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The opening day of the three match test series between England and the West Indies belonged to the hosts as Stuart Broad picked up 6 wickets after tea to leave the Windies struggling at 243/9 at the close of play. Shivnarine Chanderpaul's unbeaten 87 was the highlight of the day for the visitors, for whom a lot of batsmen got starts, but failed to show the technical skill required to convert their efforts into a telling contribution. With a flat deck on offer, England will be favourites to bat through the day tomorrow and take a crucial first innings lead.
Was it lambs to the slaughter or the start of a long overdue revival, maybe even a bit of both as the West Indies made their way over to Lord's for the opening test of the three match series between the no.1 side in the world and men from the Caribbean isles. The flip of the coin went the home side's way and Andrew Strauss opted to give his bowlers first use of a fresh pitch in an attempt to make early in-roads. The pitch though looked like a shining mirror, and while there would be some swing on offer, the wicket should have had plenty of runs in it.
There was a debutant in an otherwise settled England line-up with Johnny Bairstow getting the opportunity to stake a claim for that troublesome no.6 position in the batting unit. The only other real decision point was the choice of the third seamer, and England opted for Tim Bresnan ahead of the unlucky Steve Finn. With both Bresnan and Stuart Broad more than handy with the bat, a case could be made for England opting for five bowlers and 5 batsmen, but the hosts continued to play it safe.
The West Indies meanwhile raised a few eyebrows by dropping their frontline spinner for this game, going in for a 4 man pace attack. Young Shannon Gabriel made his test debut with Ravi Rampaul's stiff neck forcing him to sit out of the firs test.
Darren Sammy in his press conference yesterday had spoken about how crucial it was for his opening batsmen to see off the new ball, but that did not happen with James Anderson hitting timber in his 5th over. The left-handed Kieran Powell was at the receiving end, having been suckered in by three consecutive deliveries which left him, following by one which darted in, late. Powell, looking to let the ball go, brought his bat down too late to cover the swing, and saw his off-stump separated from the rest. Powell fell for 5 and the Windies were 13/1.
Anderson, on an extended spell with the new ball, struck a second time on the penultimate ball of his 8th over, getting rich rewards for pitching the ball up with Kirk Edwards trapped plumb in front for 1. The West Indies were 32/2 at drinks and were in desperate need of a partnership.
West Indies' prayers were answered by Adrian Barath and Darren Bravo, with the duo stitching together a 51 run partnership for the 3rd wicket to see their side through to lunch. Barath had battled his way through to 41, while Bravo was showing a Lara-esque presence at the crease, making way through to 27. The West Indies had done well to recover from those two early losses to post a decent 83/2 in the first session.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad took on the mantle of attack straight after the lunch break, and the combination did the trick with Adrian Barath falling on the final ball of the 3rd over after the interval. Barath had survived a loud shout for leg before earlier in the over with Broad having been guilty of over-stepping, but the 7th ball bowled in the over as a result did the trick with the batsman having a go at it, and finding Anderson in the gully, who held on to the catch at the second attempt.
Darren Bravo soon followed Barath back to the pavilion run out courtesy of a terrible mix-up with Shivnarine Chanderpaul which saw both batsmen and the ball too down the same end. Prior's throw back to Graeme Swann wasn't the best, but got the job done to run out the unfortunate Bravo for 29.
Moments later, Chanderpaul was given out leg before for 15, but the decision was rightly overturned courtesy DRS with the ball quite clearly missing the stumps. The rest of the session though belonged to the West Indies as Chanderpaul and Marlon Samules dropped anchor and played intelligent cricket on a pitch that still had plenty of runs to offer. At Tea on the opening day, the duo had added 40 crucial runs for the 5th wicket to see their side through to 140/4.
Chanderpaul and Samuels continued to hold fort after the break, with the former bringing up yet another half-century the 60th of his test career in just over a hundred deliveries. Samuels was also looking very solid, and at the end of the 67th over, the West Indies had made their way through to 181.
With the West Indies looking secure for the first time in the day, the visitors dressing room could have been excused for relaxing and dreaming of a 300+ score. Stuart Broad though had other ideas and engineered a double strike to put England right back on top. Samuels threw his wicket away for 31 with Broad the beneficiary, and the fast bowler made it two in as many overs by getting Denesh Ramdin (6) to nick one through to Andrew Strauss.
Chanderpaul and skipper Darren Sammy added 32 runs for the 7th wicket before the second new ball did the trick, the latter falling to Stuart Broad for 17, caught in the gully. Kemar Roach failed to provide much assistance to the West Indies cause, falling for 6 to hand Broad a fifer. With the day winding down, Chanderpaul's decision making was a rather perplexing, as he choose to protect his own wicket and expose the no.10 Fidel Edwards at every opportunity. That could well cost the veteran left-hander a well deserved century with Edwards (2) falling to Broad on the fourth ball of the final over and with only the debutant to come tomorrow morning, England could well wrap up the innings quickly.
Stuart Broad will be hoping to pick up a first ever seven-fer in his Test career early tomorrow morning, and England will consider it a job well done if they can keep the West Indies down to a first innings total of near about 250. With there no real grass cover on the pitch, and no real demons in it either, the West Indies pace attack will need to do exceedingly well to make a match of this contest. England have the batting to be able to post a 400 plus score on this track, and they could well lay the foundations for that tomorrow.
England: A Strauss (c), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, J Bairstow, M Prior (wk), T Bresnan, S Broad, G Swann, J Anderson.
West Indies: A Barath, K Powell, K Edwards, D Bravo, S Chanderpaul, M Samuels, D Sammy (c), D Ramdin (wk), K Roach, S Gabriel, F Edwards
West Indies 1st Innings 243/9 (89.4 overs, 2.71rpo)
S Chanderpaul 87* (175) S Broad 6-72
A Barath 42 (101) J Anderson 2-56
File Photograph Copyright: Barry Zee
- 19/05/2012 09:11 - Incisive bowling key for West Indies says Radford
- 18/05/2012 16:40 - Strauss' unbeaten ton puts England firmly on top in Lord's Test
- 18/05/2012 10:39 - Adrian Barath reflects on first day battle