First Test, Lord's (close, day one):
England 289-7 v West Indies
Ravi Bopara crafted a vital century as England struggled on day one of the Lord's Test against West Indies.
Bopara was dropped on 76 and 100 but went on to post a second Test ton and held the hosts together.
He was partnered by Tim Bresnan after Stuart Broad, himself put down four times, fell to Sulieman Benn for 38.
England lost Andrew Strauss early before Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood and Matt Prior all succumbed to Fidel Edwards.
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1820: Eng 289-7
Conflab between the umpires about the light, but since we're in the final over, we might as well crack on, eh? Bopara, weary on 117 after 242 deliveries, leaves, blocks and then steals a final single. We're all done - hats off to Ravi B and Fidel, merci for all the email chat, and see you in the a.m. for the resumption.
1811: Eng 288-7
Fidel returns in search of scalps. Swann tucks him away for a single to long leg. Bopara stays watchful before Swann slaps happily over gully for a biffy four.
1806: Eng 283-7
With murkiness murkying, Gayle brings himself on for a twirl. Ravi responds with a mow over mid-on for four to move to 117. Three overs until the close.
From Jon Rhodes, TMS inbox:
"Re the 'Scotch Egg Challenge'. How do you win this competition? Is it the further you drive the better, or the other way round? Surely you can deliberately eat the scotch egg very slowly in order to drive a further distance? Or you can drive slowly if the objective is to travel the least distance before you can speak?"
1802: WICKET Bresnan lbw Benn 9, Eng 275-7
Even as fingers meet keyboard keys again, the Big Unit is back off to the shed - he steps back to Benn's arm ball and is struck high and legwards, but the finger of death goes up. Bit unlucky there - looked like it was missing in two directions...
1801: Eng 275-6
Pretty murky out at Lord's now as Taylor steams in, arms pumping, and England pick up a couple of leg-byes off the thigh of Bresnan. Bit of chin music for Bresnan, and he top-edges a hook down to fine-leg and picks up a couple. Light meters are out... and they're back in again... Bresnan waits for one to come onto him and picks up a single to mid-wicket. And that's the over and here's Fordyce once again...
1754: Eng 270-6
Benn lobs one up and Bresnan flays him through the covers for four. Terrific shot that. Big of build, Bresnan, he can give it some serious tap. He nicks the strike with a nurdle round the corner.
1752: Eng 264-6
That partnership between Broad and Bopara was worth 69 runs, with Bopara bagging 27 of them. This Bresnan chap has three first-class tons to his name, so he can certainly bat a bit. His first run in Test cricket is an easy nudge to mid-wicket off the bowling of Taylor.
1747: WICKET Broad c Taylor b Benn 38, Eng 262-6
Pretty cloudy out there now as Benn twirls through another over. And Broad has gone! The Notts man rocks back and slices a catch to Taylor at backward point. Decent knock from Broad though, he often seems to "do a job". Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan is the new man on debut and he blocks his first delivery in Test cricket.
1742: Eng 262-5
Hello - it's Ben Dirs for a brief spell. Taylor strays onto Bopara's pads and is flicked away for a single. Bit of rain forecast for tomorrow, which is a choker if you've got tickets. Taylor onto Broad's pads this time and he's flicked away for a risky one. Sarwan the fielder, and a direct hit would have been close. Bopara drives hard to mid-off, but Baker manages to get across and prevent the run.
1735: Eng 260-5
Ooh, that's nice from Ravi - a stern drive that picks up two from a mid-off misfield, and a lovely angler past point to a short one. Think that was another chance, and that's the sixth catch that's gone down. Broad scoops the ball up - in fact it hits his bat twice - and Benn is unable to pull the ball in. Odd. By the way, Tom has gone to blow his nose, so it's Dirs here for a couple of overs...
From Mark Airey in Rochdale, TMS inbox:
"Re: David in Birmingham (17.09)- If the Big Mac is the masculine suggestion, what is the feminine option? I put forward the fillet 'o' fish, purely down to the slightly camp feeling you get when saying the middle part of the name."
1730: Eng 254-5
Crash - Broad advanced down the greensward and hoicks Benn way over mid-on for a fetch-that four. Edwards has still got steam coming out of his ears. Poor old boy.
From Duncan in Kent, TMS inbox:
"Re the chap with the apple stuck in his mouth. I regularly take part in an event called the 'scotch egg challenge'. Quite simply when leaving a supermarket car park you place a recently purchased scotch egg whole into your mouth. You then log the mileage of how far you have driven before you can speak. 4.3 miles is my PB. Its a game that all the family can play."
1726: Eng 248-5
Wheels coming off for the Windies in the field now - Bopara slashes widly at Baker and is put down dreadfully by Devon Smith at second slip. He barely got a hand to it. That's five dropped catches in the last session alone. Zut alors.
From Ben Kirby, TMS inbox:
"I ate Tara Reid's steak once. She ordered it in a club and left it so I ate it. Not a huge eating feat I admit but I was still pleased with myself nonetheless."
