As the Oscars reach their fever pitch screaming on early morning news channels here, the die hards were preparing for the worst from an England perspective. Cricket die hards are those who sit through rain showers for most of the day in an English summer knowing full well that the rain is not going to stop, but it just might and then there just might be play.
And so more than I expected arrived at the National Stadium in St George’s hoping for a miracle of two but knowing full well that this was to be the last Test match (part) day on this tour. Mad we may be, but we’re doing no harm!
And the inevitable happened – Windies win by 10 wickets with more than a day and two sessions to spare; but not without a bit of needle between Mahmood and the Windies quicks. Not clear what that was about but it looked more like rugby handbags than anything else.
By way of useless information – England last won a series in the Caribbean in 1967/8 – over 50 years ago and Englands latest series loss makes it five in a row – not seen since the dark ages!
More erudite and paid media types will pontificate on the inner meaning of each match and the tour but I’ll remember most the short pitched stuff to da Silva in Antigua and how he struggled, his ‘coming of age’ innings here in Grenada and before we wallow in the doom and gloom on the future of English cricket, the sheer brilliance of Stokes’ century in Barbados.
So for those on the same cricket tour thanks for the kind words about my words and photos over the past three weeks.
Readers who prefer the tourist stuff will be pleased as I’m getting out and about away from cricket before I leave Grenada and hopefully some snaps will be worthy of posting (be grateful I’m not inviting you round to see all my photos! I know you have more interesting things to do)
In other news the County Championship starts in eleven days time! Yippee!
After yesterday’s ‘full Meldrew’ on over rates, calm has descended (but the niggles are still there) as the Test and the series reaches ‘crunch day’. Today will decide the outcome of the series I’m sure. NB these ramblings are written contemporaneously with the play and not afterwards!
As things stand at the start of play, WIndies lead by 28 with two wickets remaining. As ever day three and the third innings are the most important of the match. A substantial lead by Windies – say 75 – puts pressure on England on a pitch which should be better for batting but as we’ve seen favours swing/seam one day and pace the next. Add in the occasional variable bounce and there’s spice in the game! Not as much as on the spice island of Grenada but it could be fun nonetheless.
A lead of 50 would be handy, anything less brings England back into the game and with the new ball still ‘fresh’…who knows?
That was embarrassing – for England and for the umpires! Lunch taken at 12:17 with Windies making 297ao da Silva pacing his innings to be 100no but was given out twice incorrectly by the umpires. The last being two minutes earlier when everyone had walked off and crossed the boundary line except the umpires who wanted to review the decision (da Silva did ask for a review but walked off nonetheless).
Prior to that England were embarrassing – both of the last two partnerships added far too many. The bowling was poor – Seales able to play very well and safely off the front foot being a prime example. Root’s thinking and strategy seemed all over the place…and a follow on from yesterday!
A lead of 93 has the power to embarrass further but let’s not detract from da Silva’s innings – dogged, determined, resourceful, limpet like when you add in the time he’s spent defying the England bowlers both here and in Bridgetown. And he also held the innings together when the wheels looked like coming off yesterday – so an excellent effort.
Oh dear…I’m not in Meldrew mode but there are several in the crowd who are! In 21 overs between lunch and tea England have managed to scrabble to 43/4 – Lees, the invisible fielder (when he fields the ball never comes to him however long the innings) is still there with 11no and Bairstow 3no. Mayers has taken 3 for 7 in 7 overs and whilst just over medium pace (the new Darren Stevens?) is being treated as unplayable by the English batsmen! He’s also a decent bat so could be the next DS!
Roots body language today and his strategy/tactics this morning suggests someone ready to throw in the towel. Stokes has a lot to do already in holding this team together plus everything else and the general consensus among the cognoscenti here that the captaincy would be too much! So then who?
Back in the match – England could lose six wickets in the last session but hopefully not. If England make 175/200 from here they will do well but I suspect it will all be over by this time tomorrow – or will it?
Wow! England really managed to lose the plot. More akin to going into a circular room and sitting in the corner! Mayers ran rampant through the side, Foakes decided that suicide was the best option, Lees struggled on but misread the line and Overton repeated the shot he got out to in the first innings but was caught instead!
England end the day at 103/8 – effectively 10 for 8. Tomorrow should be short, sweet and a merciful end to a poor Test which will overshadow the good work of the first two. Root has the demeanour of a beaten man and I suspect that either he will fall on his sword sometime next week or be relieved of his duties in the coming weeks by the new English management team. A sad end but in essence beaten by the system set up by the ECB to destroy the county championship and gradually tests since more money can be made from the shorter form of the game.
I suspect my blog tomorrow will be short but let’s not forget the two Windies stars of Mayers and the rich form – batting, keeping, catching, run outs etc – which is da Silva. Gold medal performances from each!