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Jonathan Agnew column

Jonathan Agnew
By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Graham Onions
He will find much flatter pitches than this one in Test cricket, but this was a tremendous start

When Graham Onions watched his first delivery in Test cricket disappear through mid-wicket for four, he must have feared for his England future.

His golden duck had been the most ignominious of dismissals - he missed a straight full toss - and a nervous long hop was easily put away by Devon Smith.

Happily, bowlers get a second chance and Onions' sixth over was one of the most dramatic by any debutant.

The rangy pace bowler had Lendl Simmons beautifully taken by Andrew Strauss at first slip from a delivery that kicked.

Jerome Taylor fell two balls later to a neat leg side catch by Matt Prior and after a delay, Sulieman Benn arrived late at the crease, barely dressed.

Nor surprising really as just minutes earlier, I saw him strolling nonchalantly around the Nursery End listening to his iPod!

He lasted three balls and when Denesh Ramdin was lbw for five, Onions had four for three in seven balls.

He bowled at a decent pace with a very uncomplicated action and found considerably more bounce than anyone else.

He will find much flatter pitches than this one in Test cricket, but this was a tremendous start.

Great credit must also go to Graeme Swann. One of English cricket's true characters, Swann played some sumptuous cover drives to make 63 not out and remind everyone of the valuable second string to his bow.

Strauss showed great ingenuity in giving Swann the new ball - almost unheard of these days - because of the hold England's spinners held over Smith in the Caribbean.

Swann did not get him in his brief - first spell of just two overs - but he did with the first ball of his second spell when Smith inexplicably missed a straight ball.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul edged his first ball to slip and four overs later Swann removed the obdurate Nash, again to a catch by Collingwood.

The off-spinner had blown away the middle order. As exciting as it was to watch, the truth is that West Indies' batting was pretty feeble.

The conditions might be alien but not dangerous and their technique was found wanting.

Strauss can't have needed more than a nanosecond to decide to enforce the follow on. And having taken two further wickets, given decent weather, there must be a chance that England will complete a thumping victory on the third day.

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see also
Debutant Onions inspires England
07 May 09 |  England
England v W Indies day two photos
07 May 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
06 May 09 |  England
England rescued by Bopara century
06 May 09 |  England
England v W Indies day one photos
06 May 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
05 May 09 |  England
West Indies in England 2009
04 Dec 08 |  Cricket

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