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Windies show some fight after Jimmy Anderson leads the way again
17 May 2012
Jimmy Anderson maintained the outstanding form he showed in Sri Lanka with two early strikes before Stuart Broad removed Adrian Barath after lunch as England sought to gain the upper hand during the afternoon session.
Anderson was one of the few stars of a difficult winter for England and he dismissed Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards with devastating inswingers. Under cloudy skies, England would have fancied their chances of doing further damage and credit must go to Barath and Darren Bravo for resisting.
Yet the story changed 15 minutes after the interval when Barath flashed at a wide delivery from Broad and was caught in the gully by Anderson at the second attempt.
England are still clinging to the No1 spot in the world Test rankings despite losing four of their five Tests in the winter. They gave a debut to Jonny Bairstow here and began as strong favourites in this three-match series against West Indies, who handed a first Test cap to pace bowler Shannon Gabriel after Ravi Rampaul failed to recover from a neck problem.
Gabriel is part of a four-man seam attack after captain Darren Sammy and coach Ottis Gibson chose to leave out off-spinner Shane Shillingford, meaning England’s Graeme Swann was the only specialist slow bowler in the match.
Barath and Bravo added 51 runs before lunch to take their team to 83 for two and they continued to resist immediately after the interval, until Barath fell eight runs short of his 50.
Bravo ought to have fallen to Anderson, only for Graeme Swann to put down a regulation catch at second slip.
The drop was not costly, with Bravo - who had added only two runs from 30 balls in almost an hour since lunch - the fall guy in a run-out mix-up.
He found himself running on his own towards a near stationary Chanderpaul, who had pushed Swann behind square on the leg-side. England did not relay the ball well back to the bowler - Matt Prior's throw down the wicket was a near 'wide' - but Bravo was stranded by almost a full 22 yards.
Much work remained to be done as Shiv Chanderpaul, who is currently top of the Test batting rankings and has been one of the most consistent players in this form of the game since he made his debut 18 years ago, stood firm.
England momentarily thought they had Chanderpaul for 15, and the Windies 105 for five, when Marais Erasmus gave him out lbw playing no shot to Anderson.
The stakes were high enough for Chanderpaul to chance a review, and it paid off when simulation suggested the ball was not coming back up the slope sufficiently from round the wicket to hit off-stump.
From that moment, England were shut out as Chanderpaul adopted his trademark immovability alongside Marlon Samuels as the Windies progressed to 146-4 at the tea interval.
The tourists are without some of their most experienced players on this tour. Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo have chosen to play in the Indian Premier League, while Ramnaresh Sarwan was left out of the squad and has been playing county cricket for Leicestershire.
Under such circumstances, it was understandable that Andrew Strauss should ask the Windies to bat first after winning the toss, even though the surface looked reliable. In these conditions, there are few attacks to match England’s, who pose a serious challenge for any team in the world.
In the absence of Gayle, Sarwan and Bravo, the batting order looks fragile. Barath impressed with some crisp drives early in the innings but after losing the toss, the tourists were quickly in trouble at 32 for two.
Powell — wrongly called “Pollard” on the Lord’s scoreboard during the opening few overs — showed little of the attacking style of Twenty20 specialist Kieron Pollard.
Powell scored a century against England Lions last week but he had no answer to a stunner from Anderson, who deceived the batsman with a late inswinger that took the off stump.
Edwards was Anderson’s second victim, leg-before to another violent in-ducker. Anderson was excellent in unfamiliar conditions during the winter and he seemed delighted to be home, claiming two for 19 from his opening nine-over spell from the Pavilion End. Edwards had survived a confident lbw shout from his first delivery from Anderson and he never looked happy. It was no surprise when he was dismissed and as he departed, England sensed more wickets.
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