1722: Eng 241-5
That benchmark seems to have released the pressure. Broad steps forward to crash Benn past a grasping mid-off for four more, but then gets lucky as attempted follow-up takes the edge but rebounds straight out of Stumper Ramdin's gloves. Three escapes for Broad now.
1719: Eng 241-5
..and there it is! A gentle prod to leg, and Bopara punches the air with delight. A roar from the crowd, an ovation from the England team and a flamboyant "write my name on the board" mime from the hero of the hour. 207 balls and 12 fours in the knock, and without it England would be in the sticky stuff.
1715: Eng 237-5
Broad tickles a single off Benn's first ball. Surely this is it now - but it's just the single to Bopara. 99 and at the non-striker's end. Broad helps him out by seeing off the rest of the set - he'll now have six pops at Baker to get there.
1712: Eng 235-5
Lionel Baker back for his third spell. Broad pushes with sweet timing through the covers and picks up three, just after a misbegotten waft outside off. Bopara on strike, perched on 98. He defends his first ball to cover and then leaves a lifter alone. The wait goes on.
From Ben Clacy, TMS inbox:
"Re the bic biro in the apple story, a bloke I went to school with once had to go to A&E as he got his pen stuck in his ear. Needless to say he is fondly remembered by all as the 'Fella who got a pen stuck in his ear'."
1709: Eng 232-5
A roar from the crowd as Ravi smashes Benn to the cover boundary - they think that's his four, but Sarwan is sweeping - it's a single only...
From David in Birmingham, TMS inbox:
"Interesting that Tim Bryans (Re: 16.56) refers to a Big Mac as a 'she'. Surely a Big Mac is the more masculine choice in a McDonalds?"
1702: Eng 230-5
This won't ease the Edwards mood - he over-pitches outside off, and Broad drives delightfully for his third four to move to 20. This is Edwards' 17th over now, and is looking a touch weary. Drinks.
From Ben in Oakham, TMS inbox:
"RE 16:24 - I was involved in a similar incident at the County Ground in Taunton. Whilst Tresco and Ian Blackwell were dominating proceedings a friend of mine, inserted a whole apple into his mouth and then struggled to breath. I had to borrow a biro off an elderly gentleman next to me and use it to mash up the apple as he was in danger of hyperventilating."
1656: Eng 226-5
Bopara now just a shot away from his second Test ton. Gayle brings on Benn for the occasion, and Ravi pushes gently into the covers for a single. Broad paddles for one to steal the strike, and Bopara will have to wait.
From Tim Bryans, TMS inbox:
"One of the most impressive feats of eating I have ever seen was a pal of mine eating a Big Mac in two bites. First bite was key, with the aim to leave a waxing crescent moon shaped burger to angle into the mouth to polish her off at the second time of asking. Quite a sight."
1652: Eng 224-5
Edwards races in, eyes out on stalks. Three dropped chances off him now, and it won't ease his mood to find out that Dwayne Bravo has just taken an extraordinary snag while in the service of the IPL's Mumbai Indians. Broad tucks a no-ball down to fine leg for two and then wafts helplessly. Edwards wails to the gods.
1647: Eng 221-5
Bopara to 88 with a push off his legs. Should he make it to his ton - note to mockers-watchers: I'm not saying he will or won't - that'll be Test centuries in successive knocks. He flips another leg-side one fine for four, and then edges along the ground through fourth-ish slip for four more. 96 now...
1642: Eng 211-5
Dear oh dear - despair for Fidel, shame for Gayle, relief for Broad. Big edge from the batsman straight to first slip, and Gayle puts down something he should have pouched in his sleep. Edwards screams at the clouds up above, boots the turf and strops off back to fine leg. Give him some space.
1638: Eng 211-5
Broad steals a cheeky single straight from Baker and then watches with blond impassiveness as Bopara stays stern for the remainder. Fidel can't wait to get the ball back for his own over - one more and he's secured a five-for and his name on the HQ honours board.
From Rich M in Edinburgh, TMS inbox:
"RE 16:24 - I was at a Test back in 2007 between England and Pakistan at Headingley. I was involved in a 'Who can take the biggest bite of an apple' competition. Needless to say, my brother couldn't stand the heat, and failed to match my impressive half an apple. One of the proudest days of my life."
1634: Eng 210-5
Aargh - Bopara has a big joust at Edwards outside off and is a coat of varnish away from thinning to the caterwauling Ramdin. Suitably chastened, he keeps his blade tucked away and his expression penitent.
From Phil Monk, TMS inbox:
"We're going to get absolutely battered in the summer, aren't we?"
1630: Eng 210-5
The smooth soul sound of Lionel Baker returns from the Pavilion End. Broad pushes a two through extra cover, takes a single and watches Bopara tickle to fine leg for one more.
From Gary in Manchester, TMS inbox:
"Looks like the selectors have found a number 3 then. Just need a 1 and 2, and then 4, 5 and 6, and 7. 8 and 9 seem fine and only time will tell about 10 and 11."
