Shivnarine Chanderpaul and his cronies keep England at bay in a manner that tested the spectators’ faith.
The Guyanan limpet clung to the cricketing rockface for almost another two sessions, compiling 91 meticulous runs in the process. As much as Marlon Samuels (86) and Dinesh Ramdin (43) impressed and Darren Sammy (37) scored quickly, it does not take a genius of Alexander Guttenplan-sized proportions to deduce that Chanderpaul’s wicket will be the key to whether England can win all three matches in the series. At the very least, we now know the series will not be a complete formality.
We should also mention Stuart Broad who bowled no better than reasonably, but added four wickets to finish with eleven for the match.
It was a cold day, it was a long day and it was one that England will want to forget and as impressive as the West Indian resiliance was, it was not one with many standout memories. However come the evening session, I ate a lovely homemade chilli con carne that finally killed off a lingering cocktail-influenced hangover. It looked this would be the day’s highlight, until England had their chance to start the run-chase. Kemar Roach’s second ball took the shoulder of Andrew Strauss’s bat and all of a sudden the familiar nerves called for a calming drink. By the time nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson clocked-off roughly 17 hours too early and Jonathan Trott was a millimetre from being given out LBW, we were necking London Pride like there was no tomorrow.
In these conditions and with no spinner to face, England have the batting line-up to reach their target. Expect a few anxious moments along the way, especially if Marlon Samuels picks up a wicket, but we can’t see anything other than a victory.