44th over: England 92-8 (Woakes 13, Leach 1) Kraigg Brathwaite summons Jason Holder, to quash any thoughts of a tail-end thrash. Woakes nudges a single first ball, to show Leach he believes in him. Leach pushes into the covers, to reprise his most famous score.
43rd over: England 90-8 (Woakes 12, Leach 0) Here’s Jack Leach, probably the only person ever to have a single scoring shot captured on a T-shirt. He starts as he means to go on, with some nice solid blocks, before Roach moves the ball the same way again – away from the left-hander – to an extent that would baffle better batters than Leach.
The partnership between Overton and Woakes was 23, equalling the best of the innings. So the opening bowlers matched the opening batters. It’s that kind of surface.
Castled! By a big nip-backer that also keeps a bit low. Roach is delighted, Overton looking back in anguish.
42nd over: England 90-7 (Woakes 12, Overton 14) At the other end it’s still Jayden Seales. He half-beats Craig Overton, drawing an inside edge that squirts away for a single. There’s a vague appeal against Woakes, for a strangle down the leg side, but only Jason Holder is really interested.
41st over: England 89-7 (Woakes 12, Overton 13) Kemar Roach is back, replacing Joseph, and he puts his third ball just where Chris Woakes likes it – outside off, sitting up, begging to be eased past point for four. When Roach goes straighter, Woakes does too, with a couple of solid blocks. These two are now the second and third top-scorers in England’s so-called innings.
Thanks Daniel, afternoon everyone and welcome to the red-ball reset. There’s still nothing like an England collapse. I missed it myself as I was at the Donmar Warehouse for Henry V, or as it’s known in the trade, Hank Cinq. And now here we are – once more unto the breach, dear friends.
40th over: England 85-7 (Woakes 8, Overton 13) Overton is playing nicely enough, and he clips another two, this time to midwicket, before half-batting through mid on, accidentally, and they run two more. Seales responds well, moving one away from Overton, who can’t get bat on it, but then an outswinger beats bat, pad and Da Silva’s dive, scooting away for four byes.
That’s drinks, so that’s me; here’s Tim de Lisle to narrate you through brave England’s brave counter-attack.
39th over: England 77-7 (Woakes 8, Overton 9) It’s absolutely baffling to think that with all the cricket, all the contracts, all the bunce and, most of all, all the expletive talent, England have one batter of reliable Test-match quality. One. How can it be? I mean, I understand the rationale: techniques and mentalities have been changed by limited overs, but even so, this isn’t like it was during portions of the 80s and 90s, when you looked down the order and wondered how some of them came to be out there. I don’t know, I really don’t, but after a single to Woakes, Overton slashes hard at a wide one, sending four over the cordon, then adds two more to midwicket and England are on a glorious nelson, the likes of which Test cricket will rarely have seen. England may be losing the cricket, but they’re winning the statistical abnormality!
38th over: England 69-7 (Woakes 7, Overton 2) Given England’s dominant position, it makes perfect sense for Overton to play an expansive drive first up, Seales’ outswing taking the ball away from his scythe. I’ll get you next time, Gadget! A two to cover follows, and West Indies have bowled very nicely since lunch – better than this morning, for mine.
Ahahahahaha! Seales, back into the attack, persuades one to lift and nip back in, Foakes misses it, and the kisses the middle of the bails; that is a gorgeous effect. Somehow this is both nauseating earworm and timeless classic; we are in the presence of true greatness.
37th over: England 67-6 (Foakes 7, Woakes 7) Woakes chases a wide one; “You’ve got to be much, much more committed to the shot,” deadpans Gower. The second ball of the over bounces less than Woakes expects and he narrowly avoids edging behind; worry not, I’m sure he’ll learn from that mistake and get himself out properly next time. Maiden.
“Was just about to send you an email saying what a good test this is for England,” says Robert Ellson, “how infuriating I’ve found it in the past that they can’t find a way to cobble together a score that keeps them in the game, preferring instead to get absolutely rolled over, and how it would be great to see them showing they’ve made some progress, and while I was typing the email two batters got out.”
Who could’ve predicted?