1624: Eng 205-5
Edwards marches back to his mark with spring in his step, just as a large man in the crowd inserts an entire Magnum ice-cream width-wise into his cakehole. His own cakehole - not that of Edwards. What a shot that is from Broad - a Goweresque cover drive with languid grace - and what a drop that is next ball, a slash to gully spilled by the diving giant that is Benn. It's all happening...
1620: Eng 200-5
Ropey old stuff from Simmons, angling three don't-bothers wide of off and leg. Broad waits for a straighter one and times it with casual elegance off the back foot to the cover fence. Appreciative applause from the woozy grandstands.
1616: Eng 194-5
Stuart Broad glides out to the middle and is almost cleaned up second ball - only a frantic late jab-down keeps the timbers on the straight. Just spotted next man Tim Bresnan blinking furiously up on the England balcony. Get used to it Tim - it happens all the time with your new team.
1611: WICKET Prior c Simmons b Edwards 42, Eng 193-5
My giddy aunts - Prior is furious with himself, and you can understand why. Any of my eight aunts, giddy or otherwise, would be mortified with that - a gentle steer off a nothing sort of ball straight down cover's throat. 4-38 now for Fidel, and the match swings back in the Windies' favour once again...
1608: Eng 193-4
It's Simmons to continue too - Gayle must have a plan up his buttoned-down sleeves. A wayward leg-stumper is tickled fine for four, another strayer pushed through midwicket for two more and Bopara is up to 83.
1604: Eng 187-4
We're back in balmy sunshine, and that's a smashing return from Ravi - leaning into a fast fullish one from the slingy Edwards and creaming it back down the ground for a ooh-yes four. Edwards tears in again, Bopara clips off his legs - and has Nash bagged him? No - he's spilt it! Straightforward pouch at square leg, but it fell out as quickly as it went in. Second big let-off of the day for Ravi...
From Kate Galvin, TMS inbox:
"Back in my days as first team scorer i once had a most unfortunate incident with a slice of excessively buttered malt loaf, my multi coloured biro and one of the umpires dibbly-dobblers. Since that fateful afternoon i've only ever been able to score in pencil. The scars will never heal."
1541: Eng 182-4
Time for another? Just a rapid one from Gayle. Prior flogs a wide one out to the cover fence where Sarwan makes a fine stop - two more to the total. And that is tea - the start of the session dominated by the Windies, the second a decent recovery from England. Bopara will break on 72, Prior on 42. Time for a quick leg-loosener.
From Robert Walker, TMS inbox:
"Regarding cricket commentary confusing foreigners, Cricketing terms were used in messages from Wellington to confuse any Frenchmen who might intercept them during the battle of Waterloo, a military usage that was revived on D-Day by our plucky Airbourne troops, in a similar vein to the use of Navajo speaking soldiers in the American Army (See the film Windtalkers). Not true, but almost could be. Almost."
1538: Eng 179-4
Simmons turns quickly, keen to squeeze another two in before the beverages. Prior is foxed by a cunning inswinger after a brace of away-wobblers and gets a thick outside edge that scuttles down to third man for four. That brings up Prior's 1,000 runs in Test cricket - glorious.
1536: Eng 173-4
Skipper it is. Bopara drives square with restraint for two and then stays as watchful as a frightened prison guard.
1534: Eng 171-4
Prior stands well outside his crease for Simmons, legs splayed wide, and hoists his bat high in ostentatious fashion. Maiden. Gayle is limbering up for a bowl, I think, if you can describe rotating your wrist as limbering.
1529: Eng 171-4
I wouldn't say the shackles have come off, but they've certainly been Vaselined - Prior waits for a leggish one from Benn and paddle-sweeps very fine for an all-along-the-ground four. 11 minutes 'til tea.
From Alan Orpin, TMS inbox:
"Just because you got a bit of stick from that Williams geezer about French people not understanding, there's no need to overreact and start doing an Oscar Wilde with this 13 yr old boy. They'll have that Scottish Poet Laureate lady on next and then Heaven knows what we'll get. 'Manky Manky abdominal protectors, standing guard on their beastly sectors...' Blimey that's not bad for 5 seconds."
1526: Eng 165-4
Wobble he does, so wide of off-stump that Prior would need arms the length of Mr Tickle's to reach it. Another loose one is chopped away uppishly for a four that's as streaky as cheap bacon.
1522: Eng 159-4
Benn lollops in for his 16th over - three singles bring up both his own 50 and the 50 partnership. Bopara on 66, Prior 26, and is Lendl Simmons going to have a wobble with his dibbly-dobblers?
From Carole in Maidenhead, TMS inbox:
"What's your point Ken Williams? This is a cricket commentary is it not? Do we care a jot that a non -cricketer would be baffled? I think not!"
1518: Eng 156-4
Better too from Prior - waits for a looser one from Taylor and punches it away with meaty strength for his fifth four. Update on Cook: he's now pulling his v-neck England shirt and showing the neighbouring Andrew Strauss what appears to be the first thread in a burgeoning chest rug.
