on the world."
9th over: Eng 63-0
Kieron Pollard is thrown the ball by Skipper Gayle. His first medium-pacer drifts down leg for a wide, his second is tickled for a single and his third finds the outside of Strauss's bat - Ramdin dives full length and claims the catch, but Umpire Bucknor sends the decision upstairs and, after an age, it's not given. Whoof - I thought he got his fingers underneath that one... Big ell bee shout next up which is also refused and another legged single at the end. It's all happening. 72 runs needed from 66 balls.
8th over: Eng 60-0
England still have two overs of batting powerplays to go. Strauss uses soft hands to drop the ball at his feet and lumber through for another uno, before Bopara top-edges an attempted pull to pick up a streaky single to long leg.
7th over: Eng 57-0
Singles again, Bopara sprinting through with gumption and pace. Bravo yelps as a short one flies past Bopara's flicking blade, but that's a tighter Windies over. 78 needed off 13 overs.
6th over: Eng 54-0
Sammy himself to have a pop. Bopara drives hard down the ground for one; Strauss cuts wristily for two more. Two more well-run singles and the target edges closer.
From Adam Horner, TMS inbox: "I appreciate the scoreboard has endured a rightful thrashing but could it please stop sulking and show the England score? Just because Strauss has remembered how to hit a ball should be no reason for dilatoryeness."
Bang on, A-Ho. I'll get my bruisers on the case, although the early signs are disappointingly unpromising.
5th over: Eng 48-0
Dwayne Bravo gets the nod instead of Baker and starts with a cheeky off-cutter which foxes Bopara completely. A wide follows - hoots of derision from the England fans - and a single run down to third man. Strauss dabs for one, Bopara cuts late and sprints hard for two. Bravo has a whinge as Darren Sammy allows two more quick singles - England on track, if you dare read those words.
From Brian in Hungerford, TMS inbox: "Duckworth Lewis was, in fact, a Jamaican quickie from the 1960s didn't he and the great Kensington Oval once open the bowling in a match against the touring MCC in '67, taking 10 for 13 between them?"
4th over: Eng 41-0
Bopara runs the ball through point for one. Edwards drops short down leg and Strauss gloves him down to fine leg for his sixth four of the nascent knock. Two more singles follow, and the run-rate required drops to 5.5 an over - with England racing along at over 10. Strauss on 32 from 17 balls, Ravi B seven from seven.
3rd over: Eng 33-0
Big shot from Strauss - a lofted drive which sails inches over Lendl Simmons at cover and races away for four. And another! Baker goes wide of off again, and Strauss drives it square for his third four on three balls faced. Next up Baker over-corrects, dropping short and being pulled high over midwicket for the third four - and there's another! Strauss waits for a short one and glides it beautifully over slip and down to the fence. One more off the final ball, 18 off the over and 17 of them to the skipper. Big, big over for England - 102 needed from 102 balls.
2nd over: Eng 15-0
Fidel Edwards from the other end. Strauss dabs to third man for one. Another wide down leg, pushed and scampered single from Bopara, same from Strauss, same from Bopara. Just over six an over required, and that should help - a wide one from Edwards that Strauss slashes away through cover for four. Roars from the well-refreshed England fans still in the busy stands.
From Lee Edmond, TMS inbox: "Duckworth-Lewis - damn fine chap - I was at primary school with him in Southminster. Dead end place, if you ask me - I thought he'd end up in a dead end job, but this rain mullarky has really given him a second wind in life."
1st over: Eng 6-0
Lionel Baker to Strauss - and the first ball is a wide down leg-side. On top of the KP-in-at-seven story, Freddie's injured thumb means he'll only bat if required. Not broken, they say, but badly bruised. Three singles follow, the third as Strauss tries to pull but is forced to duck away rapidly from a fast lifter, and then two more - Simmons making a fine diving stop at point to prevent Strauss's cut disappearing to the fence.
2125: Bright and sunny out there now as Andrew Strauss and Ravi Bopara jog out to the wicket. Should England have opened with Strauss? We'll find out shortly...
2115: Word from the umpires is that play will start bang on 2130. 135 the target, a maximum of four overs per bowler. Eight overs of powerplay to England - so that's almost half the innings with only two fielders allowed outside the circle. Is D-L about to save England's hide once again?
