Two weeks today I’ll either be shivering atop the Lord’s pavilion or staring all agog for the new season at the concrete of the multi storey car park adjoining the Chelmsford county ground. But for the moment I have THIS!
The National Stadium in St George’s Grenada is a feast for the eyes – and a photographers delight as is all the island. Photos do not necessarily (or at least mine) do justice the the picturesque quality of the view. The ground nestles at the end of a steep/sided valley which is awash with greenery. Both sides of the valley have, somehow, properties clinging to their sides, each painted a vibrant colour to make this one of the finest views from a cricket ground and roads which seem almost vertical from here but still the traffic manages.
In terms of the cricket it doesn’t have the kudos of those with better views – Lord’s, Adelaide Oval, Worcester, Newlands etc – but it is one the most beautiful grounds around.
I know a few of you prefer my photos to my words…so here’s a few to give you a flavour of the day!
If only the same could be said of the Third Test being played out in front of me. A more lively looking pitch encouraged Brathwaite to bowl first and at lunch England have struggled against some fine bowling to 46/3 off 27 overs; Crawley, Root and Lawrence back in the hutch. Maidens galore so it’s not been easy.
There’s a much more relaxed approach here than in the other two venues, and, admittedly smaller crowds but the stadium has the feel of the Oval on a quietish county championship day except for the four police officers guarding the pitch at lunch time and a carnival band processing the boundary!
By mid afternoon it was clear the haunting torment from Australia had not gone away. The WIndies quicks managed to get the ball to swing (dare one say ‘reverse’ after only 30/35 overs) and coupled with the lack of English footwork (more akin to week one on Strictly) wickets fell so that by tea England had crumbled to 114/8 – or 68/5 in that session! Wickets were shared around in that session except for Mayers who wasn’t asked but then wasn’t needed!
Dined last night at a local authentic family run restaurant and at the end of the meal the chef/owner appeared to greet his diners. He clearly does this so often that his son/waiter just brings a chair for dad to sit on. The look of disdain on the sons face says it all – on the lines of ‘he’s off again, more work for the rest of us!’
Alighting on English cricket supporters the topic soon moved to todays match. Clearly he knows his cricket and this ground – his forecast is for England to ‘get walloped’ – on the basis of the first serving, he’s not far off!
The evening session started with Woakes falling for the second ball and it looked all over but Mahmood and Leach decided otherwise and slowly counterattacked to stymie the WIndies. Mahmood finally fell to the penultimate ball of the day for 49, a partnership of 90 and England ending on 204ao
Both sides would have accepted that given the twists and turns of the day. Ended the day with a ‘liquid marijuana’ cocktail just for good measure!
Perhaps the chef this evening – a different one – will offer another opinion with the sweet course?