1515: Eng 151-4
Sweet relief at last as Ravi seizes on a fuller one from Benn and crashes it wristily through extra cover and out to the boundary boards. On the England balcony, Alastair Cook is sitting with his knees pulled up to his chest, rather like a man about to attempt a mushroom-float in a swimming pool.
1510: Eng 146-4
The England pair are finding this as easy as swimming through treacle. Just a single off Taylor's probers. Not much after this for England - Stuart Broad in next, then debutant Bresnan and a whole heap of tail-end.
1506: Eng 145-4
In the crowd, a 13-year-old boy with the hair of a '79 Bob Willis looks on intently. A gentle breeze parts his curly locks as Benn lopes in again. Prior plops forward and keeps his blade as dead as that frozen baby mammoth.
1503: Eng 144-4
Taylor again, beaming to his mid-off as he strides back to his mark, and he brings one back up the slope to the hurried Bopara. A dab and a dash and both batsmen have singles. Key stage in the innings, this.
1457: Eng 142-4
Hands on hips and furrows on brows from Benn as a looper down leg catches Bopara's hip, spins away down to fine leg for four and is called as runs. Ravi just about manages to keep his upper lip from twitching.
1457: Eng 138-4
Gayle has a think and signals to Taylor that he's back in the breach. The quickie canters in and aims three nasty away-dippers at Prior's off-peg. Not even a sniff of a single.
1452: Eng 138-4
Sturdy defence from the England pair as Big Benn twirls away in the patchy sunshine. Decent mid-afternoon buzz now at Lord's as lunchtime refreshers reach nerve-endings.
From Ken Williams, TMS inbox:
"I wonder how much of your commentary would be in any way comprehensible to the average foreigner who knows absolutely nothing about cricket? for instance: 'Baker goes round the wicket to Cook and sends square leg back. Short one coming? Ah-ha - it's the in swinging yorker. Cook, bright-eyed and bushy both of tail and eyebrow, digs it out.'
"Is it possible to get a more incomprehensible statement? I'm just going to have to show it to some of my French colleagues here. The only words they would understand are Baker and Cook."
1449: Eng 136-4
Hello again - you haven't changed a bit. That scoreboard has, however. Step away for a falafel and packet of Iced Gems and half the England team disappears back to the pavilion. Prior clips Baker off his toes for four to the deep square leg fence and then uses up a life as a half-hearted push flies through where third slip's right knee might have been. But that's more like it next ball - a crunching drive through extra cover from an over-pitched freebie.
1442: Eng 124-4
Benn floats a delivery in to Bopara, whose brutal back-foot square cut brings just a single to the cover sweeper. Prior rotates the strike, then Bopara brings up his fifty in style with a wristy flick through mid-wicket. Well done him. And even better news for England... Tom's back in the chair.
From Phil from Liverpool, TMS inbox:
"MM - You are a man after my own heart! I was once tied to a chair and force-fed custard by some friends such was their determination to get me to eat it! However it is not only custard that should be outlawed forthwith, let's widen it out to other vicious milk-based dessert products... semolina should only ever be used to plaster walls with, blancmange is tasteless mush and tapioca/sago should never be touched by human hands let alone eaten. As for pannacotta, words fail me!"
I suggest you get some new friends, Phil...
1438: Eng 118-4
Edwards has a bit of a stretch on the outfield before charging in for another over. Bopara takes a quick single to Nash, one of the Windies' sharpest fielders, at mid-wicket but good running brings the England pair home. Edwards is giving it his all, but the Bajan strays with another no-ball which Prior helps down the leg side for his first boundary. CMJ MBE informs TMS listeners that Michael Vaughan has just been dismissed for 16 at Edgbaston by young Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes.
From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's:
"It's always the case at Lord's that captains must work out which end suits their seam bowlers best. Edwards was largely ineffective in the morning from the Pavilion End, but has bowled like a man transformed haring in from the Nursery End since lunch. Very impressive stuff."
1433: Eng 112-4
With only five specialist batsmen chosen, Matt Prior is the new man at the crease - and with his wicketkeeping skills under close scrutiny as ever, he could do with some runs. Bopara rotates the strike with another single to third man, and Prior, with sweatbands on each forearm, plays a straight bat to Big Benn. Prior has to adjust his stroke as Benn fires in an arm ball, then he takes a hand off the bat as he edges just past slip - a chance that second slip would have easily snaffled, had there been one. They run two.
1429: WICKET - Eng 109-4 - Collingwood c Smith b Edwards 8
As more and more replays of the lbw shout in the last over are shown, the Windies may wish the referral system from the last series in the Caribbean was in operation here. But can Ravi profit from that let-off? A single from Colly brings the Essex man back on strike, he tips and runs a quick single to mid-off but Baker's throw just misses the stumps. But then it's all over for Colly as he nicks another outswinger low to second slip.
1424: Eng 107-3
After all this food discussion, time for some spoon... err, spin, as Big Benn returns and immediately has a loud lbw appeal against Bopara as he prods forward, but Aussie umpire Steve Davis shakes his head. That was close. Bopara responds by getting a thick outside edge down to third man for two. He has 42.