2110: Covers definitely coming off. 70-30.
From Harry, TMS inbox: "Duckworth-Lewis at Oxford? Nonsense! He was at Cambridge with me. Awful fellow. No interest in sport. Some kind of mathematician, he was, with all these terrible theories about re-estimating equivalence techniques and what have you. The chaps and I debagged him rather. He vowed to get even."
2104: The rain has stopped, and away to the east it looks a fair bit brighter. Make that 60-40. If it does come down to 20 overs, England will need 135 to win - which you'd fancy knocking off in a Twenty-20 match, wouldn't you?
2057: Still raining. albeit not that heavily. Can we get going again inside the half-an-hour cut-off time? I'd say less than 50-50.
2049: If the match is abandoned, England will of course then be unable to win the series - they'll be 2-1 down with just next Friday's match in St Lucia to go. And that final match might be boycotted by the Windies team in that row over player payments.
2042: Happy days? Happy days? Not any more - it's smashing it down with rain again. Dear oh dear. If we don't get started again by 2130, we might struggle to finish the match - England need to bat for at least 20 overs for this to count as a result.
From Dan Lucas, TMS inbox: "With KP not allowed in until number 7 is there a case for reversing the batting order, and getting the no-hopers who couldn't clear an in-field if the series depended on it out of the way ASAP? Actually thinking about it, leave it as it is."
2039: Happy news from the middle - we should be underway again in 10 minutes. England's target has been reduced to 180 off 30 overs - repeat, 180 off 30 overs. And remember that KP can't come in until the fifth wicket falls, because he was off the field for so long in the Windies innings.
From Trevor Hobday in Clitheroe, TMS inbox: "This Duckworth-Lewis chappy, heard of the blighter before don't you know, think he was at my Oxford college, damn fine bat, could tweak the off-break and fell the timbers from midwicket if Flashman went for a quick single."
2027: Right - official news - the umpires are going to have a look at half past, with an eye on a possible re-start at 2050. Will the rain hold off? Big ask, I'd say, big ask.
From Austen Hamilton, TMS inbox: "Re Southminster: still like watching paint dry most days, except it's been filling up with commuters for some time now, so gets busy early morning and late evening. (My parents live there and can't understand why I live as far away as possible!) Do you remember when the station was manned by a guy who would call out as the train arrived, 'Southminster - end of the world'?"
2021: Well, the rain came down for over an hour, but the covers are finally being tugged off. Still very grey all around, and no news at all from umpires about any re-start, but there's brief reason for optimism at least.
From Brandon in Kent, TMS inbox: "If England get 240 I'll eat my hat. I'll also eat the hats of every person at the game in Barbados. Mmmm hats."
There is some heavy rain around and Barbados does not look as it does in the brochures. The word is that the rain will blow away and the ground drains quickly, but it is fairly certain England will have a Duckworth/Lewis-based target to chase whenever they get back on to the field.
From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "Been out in the garden for the first cricket session of the year with the kidlets. First delivery of the year from the nine year jagged back viciously and smacked me in the unmentionables, at which the five year old squealed in delight and said he loved cricket. Like Steve Bucknor, I think it may be time to retire, though not as gracefully."
WEST INDIES INNINGS
50th over: WI 239-9
Baker edges Broad fine for four to stir celebration in the stands. He then aims a mighty mow at the next one and gets exactly the same result - useful runs indeed for the Windies. He misses the final delivery, but the home side will be happy with that - at 173-7 they would have settled for 210. 240 the target for England - feeling optimistic?
49th over: WI 230-9
Anderson for the penultimate set. Singles are sprinted but no more, and England will be happy with this final few. Anderson finishes with 1-41 from his 10. Now then - this is interesting - because Pietersen has been off the field for so long, he won't be allowed to come in any higher than no.7 in England's innings.
48th over: WICKET Bravo c Bell b Broad 69, WI 225-9
And so Bravo's super innings comes to an end, holing out to the midwicket fence from Broad's slower one. Vital knock, that one - 71 balls, seven fours and two sixes, and without it the Windies would be nowhere.
47th over: WICKET Edwards c Collingwood b Anderson 0, WI 224-8
Edwards just can't get Bravo on strike, and the frustration shows - he slogs wildly at Anderson's slower one and holes out weakly to Colly at long-on. Bravo looks less than delighted, and you can understand why - all he needs is partners and the strike, and Edwards has given him neither.
