England won by five wickets
After an early wobble, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell comfortably saw England home.
Could quite easily be shared between the two who, along with a tremendous supporting effort from no balls, played crucial roles in the run chase, but we’re going to give it to Cook purely because he feels like the vital wicket in situations like we saw today. He set the tone for England’s successful chase in Colombo and he saw them to the brink of victory here as well, a performance not to be sniffed at given the carnage going on around him in the early part of the innings. What could have been a nerve-jangling, horrible day ended up being something of a walk in the park as the Cook/Bell combination took the game away from West Indies either side of lunch.
During Australia’s late surge to victory in Bridgetown last month, Darren Sammy displayed the tactical acumen of a baked potato to gift the initiative to the tourists. Here, he again gave away too many singles before essentially giving up after lunch by throwing the ball to chucker extraordinaire Marlon Samuels and asking him to open the bowling. Even if the fast men had been knocking back profiteroles like there’s no tomorrow during the break that probably wasn’t the wisest of moves. Normally we love to fly in the face of public opinion, but in this case we have to agree with everyone west (east? – Geographical Ed.) of the WICB committee room; it’s clear Sammy should not be captain of the West Indies.
By not getting absolutely slaughtered the WIndies have managed to exceed expectations and will, presumably, not make wholesale changes to the side going into Trent Bridge. Although, even if they wanted to that would be something of a challenge given they only brought three reserves with them. One of whom is Assad Fudadin, whose first class average of 31 is unlikely to give England too many sleepless nights. As for the hosts, they may be considering just picking the Lions XI who beat this West Indies side by 10 wickets last week. A result which conclusively proves their second team is twice as good as the first. Or something.