From Dalt, TMS inbox:
"Chris Gayle will stumble off the plane, hide his duty free bags behind the helmet and score 200. Passing the landmark with a five for hitting a bottle of rum"
1420: Eng 105-3
Cap'n Gayle, still wearing several sweaters despite the increasing sunshine, rubs his hands at slip as Edwards sends down another no-ball. He drops the next one a bit shorter, which is confidently hooked for four by Collingwood. My BBC colleague Andrew McKenzie, who's a diehard Durham fan, is already purring with appreciation in the seat next to me. (In appreciation of Colly, you understand). Sirens are blaring around the St John's Wood area as Edwards finishes a long over.
From nm2878 on 606:
"Poor KP... he will be mauled again for playing in IPL without anyone realising how good a delivery it was"
Join the debate on 606
1415: Eng 100-3
The watchful Bopara takes England to three figures with another beautiful cover-driven four, then Taylor has to get down sharply to field a straight drive off his own bowling.
From Gina in Gloucestershire, TMS inbox:
"Mark - I think we, or is it you, or maybe Tom, have brought about the demise of Cook. All this talk of crumble and pies and custard has made Cook feel he should be somewhere else. On the plus note, his departure brings me closer to see Colly stepping out for us. Just wish he would step out with me"
I'm sure Tom will hold me fully responsible for the loss of both wickets... it was all going so well for England before they threw me the car keys.
1411: Eng 96-3
The lanky Sulieman Benn, as ever, can't resist giving a little word of advice as Edwards raps Colly on the pad with the hat-trick ball, but it was heading down the leg side. The Durham man calmly sees off a maiden over. And the Brettmeister General has been out and about - does he fancy himself as the new Robert Peston with this economic analysis of the Lord's retail businesses?
From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's:
"What's hot and what's not at Lord's during a May Test match in a recession? The newly-refurbished Lord's shop had many more window-shoppers than buyers at lunch, but there were some very impressive queues for burgers and other hot offerings. No queuing at all to get your hands on beer at £3.70 a pint, and practically no interest in programmes at a fiver a pop, but the betting tents and ice-cream kiosk (£1.70 a cone) seem to be doing decent business."
1406: Eng 96-3
Suddenly, Geoff Boycott's "add two wickets to the score and then see if you're still comfortable" maxim has come true for England. Paul Collingwood joins Ravi B, who shoulders arms to Jerome Taylor who has replaced Nash at the Pavilion End. A lovely shot through the covers brings Bopara a single to take him to 36, and Colly is off the mark with a two and a single off the first two deliveries he receives. Colly will face Fidel's hat-trick ball...
From Pete in Mansfield, TMS inbox:
"I think I've worked out the real reason why Samit Patel wasn't picked. With all these food puns within the England team I doubt he'd be able to concentrate on his cricket"
1359: WICKET - Eng 92-3 - Pietersen c Ramdin b Edwards 0
New batsman is Kevin Pietersen, fresh from the IPL where it's fair to say he didn't set the world alight, but even opened the bowling in his last game for the Bangalore Royal Challengers. But he nicks his first ball to keeper Ramdin, and Fidel is on a hat-trick! The TMS crew agree the ball was an "absolute jaffa", as it pitched on middle and leg, swung away and nearly wrong-footed Ramdin who had to dive to his right. That was the last ball of the over, so we'll have to wait for the hat-trick delivery.
1357: WICKET - Eng 92-2 - Cook b Edwards 35
Edwards bangs in a lifter at Bopara, who expertly sways out of the way. A single (off a no-ball) brings Cook on strike - and he is yorked by a peach of a delivery which flicks his inside edge and shatters the stumps as he plays a forward defensive.
From Hywel Gibbs, TMS inbox:
"Nash is more than a medium-pacer Mark. While playing for Lamphey CC in 1998 he unleashed a bouncer at a batsman who had just cut him for two successive fours, hit him clean in the chops and sparked a mini riot as a result. I kid you not"
1352: Eng 90-1
Cook prods Nash to deep point for the first single since the interval, while Ravi knocks a shorter ball off his hip to nick the strike. Pedestrian so far.
From Sukh 'Mastermind' Sandhu from Hounslow, via text on 81111:
"Lunch should be good. We have Swann and Onions along with a talented Cook. The Windies have kindly donated a Baker to proceedings"
All this culinary chat reminds me, whatever happened to Phil "Colonel" Mustard? Rather prematurely discarded as an ODI keeper/top-order biffer for the powerplays?
1349: Eng 88-1
Opening bowler Fidel Edwards returns from the Nursery End. He tried to give Bopara a bit of a going-over in Barbados, but Ravi B held his nerve and got a hundred that day. Simon Mann on TMS observes that the umpires' coats are the same colour as England's pristine white shirts, while the Windies' are "creamier". Edwards gets a bit of movement away from the bat with the aid of the famous Lord's slope (which if you're not familiar with the ground, it slopes down across the pitch from the Grandstand towards the Mound & Tavern Stands). Ravi digs out a straighter ball and England are yet to record a run since lunch.