46th over: WI 223-7
Wonderful flaying from Bravo - he climbs into Flintoff and hits him for consecutive fours, one past mid-on and one cavalier-style through the covers. After a single to long-on, Edwards digs out a toe-crusher of a yorker. Still looks to be bothered by that thumb on the left hand, Fred.
45th over: WI 214-7
Miller looks like he's strained a side-muscle here - yup, he's trudging off the pitch, retired hurt for seven. Bravo takes note and tears into the returning Anderson, smiting him over midwicket for four and then way, way into the distance for a top-tier six - bedlam in the Bajan crowd, and that's Bravo's half-century. Good fightback from the Windies, this.
44th over: WI 202-7
Injured? Fred? If he is, he's not going to let it stop him. His first ball is a no-ball, so Miller has a free hit - which is just as well, as he holes out to Anderson at extra cover. The next three whistle past the outside edge before scampering brings singles.
From Herbie, TMS inbox: "Good grief, a mention of Southminster on TMS. I lived there when I was a wee lad. Has it changed much since the early 70's?"
Hard for me to say, Herbie - I wasn't there in the early 70s, and haven't been there since 1997. Anyone cast some light?
43rd over: WI 199-7
Fred may have injured his hand getting in the way of that 'catch' - he's stepped over the boundary rope and signalled for a sub fielder. Broad lets the ball slip out of his grasp as he bowls to Bravo - it's a beamer, but Bravo manages to hook it off his face for a top-edged six and drop his bat just past his stumps in the same moment. Another loose one is pulled away for four more, and Bravo moves to 44.
42nd over: WI 184-7
Gloom all around, and the Windies have called for their powerplay. Bravo thrashes at Fred and sends the ball looping just clear of the sprinting Shah at widish mid-on. Fred then sprays down leg, Prior can't get to it and umpo signals for five wides. Ooof. Fred follows with a fast full toss that Bravo smashes back on the full - Flintoff somehow gets a hand to it, but if you call that a chance you're a harsher judge than Jeffries. New batsman Nikita Miller then glides a wide one to the right of third man for another four - 11 off the over.
41st over: WICKET Sammy b Broad 6, WI 173-7
Broad it is, and Bravo welcomes him with a high-elbowed lofted drive back over his blond barnet for a crowd-pleaser of a four. Bravo steals a single but Broad then finds some late nip-back and Sammy, feet anchored and bat a yard away from his body, is nowhere near to defending it. Stumps shatter, England high-five.
40th over: WI 167-6
Colly gets the shout from Skipper Strauss - two slower ones with scrambled seams fool Bravo before a shorter one is pulled away unconvincingly. Looks like Broad to step in for the weary Masca at the other end.
39th over: WI 163-6
Sammy nurdles, Bravo flays fruitlessly, and Masca concludes his ten with another slice of parsimony pie. 3-26 for him today - just two days after his only over of the day cost him 24 alone.
From Will Brown, TMS inbox: "Are we not doing contributions for One-Dayers anymore?"
Depends if anything lands in the inbox, William. Barely been a squeak all day - as empty as Southminster station on Boxing Day.
38th over: WI 160-6
Bravo decides to have a joust at Harmie, and with that sort of bowling why not - a pedestrian full one is lofted over mid-on for four, and a straighter one driven back down the ground for more of the same. 0-41 off eight from the Long Unit.
37th over: WI 149-6
Ian Bell on for the wincing KP as Masca continues with his dibble-dobble, and the Windies pair can only dink and nudge a single apiece. 3-22 from his nine overs so far, Masca - splendid return. Overhead it's now darker than a Leonard Cohen poem about a slaughterhouse in winter.
36th over: WI 147-6
Sammy in now to join Bravo, and Strauss switches to Harmison to have a rumble at the tail-enders. The umps have handed him a replacement ball, and there's more bounce and spit with this one - two spicy ones sizzle past throats before a single apiece is stolen.
35th over: WICKET Pollard c Flintoff b Mascarenhas 0, WI 145-6
And another! What a catch that is, too - the long-limbed Pollard hoists Masca high towards the midwicket fence, where Freddie sticks up his enormo-hands to take the pouch with his feet micrometres from the boundary rope. A man half an inch shorter would never have made that; a rope a centimetre wider would have made it a six.