36th over: England 67-6 (Foakes 7, Woakes 7) Woakes edges a single, then Foakes moves off side to clip a leggy one around the corner for four.
“Root must be regretting not playing Matt Parkinson in this match,” surmises Gary Naylor. “After all the batsmen have failed, he’d be the ideal player to drop.”
35th over: England 62-6 (Foakes 3, Woakes 6) This is the biggest embarrassment England has endured in the Caribbean since at least, er, yesterday. Joseph, who’s bowled beautifully since lunch and nicely before that, sends down five dots, then Foakes fends off the ribs and they run two.
34th over: England 60-6 (Foakes 1, Woakes 6) Roach nips one back, clouts Foakes on the pad and appeals … this is close … but the umpire says no, Brathwaite says no, and spin vision shows it was going over the top. Foakes then gets off the mark with one to fine leg, then Woakes manufactures width, shmeissing a cover drive to the fence. The counter-attack is away!
“Lovely to have Test cricket at this time of day, rather than waking up and just despairing as we all did during the Ashes,” says Stephen Brown. “I guess maybe England should have been pretty happy with the flat tracks of the last couple of matches and asked for another. Obviously we don’t know how well Braithwaite and co. will do in their innings, but I suspect the on series win for England in the Windies is probably going to remain intact isn’t it?”
I agree. It’s much nicer to enjoy the collapse as an end of day reward, rather than wake up to it with anguish.
33rd over: England 55-6 (Foakes 0, Woakes 2) There’s no sight in cricket more thrilling than an England collapse in full cry, and this is now, absolutely and unmistakably, that. Woakes gets off the mark immediately with two to backward point, and this is like when you pull someone’s chair away as they’re about to sit down: one of those things that’s hilarious every time you see it, no matter how many times you’ve seen it before.
Lovely, lovely bowling from Joseph, the one that nips back followed by the one that shapes away, and Bairstow can’t help but feel for it, edging behind. England batted sensibly in the morning and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but we’re in our bubble now!
33rd over: England 53-5 (Bairstow 0, Foakes 0) That shot Ben Stokes played, though. Sure, the score needs to move, but swiping at pull on 2 and at 53-3? Silly behaviour.
32nd over: England 53-5 (Bairstow 0, Foakes 0) Respect to Roach for putting the disappointment of two balls earlier behind him and bowling another tester; what’s a competitive total on this track? I’ve not a clue!
Momentum is with England now! A lovely, lively delivery from Roach nips back in, and all Lees can do is edge behind. I’m not sure we’re getting another draw here.
32nd over: England 53-4 (Lees 31, Bairstow 0) Bairstow has played well lately, but can he play the innings England need when they really need it? Lees is on strike though, and does he edge Roach’s third ball? The bowler thinks he heard something, but the umpire does not, and Brathwaite opts not to review – that’s what you get when you burn opportunities on punts, as West Indies did this morning.
Stokes has a swipe at a shorter one, mistimes it, and toe-ends a simple chance that Joseph snaffles easily, before tossing the ball to the umpire like a boss! It took a while to get going, but the England juggernaut is well and truly on the move now!
31st over: England 49-3 (Lees 27, Stokes 2) Joseph is bowling nicely now, enticing a a false stroke by slanting across Stokes again; he fiddles, edging into the ground.
30th over: England 53-3 (Lees 31, Stokes 2) Lees throws hands across his body when Roach hands one out wide, ball a
Raw natural unrefined rolling paper from clattering leg stump and earning four. They’re the only runs from the over.
29th over: England 49-3 (Lees 27, Stokes 2) Joseph, who grew into his pre-lunch spell, resumes after it while, in comms, Steve Harmison wonders if Stokes will see him as the one to score off, given the likelihood of the others to be “in and around off stump”. Bada-bing! You absolutely love to see it! A single to each batter, then a final delivery that’s a bit shorter and slanted across Stokes, leaving him as he fences.
28th over: England 47-3 (Lees 26, Stokes 1) Roach to set us away, Stokes on strike, and he’ll know the onus is on him to score some difficult runs after cashing in last week; he scores the sole run this over yields, slicing to cover.