From Carole in Maidenhead, TMS inbox:
"Greetings Mark! Why indeed have nasty yellow liquid on your crumble, when some real vanilla ice-cream or thick West Country cream would be sublime? Especially if the apple has a touch of ginger and cloves, and the crumble some toasted sesame seeds"
1344: Eng 88-1
Brendan Nash to have a trundle with his miserly left-arm medium pace. Let's hope he pursues a different line from the one I saw him follow in Barbados, when he bowled a foot outside off stump and sent most of the crowd to sleep. He opens with an unremarkable maiden over to Cook. Did Tom see Nash coming?
The Windies team are followed out by the Essex pair - Ali Cook walks through the pavilion gate and strides 15 yards towards the wicket before he realises he's forgotten something: his partner Ravi Bopara. Here we go.
From PaulLakesKnees on 606:
"On a notoriously batsman friendly pitch which will only get easier, is England's bowling potency more likely to be enhanced by the presence of the second best spinner in the country or the fourth best available seamer?"
Join the debate on 606
Right - while Ford Tomdyce takes a breather, I'll be your genial guide to the postprandial peregrinations from Headquarters. And for the record, I loathe custard - why ruin a nice dessert like apple crumble by drowning it in a thick yellow liquid that takes half the taste away?
From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's:
"The lower tiers of the Grandstand are filling up very nicely, but there are vast chunks of unclaimed seats across the rest of the ground. A notable exception is the Pavilion. The members were rumoured to be disgruntled about the unusual Wednesday start but the egg-and-tomato ties are jostling for the best vantage points. Meanwhile, easily the loudest applause of the morning session came as the players and umpires headed for the pavilion with lunch called. Are they impressed that West Indies have got through a stunning 16 overs in the second hour, or is simply relief that the picnic hampers can finally be opened?"
1301: Eng 88-1
Lordy - late worries for Bopara as Benn gets big turn outside off and takes the outside edge - which flies through the empty gully slot for four. That'll be lunch, and England will be happy with the session. Cook will munch on 34, Ravi on 33.
See you shortly. If the time's your own, have a listen to TMS during the lunch interval - they'll be profiling new England team director Andy Flower, including an interview with his predecessor Peter Moores.
1259: Eng 82-1
Baker goes round the wicket to Cook and sends square leg back. Short one coming? Ah-ha - it's the inswinging yorker. Cook, bright-eyed and bushy both of tail and eyebrow, digs it out.
From Timothy Hoult, TMS inbox:
"Re: Paul in Derby (1236), the daddy of hard liquids is silly putty or silicone dilatant. It'll flow under its own weight like a fluid, but if you roll it into a ball and drop it, it will bounce. Hit it very quickly with a heavy hammer and it'll shatter. Custard, corn-flour and water, silly putty - it's all about the speed of the action it's subjected to."
From Alan in Dundee, TMS inbox:
"Lunch cannot 'hove' into view, as hove is a past participle of heave."
I sit corrected, Alan.
1255: Eng 82-1
Gentle wind-down now to the interval. Skipper Gayle's even left the field early, possibly to get first dibs on the sangers. Benn drops short and Bopara steps away to crash a sweet back-foot drive away square for for to move to 27.
From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's
: "Don't ask me what the current odds are for England to win this match. I, along with every other journalist at Lord's, have been issued with a strict order not to log onto betting sites 'while covering international matches' since Wifi providers 'do not wish to spend their money on subsidising [journalists'] betting habits.' So there."
1250: Eng 77-1
Still plenty of seats left at Lord's, should you be footloose and feeling flush. Super nip-backer from Baker, just clearing the top of Bopara's off-bail after creating the space with a succession of away-swingers.
From Robert Walker, TMS inbox:
"If you are sinking in custard, eating your way out is the only option. At least it is in the comics I read."
1246: Eng 76-1
Easy, Ravi... He reaches for a slower one from Baker and almost spoons a drive straight down point's throat. Blocks follow as luncheon hoves into view.
1242: Eng 76-1
Good combo, Benn and Baker - the former rattling through his set of six, the latter taking his time with the taunting and teasing. Just three singles off Long Limbs.
From Joanna Hunt, TMS inbox:
"I remember hearing once that the time taken to swim the length of a pool filled with treacle is the same as the time it takes to swim the length of a pool filled with water. Something to do with the force of pushing against the treacle being the same as the ease of gliding through the water."
1239: Eng 72-1
Baker again, and he's got Cook in trouble from the off - a slaloming seamer that slaps into the batsman's front pad and brings an eyes-wide appeal from all corners. Might just have been some bat in that one... The next one is a fraction shorter and buries its nose in Cook's back pad - maybe a touch too high this time. Nervy times.
1236: Eng 71-1
Better from Cook against Big Benn - a flick to fine leg for two and a stroller for one a tad straighter. Almost warm out there now - I've just seen a jumper being removed.
A link to the custard-walking for you:
From Paul in Derby, TMS inbox:
"Corn-flour that is the daddy of hard Liquids. Try it at home. Mix half corn-flour in a freezer-bag with water. It's runny like a liquid. Hit it against something and the pressure turns it into a hard lump."