34th over: WI 144-5
England are clambering all over the Windies here - bang on the money from Jimmy A, and Bravo can only deflect away for a solo single. Just 13 runs from the last six overs, but there are heavy grey clouds manoeuvring into place up above.
33rd over: WICKET Chanderpaul c Prior b Mascarenhas 27, WI 143-5
Gone! Masca The Massacred of two days ago has been replaced by Masca the Master - he tempts Chanderpaul into a leaden-footed prod outside off, there's a clear thwick and Prior, up to the timbers, yells with delight as the edge snuggles into his gloves.
32nd over: WI 143-4
No overs lost in that break, remarkably - we'll merely have a shortened break of half an hour between innings. Anderson strays down leg to ship the first wide of the innings, and then deja-vu's to do the same the following ball. KP still off the field, and if you squint through the windows of the England dressing-room you can see him wincing as his back receives a probing and poking from the team physios.
1720: Now then - the precip has eased off - we'll be underway again at 1730. C'est bon.
1700: Hmmm. Rain relatively solid-ish out there. The large blue tarpaulins are covering the strip; brollies have mushroomed around the ground.
31st over: WI 137-4
A man is pictured parasailing behind the ground - suggestions that it is KP on his way back to England are unkind, but suddenly the heavens open and a squally shower descends. We'll have a short break - at least 15 minutes, you'd think.
30th over: WI 136-4
The Windies worm - the scoring chart - is meandering rather than rising, Anderson returns to the attack and his Lancashire colleague Flintoff swoops on the midwicket fence to limit Chanderpaul's pull to two.
29th over: WI 134-4
Masca again, and neither new-man Bravo or Chanders can take him to he cleaners. Or even stick him in a laundry bag - three singles again. Run-rate falls to 4.62 an over.
28th over: WI 131-4
Into KP's shiny glamour shoes steps a somewhat surprised Shah, and his gentle tweak does a job - just four singles from it. The sun's parked up behind a mighty fluff of cloud, but in the stands the Sunday thirsts continue unslaked.
27th over: WICKET Ramdin c Flintoff b Mascarenhas 26, WI 126-4
The gradual squeeze pops a pip - Ramdin has an ugly mow at Masca and succeeds only in lofting the ball high to the backpedalling Fred at mid-off. England's fielders are delighted, and why not - they've taken a grip on this game.
26th over: WI 124-3
KP it is - and after five fine balls that Chanderpaul pats back, Pietersen pulls up short with a shout and grab of his back. He tries to carry on but pulls out in his delivery stride, and I think he's going off here. He is - let the "KP goes home" conspiracies start here....
From Carole in Maidenhead, TMS inbox: "Heh heh heh. Have just spent the innings trying to get hubbie to see the OBVIOUS differences between Freddie and Andrew Flintoff, as they take it in turns to bowl. (he isn't a cricket fan). Snort chortle."
25th over: WI 124-3
KP's warming up with characteristic ostentation. I think Skipper Strauss has spotted him too. Masca doing the job in the meantime - just a single off his third over, and the Windies run-rate has sunk below five an over.
24th over: WI 123-3
Super moves from Gravy in the stands - I've seen some bootys shaken in my time, but that man's in a league of his own. Chanderpaul cuts late at Harmie and thicks an edge just past the diving Anderson at gully for another single - good mid-innings control from England.
23rd over: WI 120-3
Shiv dashes through for a tight single - Fred throws down the timbers from mid-off but he's made it by a foot. Lovely shot from Ramdin next-up - he goes down on one knee and flips Masca over his shoulder for the cheekiest of fours.
22nd over: WI 113-3
Harmison flaps in in bright sunshine. That's a decent delivery, short of a length and with a bit of kick on it too, and Chanderpaul can only jab towards gully. There's a single to leg, and the run-rate has dropped to just over five an over.
21st over: WI 111-3
Guest appearance from Gravy, on loan from Antigua for the day and dressed in a fetching beige suit with Jill Scott-style green African hat. Mascarenhas comes on for his first wobble, and there's no repeat of the 24-run horror of last Friday - merely four singles to the tally. Strauss claps approvingly from slip.