“My wife, who’s quite, y’know, posh, been skiing an’ everyfink, to quote Mickey Flanagan,” says Nick Lewis, “insists on calling this marvel of breakfast gastronomy eggy bread. Apparently ‘French Toast’ is parvenu, aspirational, common. She harbours similar thoughts about ‘toilet’ (loo) and ‘lounge’ (sitting room) and ‘crumpet’ (pikelet). This is the main reason I always call it French Toast.”
And rightly so; my wife finds my deployment off guttural ch sounds annoying, so instead of talking about chummus, I talk about chhhhhummus and so on. The loo v toilet split, though, at least in my experience, is women v men. I’ve no idea why and it’s probably nonsense.
“Crawley gifting his wicket with a wafty drive I see,” chortles Felix White. “This isn’t really news. At least he’s adding variation. Used to only be loose drive, outside edge, caught in the cordon. Last test it was loose drive, INSIDE edge, caught behind. Now it’s loose drive, no edge, caught at short cover. He’s becoming less predictable at least.”
The right-handed Gower.
Lunch-time email, and Brian Withington returns: “Dan Lawrence’s comprehensive dismissal prompts me that another important qualifying criteria for the budding DRS Vampire should be: (c) whilst not proffering said pad as described in (a) in a manner designed to render the batter plumb LBW and; (d) in the event described in (c), to not then compound matters by throwing away a batting DRS review in the forlorn hope of salvation.”
These are sound points. On first look, I thought it was even outer than it was, but still, an absolutely hilarious review.
That was a terrific session of Test-match cricketTM. West Indies have bowled well and actually, England have batted reasonably in difficult circumstances – the fabled collapses for which they’re rightly famed are characterised by a lack of application and technique, which isn’t really what we’ve seen so far. But worry not – there’s time. I’m off for some crisps and sweets, but join me again in half an hour or so for what should be a riveting afternoon sesh.
27th over: England 46-3 (Lees 26, Stokes 0) Goodness me, the second delivery of Joseph’s over pogos off the seam and away from Lees’ push; I say, it’s lucky England don’t have their two most successful bowlers in the hutch. I doubt anyone would have any interest in seeing their legendary genius on helpful tracks involved in a series decider! Another maiden, and that is lunch.
26th over: England 46-3 (Lees 26, Stokes 0) England have actually batted OK this morning – yes, for them. Crawley got himself out, but the others have coped pretty well with decent bowling on a sporting surface, and if one or two can ride their luck, a competitive total is gettable. A wicket maiden, the third of the morning.
More gawn than that loving feeling, the ball hitting leg stump two thirds of the way up. Great globule from Seales, and England are in their usual trouble.
Lawrence pushes forward, the ball moves in off the seam, raps his pad and that is p-l-u-m-b.
25th over: England 46-2 (Lees 26, Lawrence 8) Lawrence fetches a wide one and half-bats through point for two, then plays and misses at one he might easily have left. A single follows.
24th over: England 43-2 (Lees 26, Lawrence 5) Have a look! A fine delivery from Seales zips late off the seam, crashing into Lees’ pad and knocking him off his feet! Lovely stuff. And as we see a replay, it looks like Lees is smiling as he faces; he probably isn’t, but it’s a nice thought. Maiden.
23rd over: England 43-2 (Lees 26, Lawrence 5) Joseph’s extra pace means he needs to be a bit more careful with his line and length … and he is! His best ball of the spell leaves Lawrence outside off, then the following one, the last of the over, forces a strange contortion to play it down into the ground off the edge. Maiden, and much better.
22nd over: England 43-2 (Lees 26, Lawrence 5) Lawrence breaks the wrist to guide a single to cover, almost a table-tennis shot. Seales then brings one into Lees, squaring him up, but can’t contact the edge, then the next ball jags in big off the seam, missing everything as Lees leaves. I am enjoying this, friends, even before I get to write the last two words of the previous sentence … and all the more so when the over finishes with an edged four.