1233: Eng 68-1
Super stuff now from Baker. He's finding wobble and bounce, not to mention a little zip and spit, and it's all Bopara can do to keep his timbers intact and blade housed. 1-13 off six overs so far for the Montserrat marvel.
From Ben Myers, TMS inbox:
"The 'it's not Jesus, it's custard' event took place on the tv show Braniac. Interestingly enough, custard turns solid upon impact, so if you start sinking in it, it's very difficult to get out of. Just in case you were wondering."
1229: Eng 68-1
Whoosh - Cook struggling with Big Benn here. He aims another big drive that misses, tries to sweep from outside off and finds only breeze again and then falls over his front foot and is nearly stumped down leg. Gayle stands emotionless at slip, stroking his well-travelled 'tache.
1225: Eng 68-1
That's nice ding-dong between Baker and Bopara, Ravi steps forward to drill him dreamily down the ground for his second four of the day before the bowler ripostes with a snakey lifter outside off that beats the batsman's startled prod.
From Richard Mair, TMS inbox:
"Doesn't 'pinked' mean trimmed with those funny ziggy-zaggy scissors? So if Collingwood is nicely-pinked I am sure it will stop him fraying at edges - something the whole England team could do with, surely?"
1223: Eng 64-1
Singles apiece as Big Benn twirls gently away. Cook then tries to thrash a fuller one into Kilburn and succeeds only in edging it into his front foot. There's a man in the crowd wearing a yellow sunhat with a wooden spoon strapped to the side like a radio aerial. He's smiling, so he must be doing something right.
1218: Eng 61-1
Ravi steals a scamperer of a single off a short one before Baker keeps Cook leaving. Sun now out at Lord's. Extraordinary.
From Diane Seymour, TMS inbox:
"I remember seeing on TV an experiment where someone ran across a swimming pool filled with custard to prove something about the viscosity of liquids."
Ah, those were the days. Although how long must it have taken to fill a pool with custard? And where did they cook it? I smell a rat...
1214: Eng 60-1
Hello - time for some left-arm spin from Sulieman Benn. The long-armed tweaker struggles to find his line early on and is tickled, nudged and dabbed with ease by the Essex combo. Partnership up to 32.
From Nick Langmead, TMS inbox:
"Re: 11:39 & 11:49 - whilst we are talking pop princesses, Lionel's mum Cheryl must be proud as punch at seeing her lad play at Lords. Wonder if she has 'made her mind up...' as to go and watch him?"
1210: Eng 55-1
Smooth-Moves Baker to continue us. That's a bit full, and Ravi helps himself to a driven three back down the ground to move to 12. In the stands, a man wearing a cherry-red fez cackles happily.
1203: Eng 52-1
Overpitched from Taylor, and Bopara tucks into that - a crispy drive between bowler and mid-off that Sarwan does well to haul back for just a three. A single apiece follows, and that's drinks - I'll have a hot chocolate please.
From Rob Webber, TMS inbox:
"Well I disagree
it could indeed be a concrete pitch, if it was laid (with a bit too much water in the mix) five minutes before the start and is having trouble setting in our balmy May weather."
1158: Eng 47-1
Baker causing a few problems with his right-arm-over angled tempters to Cook. The opener aims a big drive at one and picks up a jammy four as a thick edge races past gully's desperate fingertips.
From Nick Henderson, TMS inbox:
""Re: 1139 - I think Sarah's referring to the teen-pop sensation, Pink
Though being a mid-20s bloke, I wouldn't know. Didn't she kiss a girl once and quite like it? Or was that someone else?"
1155: Eng 42-1
Taylor continues into his sixth over. Just the two slips in, but Cook has a poke at one moving down the slope and finds only chilly air. Two maidens on the bounce.
1149: Eng 42-1
Change of bowling from Gayle - it's time for Lionel Baker, who always sounds to me like a 1980s smooth-jazz sax player, in the style of Kenny G but with a touch more funk. Useful first over, though - right on the money just outside off, tempting Ravi into an airy push and keeping the scoreboard frozen.
From Luke Allen, TMS inbox:
"Surely a rice pudding or even tapioca (frogs spawn as it used to be fondly titled at school) trampoline would offer less bounce."
1144: Eng 42-1
A glance up at stands reveals a white-goateed Mike Gatting telling an amusing anecdote to fellow former England captain Tony Lewis. Lewis, dapper in blue blazer and MCC tie, throws his hands up in mock shock as Gats chuckles mightily. Loose from Taylor, over-pitching on off to be driven away sweetly by Cook for four and then drifting padwards to be clipped away for more of the same.
1139: Eng 34-1
Here comes Ravi B for his first joust in the no.3 slot. He's beaten all ends up by an absolute dreamer outside off, and howls of cartoon anguish echo round the slip cordon. Edwards gives him some literal breathing-space with a wobbly wide, and then strays onto leg-peg to allow the Essex tyro to flip one away to the deep square leg fence for a nerve-soothing four.