20th over: WI 107-3
In a doomed attempt to find a lucky omen for England, let me pass on the news that the Dark Blues of Oxford have just won the 155th Boat Race. Harmison, a Boat Race fanatic for sure, finds some extra lift and almost has Ramdin playing on. Decent over.
19th over: WI 105-3
Super shot from Ramdin - a slashing cut for his second four of the day. Chanderpaul eyes Broad from his Willeyesque open stance. After three dabbed singles Ramdin tries to sprint a two but is kept down by more fine fielding from Jimmy A. Key times, these.
18th over: WI 96-3
Nothing spicy from Harmison so far - he's pushed and nudged for four comfy singles before Ramdin gets an attempted pull high on the splice and spoons the ball behind square for one more. Easy runs, and the pressure is off. Exactly.
17th over: WI 91-3
Broad comes in for his fifth over, and after a pair of cut singles Chanderpaul pulls gently behind square for two more. Strauss seems to be signalling for Harmison at the other end - interesting timing.
16th over: WICKET Sarwan b Flintoff 6, WI 83-3
They're struck dumb now - Fred cramps up Sarwan as the batsman tries to run the ball down to third man off the back foot, and the ball cannons down and up onto the bails. Whisper it quietly, but England are bang in this...
15th over: WI 79-2
Sarwan's face when the bails came off there - the very definition of anguish. He dabs a single after Chanderpaul drives to get off the mark, and the crowd has fallen briefly silent.
14th over: WICKET Simmons run out 29, WI 75-2
Sarwan to the fight, and he watches from the non-striker's as Simmons clips a two through midwicket and then a single. Sarwan then dabs into the vacant leg side - he races the first one, starts to cocme fore the second and then realises Mascarenhas has swooped. "NOOO!" he screams at Simmons, and the skinny opener is stranded mid-pitch as the throw arrows in to Prior's gloves. Calamitous running - exactly the sort of thing you'd expect from England, but they've now got a fingerhold in the match...
From Tom in Buckhurst Hill, TMS inbox: "Might be worth considering a new format of ODIs where England are concerned. How about 20/50 whereby there's no need for a toss - the opposition bat first for 20 overs then we have 50 overs to try and pass their total. At least it might be competitive."
13th over: WICKET Gayle c Prior b Broad 46, WI 72-1
One ball after sending Broad back over his head for his fifth six, Gayle mows mightily at a short one and sends a top edge spiralling way up high - Prior jogs a few places to his left and pouches an easy gloved catch. Sighs of relief around the England side - if that innings had carried on much longer, the series could have been kissed goodbye.
12th over: WI 66-0
A corpulent man in the stands wearing in a skin-tight England shirt garners a lusty cheer from his compadres as he returns to his seat clutching four wobbly plastic pint-pots. Fred keeps things tighter in the middle and Gayle has to settle for a scampered single.
11th over: WI 65-0
Sheer cannon-fodder from Harmison. He serves up a turgid one on off-stump and is marmalised high over the midwicket fence for Gayle's fourth maximum of the afternoon - 38 from 29 balls now for the Windies skipper. He strolls a single, leaving Simmons to tuck in with another wonderful square drive for four. His hands were through that shot so quickly - the ball was smashing into the advertising hoardings even as Harmison completed his follow-through.
10th over: WI 54-0
Freddie to Gayle - carumba! Gayle steps away to leg and flays a short rapid one way, way over the third man fence. What a shot - Harmie watches it sail over his head with the glum expression of a man living under the Heathrow flight-path. A light breeze tugs at Gayle's long-sleeved maroon shirt as Fred lumbers in, and he dabs down to Harmie again to steal the strike.
9th over: WI 47-0
It is - and his first ball bounces twice on the way through to Stumper Prior. Hmmm. Simmons jabs a single before Harmie over-pitches and is driven away effortlessly through extra cover for a crowd-rousing four. Next ball should be another but Anderson makes a fine diving sliding stop, sprinting out from mid-off. Harmie tugs at the shoulder of his shirt and trudges back off to third man.
8th over: WI 41-0
Wristy as you like from Simmons - Fred is a fraction wide of off, and the skinny opener cracks it through backward point like a cowboy flicking a whip. A flamboyant drive follows, but Broad runs round from mid-off to gather and keep them down to the single. Is that Harmie limbering in the distance?