“Apropos of nothing other than the joie de vivre prompted by Dan Lawrence’s review earlier,” says Brian Withington, “I would like to suggest a specialist upper order role of ‘DRS Vampire’. This would be a batter who has the happy knack of extracting unsuccessful reviews from the opposition. Candidates would be experts at (a) proffering the pad in a seductive manner designed to excite bowler and wicket keeper whilst leaving the more staid umpire unperturbed (and subsequently vindicated); and/or (b) regularly brushing the pad with bat to simulate a fine snick to the keeper whilst narrowly playing and missing to a frenzy of excitable appeals. In recognition of this valuable but currently unrecognised role, for every review thus snaffled perhaps the batter should receive some compensation in official batting averages, such as dividing runs scored by an adjusted ‘net dismissals’ factor? Just a thought. As you were.”
A hangdog face would also be helpful – football’s Harry Maguire and Steven Gerrard would be particularly good at this.
21st over: England 38-2 (Lees 22, Lawrence 4) Mayers nips off for something or other – a flute and a cigar, I hope – so Joseph gets a go and his second ball flies down the leg side and beyond Da Silva’s dive, sailing away for four byes. Lawrence then turns to leg for three, and this is bubbling nicely.
20th over: England 31-2 (Lees 22, Lawrence 1) Seales returns and Lawrence fiddles him to fine leg for the single that sets him away. That brings Lees onto strike, and it’s worth noting that, on the spiciest track of the series, he looks the most comfortable he’s looked through the series. Apologies to those of you now cursing me in advance of his imminent dismissal.
“No, just a Robin Hobbs,” returns, er, Robin Hobbs. “The former Streatham & Marlborough 3rd XI opening bat. Good one on the gas cooker, not heard that one!”
Tangentially, my nipper returns from school the other week and goes, incredulously, “Is his name really Poo Tin? A tin you do a poo in? Ahahahahaha!”
19th over: England 30-2 (Lees 22, Lawrence 0) Another delicious seed from Mayer, full and keeping low as it zips past Lees’ edge. He has outlawed the scoring of runs off his bowling, his final delivery jutting in and clunking Lawrence on the thigh. It looks a sore one, though I’d rather a corky in the sun than a penny floater in the winter. Mayers is now 5-5-0-2!
Andrew Benton returns to perform a public service even greater than telling me off: “Last test one of the OBO correspondents pointed out that the test is viewable free on the West Indies cricket YouTube channel. ave just checked and this test is, too, and its great to complement reading the OBO with a bit of viewing. You need to be watching from outside the UK – I’m watching from France at the moment….”
18th over: England 30-2 (Lees 22, Lawrence 0) It didn’t take us long to get back to desserts did it? Anyhow, Holder finds a perfect length for the pitch, full but not too full, and movement off the seam takes the ball by Lawrence’s defensive prod. Another maiden, and West Indies are punkt on top now.
“May I put in a few words for pork pies and flasks of tea?” asks Andrew Benton. “Thanks. Also, Daniel, you may not believe in curse of the commentator, but you may be subject to cursing as the commentator! Daniel Harris gets ‘em out with a flick of the fingers! Type with caution, sir, caution…..”
Heh, I’ve been waiting for this; David Brooker chastised me when I wrote it, so well done to him. I think my problem is that writing words for other people to read is already – a priori – so self-obsessed an activity that purporting to affect events as well is more than my fragile ego can tolerate.
17th over: England 30-2 (Lees 22, Lawrence 0) Mayers is loving this – though he’s a little wide of off with the final three balls of his fourth over, it’s another maiden, his fourth in a row.
“Before we go any further,” says John Starbuck, “let’s take a moment to realise that the term’ eggy-bread’ is supposed to be used only for children. The most common adult term is ‘French toast’, but it used to be known as ‘poor knight’s pudding’ when a gentleman couldn’t afford a proper dessert. That was usually fried in butter. However, if it’s white bread, fried in butter with jam and cream added afterwards, it becomes ‘Windsor knight’s pudding’. Just goes to show what a class-ridden society we were and, in some cases, still are.”
Yup, that was going down and wasn’t that close. I get why Brathwaite took the chance having elected to field, but I can’t grasp why anyone thought that was even close.
