All in All...

Unusual things have a tendency to happen at Sabina Park during England-West Indies Tests; Patrick Patterson producing some of the fastest bowling in history in 1986, the match abandoned on the first morning in 1998, Steve Harmison, at his short-lived peak (anyone remember that?) ripping through the West Indies in 2004, and now, in 2009, England dismissed for 51 by a combination of pace and spin on the Kingston killing ground and fortunate to get that.

England currently look a rudderless and unhappy side and one that, crucially, has come to depend far too much on Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff. When, as happened on Saturday, Pietersen's off-stump is uprooted by a brilliant delivery when he's barely off the mark, a collapse of house-of-cards proportions, is, well, on the cards.

Absolutely nothing, however, should be taken away from the West Indies, who finally seem to be recovering some consistent competitiveness under the unifying leadership of Chris Gayle and the coaching of John Dyson, and for whom Jerome Taylor produced a spell fit to compare with anything seen from any of his illustrious predecessors.

Taylor's abrupt termination of Matt Prior's innings with a fast off-cutter wasn't just a classic display of fast-bowling technique, it was an event which, just for a moment, seemed to recapture and exemplify the lost essence of Caribbean cricket: Taylor bowls, Prior's off-stump disappears towards fine leg, Taylor leaps in the air and the Kingston crowd goes wild in the type of distinctively West Indian way some people probably wondered if they'd ever see again. As more than one person has said over recent years, international cricket needs a decent West Indies side for all kinds of reasons, and Saturday was, if not quite the foundation for world domination, at least another brick in the wall.

For England the only way forward is a shuffle of the cards and a redoubling of effort before Antigua, although, with the priceless confidence they'll have derived from Kingston, the West Indies won't come any easier.

At least, at last, Bell will go. If not, Shah will be entitled to simply pack up and go home while sticking two fingers up at the whole bloody lot of them.


Anonymous said...

yes I was watching, and it brought a tear to my eye. The W.Indies were magnificent as a team and England were their usual complacent selves, dreaming of the Ashes and their IPL riches.
A strong and well led West Indies side is needed by world cricket and hopefully we are seeing the green shoots in that part of the world. Wish I was in Antigua this Friday!

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks, Mr.Anonymous. Who knows, they might even get a decent crowd at the Viv Richards Stadium.

Would I be right in thinking that you're someone with previous experience of Antigua?

Som said...

So effectively, Strauss' honeymoon got over before it started. But who grudges an Windies win?

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