7th over: WI 36-0
Simmons walks across his timbers and glances Jimmy down to long leg for two. There's a dab to third man for a single, and Gayle then tickles with grace off his hip for four down to fine leg. Grimace from Jimmy, and the Windies are racing away again.
6th over: WI 29-0
Skipper Strauss wants to keep a lid on things here - he tells Broad to take a blow and calls for Freddie. Gayle, of course, is a man for whom lids are nothing but frisbees - he launches a mighty drive at Fred's very first ball and sends it way, way over long on for another devastating six. Fred's fired up now - a far quicker one whistles into Prior's raised gloves, and Gayle can't lay blade on the last two either.
From Hugh in Taunton, TMS inbox: "I do know the riot act's extremely long. Back in the 80s my boss quoted extensively from it when I superglued a trainee to his telephone ear-piece. I must be unusual in my lack of familiarity with it because the nurse at the hospital we took him to quoted at length from it too. I can however tell you for a fact it contains lots of obscenities."
5th over: WI 23-0
Now Simmons joins the party, timing a push off his pads so sweetly that it races all the way to the deep square leg fence. Anderson keeps him honest with two just shy off a length, but - whoah! - Simmons goes again, hoisting a huge pull deep into the crowd behind the midwicket fence. Anything Gayle can do...
4th over: WI 17-0
Hello - Gayle's woken up - Broad drops short and is pulled mightily over midwicket for an enormous six. Next ball is full and fast and slams into Gayle's front pad, right on the popping crease - looks to be hitting leg stump to me, but umpire Steve Davis shakes his head. It was out, that one, too... not that Gayle is bothered - he steps into the next one, a full one outside off, and blasts it back over the umpire's head for a three-bounce four. We're up and running.
3rd over: WI 3-0
Anderson slides one past Simmons' outside edge but then angles down leg and is pushed through midwicket for a casual two. Lovely riposte from Jimmy, getting pace and lift outside off-stick to leave Simmons pushing blindly at warm Caribbean air.
2nd over: WI 1-0
Stuart Broad from the other end, his blond curtains bouncing as he leaps into his delivery stride. Simmons dead-bats off the back peg and is then clonked high on the front pad as he looks to flick legwards. Broad's face is smeared in more face-paint than Adam Ant's, and Simmons stands to deliver a dab down to third man for the first run of the day.
1st over: WI 0-0
Jimmy Anderson charges in to Skipper Gayle, and those are two super deliveries - right-arm over away-nibblers that sizzle past the outside edge. And another - Anderson has his hands on his head. Two slips in, and Gayle prods a back-foot defensive shot into the covers to conclude our first set of six - maiden, and early encouragement for the thirsty touristas in the stands.
1429: ...and here come the Windies opening pair of Simmons and the god-like Gayle. Decent crowd in, and although there are still strips of empty seats we're told it's a sell-out.
1425: England players are out loosening up. Seems a bit harsh, some of the Riot Act - I for one have enjoyed the occasional tumult without it causing too many problems for King and country, although the next-door neighbours weren't too happy about it. Riotous assemblies? One or two, one or two - but which clean-limbed young man with fresh blood pumping through his veins hasn't?
From Andrew Stone, TMS inbox: "Re 1410 - the Riot Act doesn't have a happy ending (unless you're a country squire and glad to bash a few revolting plebs)."
1417: Pitch looks hard and fast. Should suit Harmison, although why I've allowed a sliver of optimism to infiltrate this sentence I don't really know.
From Kate Sim, TMS inbox, re the Riot Act: "Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!"
Good work Kate. If that doesn't teach the England team to play the short ball more effectively, nothing will.
1410: We're told that England stand-in coach Andy Flower has "read the Riot Act" to his team. Can't imagine it's the most gripping piece of writing, the riot act. Anyone else read it? All extracts welcome.
1404: ...and the toss: Andrew Strauss calls correctly and decides to insert the Windies. Reckons there's some moisture in the track early doors. "We've always reacted well to defeats in the past," says the skipper, "and we hope to do so again today."
1403: Team news from the Kensington Oval - Steve Harmison has been given the nod in place of Gareth Batty. Grey overhead at the mo, but heading for a prompt start.
1400: Afternoon all - welcome to British Summer Time. What do you mean, it's only 1300? What's that at the back - 1500? You've had a nightmare...