16th over: England 30-2 (Lees 22, Lawrence 0) Lawrence played superbly in Barbados, but being grooved brings pressure to score. I remember Marcus Trescothick once saying that when he was young, the best piece of advice he received was practise harder when you’re in form to make sure you make the most of it. And have a look! After Lees squirts a single, Holder raps him on the pad – I think it was going down, but when the umpire says not out, West Indies review!
“Aside from catching a random World Cup match on an airport television in India, and watching the documentary ‘Fire in Babylon’ I’ve little experience with the game of cricket,” emails Ian Little about 10 minutes ago. “But, thanks to ESPN+ here in the US, I can turn on this test match while working. Boy Howdy! Aside from wanting to be sitting in that sunshine and warm wind, I have one other thought: the English batters seem to have zero fear of the bowlers and the bowlers seem to be consistently, seriously wide of the wicket. Are they just waiting for the English batters to lose patience?”
Welcome to this thing of ours!
15th over: England 29-2 (Lees 21, Lawrence 0) Lawrence digs out the final ball of the over, a full inswinger, so Mayers has now bowled three overs and taken two wickets for no runs. Decent selection, imo.
Now we’re talking! Another scrambled seam, Root feels outside off, edges, and the game done changed! Mayers is now 2.5-2-0-2, and England are in a situation! Of course they are!
15th over: England 29-1 (Lees 21, Root 0) Mayers continues and he looks a handful, his wobble-seamers a decent bet to exploit the variable bounce.
14th over: England 29-1 (Lees 21, Root 0) Holder’s finding decent movement here, wiping his fingers down the ball to generate backpsin, and his first ball beats Lees, whacking the pad but missing the stumps. Lees then takes two to fine leg before crashing the final delivery of the over for four through mid off, and that is drinks.
“Waitrose and M&S indeed,” chides Matt Dunnill, who must not realise this is the Guardian, darling. “In a time where the cost of living is sky-high, might I suggest everyone stop going to Lords and whatnot and just watch some local cricket? There’s nowt wrong with taking a picnic blanket and some jam sandwiches, maybe some bread and dripping – that’s where the real dreams are made.And while I’m on it. My mate and I would often stand by the cooker and have ‘eggy bread moments’ while pouring scorn on the well-to-do. And no. It’s not quails eggs either.”
Ah, eggy bread, a cub-camp classic – the bongo someone nicked off his dad and brought with less so, especially given we were seven at the time.
13th over: England 23-1 (Lees 15, Root 0) Crawley doesn’t strike me as someone who does much cursing, but he’ll be exceedingly miffed with his largesse in gifting West Indies that wicket. And Mayers finishes the over with a beauty, a cutter so late it’s almost posthumous, to paraphrase John Arlott, and Root swishes but gets nowhere near. Wicket maiden, and already Mayers looks a canny selection.
After that wicket, we cut to Michael Vaughan in the studio.
They’ve got a wicket in the – crucial – first hour! And it’s an absolute gift! Crawley drives a cross-seamer uppishly to short cover, and off he pops!
12th over: England 23-0 (Lees 15, Crawley 7) Choosing to field and getting nee wickets in the first hour is not something Brathwaite was after, but West Indies are nearly at that point as Holder tries from around to Lees. It’s not a bad call either: immediately, he jags one in that keeps moving off the seam – we’ve not seen swing like that until now – and that’s another maiden.
11th over: England 23-0 (Lees 15, Crawley 7) Mayers replaces Roach, on before Joseph because the latter prefers the other end, ploughing through a tight but unthreatening maiden.
“Can only assume @DanielHarris has never seen mine and @jonawils’s cricket picnic (including #CheeseForLees),” tweets @byekitty, and she’s right, I haven’t. However, ultimately I’m a hot food guy – if I drill down into my innermost psyche, I think that’s really what I’m saying – so would always prefer something from a stall than any kind of supermarket or specialist store. And I say that as someone who until last summer anticipated the pre-match shop as much as the match itself.
10th over: England 23-0 (Lees 15, Crawley 7) Lees drops into the off side and they sprint one – that’s good to see, a new opening partnership settling – and the throw to the non-striker’s misses. Holder then fires one into Crawley’s pad, bat nowhere to be seen – the ball was flying way down, but it’s another to put doubt into minds. A single follows, and this is a good start for England.