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The no.1 test team, England, asserted their superiority over the underdog West Indies in the first test of the tour at Lordâ€™s with an authoritative batting display on the second day to go with their terrific bowling effort on day 1 which saw them restrict West Indies to a below par 243/9. It took Englandâ€™s best bowler in the innings, Stuart Broad just one delivery on day 2 to dismiss debutant Shannon Gabriel for a duck before the English skipper Andrew Strauss took charge and smashed an unbeaten century to help England pile on 259/3 at stumps on day 2. England therefore will go into the 3rd day, 16 runs ahead with 7 wickets still in hand hoping to bat the West Indies out of the match on what looks like a belter at Lordâ€™s.
England resumed day 2 of the first test against the West Indies at Lordâ€™s well in control of the match after having reduced the Windies to 243/9 despite yet another gritty display from West Indian veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Stuart Broad, who was the wrecker-in-chief having taken 6/72 on day 1 finished the innings off with the first ball of the day to bag his career best figures of 7/72 by having debutant Shannon Gabriel(0) nick a good length delivery to Graeme Swann at slip. Hence, Chanderpaul once again remained the lone wolf standing not out on 87 at the end of another inconsistent 1st innings display from the West Indies which saw them post an insufficient 243.
The England openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss started in circumspect fashion against the Windiesâ€™ new ball shared by Fidel Edwards and an in-form Kemar Roach. The experienced pair assessed the conditions initially before beginning to up the scoring rate. Strauss was fluent right from the outset while his partner Cook hit a couple of streaky boundaries through the scattered slip cordon before settling into his elements. There were a couple of gorgeous shots played through the off-side by both batsmen following their watchful period initially to set the scoreboard in motion. The pair put on 47 for the first wicket before Roach halted their charge by having Cook (26) drag one on to his stumps attempting a punch through the off-side.
The ever reliable Jonathan Trott then joined his skipper at the wicket and made sure England built towards a strong reply. While Strauss was â€˜in the zoneâ€™ and playing flawlessly, Trott complemented him well by playing some reassuring and solid cricket. The run rate was up right through till lunch as none of the batsmen were troubled by this one paced attack on a wicket that was now a good one for batting. At Lunch, England were well ahead thanks to a strong reply from their top order that saw them score 80/1 after 23 overs.
England consolidated admirably in the second session to surge ahead in the context of the match. Although the West Indies started the session well by being rather frugal, the well set pair of Strauss and Trott dug in for the long haul. Trott had a close lbw shout turned down off Sammy early in the session on the review before grinding in alongside his captain Strauss, who was at his meticulous best. The one paced nature of the Windies attack did hurt them a bit and helped England coast along towards their first innings total.
Strauss payed some eye catching drives and flicks off the pads and looked in little trouble as he marched past his fifty rather briskly. Trott too slowly began to feed off his partnerâ€™s confidence and calm, and began to milk the runs with ease as the session wore on. Trott reached fifty at the stroke of tea while his captain reached a rather comfortable 78 unbeaten at Tea and took England to a very healthy 167/1 in just 51 overs with plenty of play left in the day. West Indies had nothing to show for in this session and were all set to bear the brunt of a possible onslaught in the last one.
After having done all the hard work, the experienced pair of Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott were not going to throw it away easily. The wicket seemed to have flattened out considerably and with the West Indies attack looking rather jaded, the pair continued to pile on the runs post tea. They added a further 27 after Tea before the Windies skipper Darren Sammy broke through against the run of play. He broke the 147 run 2nd wicket stand by getting one to seam away from Trott (58) and had him caught behind.
That wicket brought the flamboyant Kevin Pietersen to the crease, who set himself up on this good wicket rather quickly. Pietersen looked in great touch and played some typical wristy on-drives to get going. He upped the run rate a bit too and added another 50 with his skipper. Strauss on the other hand carried on to make a superlative century, his first since December 2010 and his fifth at Lordâ€™s to set England well on their way past the West Indies total.
Just as Pietersen and Strauss looked all set to launch into the Windies attack in the last hour, Marlon Samuels got one to drift away from Pietersen(31) and had him caught behind by the keeper Denesh Ramdin to give the visitors some respite. Englandâ€™s No.5 Ian Bell walked out with the score on a comfortable 244/3 with England in the lead by 1 run. He briefly kept his captain company on 5* before the Umpires called off play for the day after just 80.3 overs bowled deeming the light insufficient.
So at the close on Day 2, England were very much in the ascendancy at 259/3, in the lead by 16, riding on a magnificent 121 not out from the captain Andrew Strauss and were looking good to take this game beyond the Windies grasp on the 3rd day on a wicket that seems to be easing out for batting.
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 all out (89.5 overs, 2.71rpo)
S Chanderpaul 87* (175) S Broad 7-72
A Barath 42 (101) J Anderson 2-56
England 1st Innings 259/3 (80.2 overs, 3.22 rpo)
A Strauss 121*(249) K Roach 1/59
J Trott 58(134) M Samuels 1/34
- 20/05/2012 11:04 - Gabriel hails Chanderpaul, welcomes unexpected debut
- 19/05/2012 16:36 - West Indies battle to 120/4 on Day 3 at Lord's
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