From Sarah Clarke, TMS inbox:
"Re 11:14 - when you say Collingwood is "nicely-pinked", do you mean he's slightly sunburned, or that he's dyed his hair a shocking shade of bleach-blonde and is dangling from the Lord's balcony in a a safety harness, lycra and high heels?"
'Pinked' can mean all that?
1133: WICKET Strauss c Ramdin b Taylor 16, Eng 28-1
Gayle, seeing more blancmange than concrete in this pitch, moves his third slip out to short extra cover. Let's call it genius captaincy, because Strauss then aims a mighty slash at a short one outside off and thins a skinny one through to the diving Ramdin. There's a moment of stunned silence around Lord's before Windies whooping reaches the ears. The tourists have the breakthrough...
1127: Eng 26-0
Gaagh - Cook hesitates as Strauss calls him through for a rapid one and is nearly stranded mid-pitch as Nash dashes in from cover. He calms his nerves with a mighty pull off Fidel's short one for four through square leg but then lurches back to panic mode at the prospect of another single and does the stop-start shuffle before sprinting home.
From Hank Dillon, TMS inbox:
"Mildly interesting scientific information re.: trampolines and the bounciness of solid surfaces. After jumping on a trampoline the human body finds it difficult to jump from a standing start on a solid surface. Dunno why, something to do with balance, I guess, but I could never do it during my ever-so-brief trampolining career ."
1123: Eng 20-0
Nods of approval from the old boys in the pavilion as Strauss clouts the first two boundaries of the series - a clunking drive straight down the ground, and a slapping cut off the follow-up short-pitched over-corrector. A single to conclude, and Strauss has dashed to 15.
1118: Eng 11-0
Sporadic applause as Cook clips a leg-stump strayer from Fidel through midwicket for two. The doe-eyed Essex man nearly nibbles at a tempter that leaves him going down the slope before stiffening his resolve and prodding the remainder straight back down the track.
From Clarkey in London, TMS inbox:
"Surely a concrete trampoline would provide prodigious bounce for a cricket ball?"
A more than fair point, Clarkaldo. I was thinking of the lack of bounce a human might gain from such a device; under the circumstances, let's switch analogy to 'blancmange trampoline'.
1114: Eng 9-0
Short sleeves from Alastair Cook, and not even a scarf slung around the neck - stern stuff. He slices Taylor jabbily to gully and then squints around the half-empty stands before scampering a single dropped into the off-side. A glimpse there of Ravi Bopara on the England balcony, deep in conversation with a nicely-pinked Paul Collingwood.
From Tim in York, TMS inbox:
"With beach cricket proving so popular in many parts of the world, could today see the beginning of the English answer - Tundra Cricket?"
1107: Eng 7-0
Ooof - Fidel Edwards dips a yorker in at Strauss, and an inside edge cannons into the England skipper's back pad. Yelps from the slip cordon. A nudge to leg brings another easy three before Cook leaves his quacker behind with the same. No pace in the track at all so far, with all the bounce of a concrete trampoline.
1102: Eng 3-0
...and we're off, Jerome Taylor snaking his second delivery past Strauss's off-peg. Three slips, a gully and a short leg in; plenty of palm-warming handclapping. Strauss jabs a short one down into the off-side, and when Taylor strays a fullish one onto his pads he pushes it through midwicket for a casual three.
Here come the Windies players, straight into a huddle on the outfield. They might well be talking team tactics, but there's also an element of frozen penguins about it.
If you're coming down to Lord's today for the earliest Test an English summer has ever seen, it might be worth bringing the spare Thermos. And a secondary hat. The sun-cream? I wouldn't worry too much. It's so cold that I'm expecting Cook and Strauss to come out wearing sealskin parkas and mink mufflers.
From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's:
"The recession has struck - no biscuits with the complementary coffee in the Lord's media centre for the first time in living memory. On a more pressing note, I reckon about 1,500 people were present and seated for the toss. Even allowing for the gloomy forecast of around 12,000 spectators for the first day - which which make the ground half full - there's a lot of empty spaces still to fill."
Those teams in full - as expected, it's hello Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions, feet-up Monty.
AJ Strauss, AN Cook, RS Bopara, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, MJ Prior, TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, JM Anderson, GP Swann, G Onions
CH Gayle, DS Smith, RR Sarwan, LMP Simmons, S Chanderpaul, BP Nash, D Ramdin, JE Taylor, SJ Benn, FH Edwards, LS Baker
News from the toss: Chris Gayle calls correctly and decides he fancies a bowl. Looks a touch green, the track, plus this'll give him the chance to unpack his suitcase.
This from Skipper Strauss: "We probably would have bowled too, but if we can get through the first session, we can look to go on from there. There's a really good feeling in the team at the moment."
"Good morning, sir, and welcome to the Test Restaurant - your usual table? Plenty available today - it is rather early to be dining, of course. On the specials board today we have raw Windies - I'm afraid the Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe originally advertised on the menu are off. May I recommend the undercooked Pietersen, served with chilled Onions? No, I'm afraid the Flintoff is unavailable. Don't ask, sir - don't ask."