Cow Corner

Honours even on day one

Cow Corner

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22:20 - Eng 236-5 (88 overs): And that's all she wrote for a strange opening day in Jamaica that has seen Flintoff plod to 43 and 51 overs of spin bowling. Back at 2.45pm tomorrow for the next surreal installment, honours about even on day one.



22:00 - Eng 227-5 (84 overs): Powell and Edwards will have the last seven overs of the day as the partnership approaches 50 without any real trouble. Freddie Snail Watch update: 35 off 120 balls. It's like watching Chris Tavare but effective. kestephenson - Chanderpaul is from Guyana and those black patches under his eyes are either a) to deflect the sun or b) to please his sponsors. Delete as you see fit.

21:45 - Eng 220-5 (80 overs): England starting to work the singles now and the new ball is due. 45 minutes cricket left tonight, less if Gayle turns to his spinners to hasten a can of Red Stripe.

21:30 - Eng 209-5 (77 overs): Flintoff attempts to pull Taylor but misses and the ball smashes into his unprotected right arm. Immediately there is a golf ball size lump on the arm and people are preparing to pay entrance money to witness a circus freak show. He is ok to continue after the magic spray but that could be an x-ray job later.

21:15 - Eng 202-5 (74 overs): Drinks! I think Freddie may have took a sedative this morning - just 28 from 91 balls. Matt Prior looks pretty comfortable out there and it's gone all a bit quiet - quite literally. No conch shells, bands, dancers or local nut jobs at Jamaican grounds these days, not even that many from the Barmy Army in.

21:00 - Eng 190-5 (70 overs): I wonder what sort of reception KP got in the dressing room. As frosty as a Surrey train platform I would guess. 

20:45 - Eng 184-5 (67 overs): WICKET! HUBRIS GONE MAD!!! Pietersen smashes Benn for consecutive fours and then swipes him over mid-wicket for a six that takes him to 97. The bowler gives the next ball some air and KP can't resist trying to bring up his century with a swagger BUT he only manages to loft the ball high into the Kingston sky and Ramdin takes the steepling catch. Bob Willis is having an aneurysm as we speak.

20:30 - Eng 163-4 (64 overs): These two are beginning to open their arms - Pietersen smashes Edwards through the covers and Flintoff swipes Gayle over mid-wicket in slightly ugly but effective fashion. Is anybody still there in cyber land or has everyone started chatting on the Everton-Liverpool matchcast - you can do that now, it's clever.

20:15 - Eng 150-4 (60 overs): Pietersen has upped the tempo since his tea which might have had a chaser in it. He guides Benn through the covers for a boundary and then edges Edwards past slip. That doesn't amusee the bowler who exchanges some words with the batsman - maybe they were talking about ice staking or something. 50 partnership is up and Fred has just 10.

20:00: Tea update from the satchel swingers - West Indies 15/8; England 23/20; Draw 11/4. Fidel Edwards to open up the evening session, one of the few modern Test cricketers to share a forename with a revolutionary leader. Where's Lev Smith when you need him

19:40 - Eng 132-4 (57 overs): You could drive a Fiat Punto through that gate. Benn gets one between Freddie's inside edge and his pad but fortunately for the England man, the ball bounces over the top of middle. That's tea and the slow left-armer needs some ice after bowling for the entire session. We'll back in 20 minutes - time for some rice n'peas.

19:30 - Eng 126-4 (54 overs): Pietersen drives Powell down the ground for a boundary and then brings up his 12th Test half century off 115 balls in Clapham Common fashion - by flashing hard. It races past gully with some alacrity and he then crashes a half-tracker from the same bowler past square leg. It's a runs safari!!

19:15 - Eng 107-4 (50 overs): Great stuff from the slow left-armer Benn, who is getting the ball to grip on this surface. Both Pietersen and Flintoff are beaten with sharp turn and bounce - they play with their bats out in front of their pads bringing slip and gully into play. Powell has returned at the other end and Freddie is relieved to get a bit of pace on the ball - playing a short arm jag thruogh mid-wicket for his first boundary.

19:00 - Eng 99-4 (46 overs): We lost about 20 minutes to that shower but the players are back. Two spinners against England's two most aggressive batsmen. A matter of time before the big shot you think.

18:35 - Eng 96-4 (44 overs): WICKET! The pressure tolls as Collingwood attempts to sweep a full delivery from Benn and is trapped in front of middle stump. No need for a referral - Ray Charles could have given that. Freddie Flintoff strides to the crease and to make him feel just at home we have a rain break.

18:20 - Eng 90-3 (40 overs): England break that spell of binary cricket with a couple of twos down the leg side. But this 2.25 run rate is so retro that it makes you want to don a pair of bell bottoms and put on your favourite Kool & The Gang CD.

18:05 - Eng 79-3 (35 overs): In some sort of Doris Stokes moment from Cowers, we've just had a referral. A close looking lbw shout from Gayle to Paul Collingwood, Rudi Koertzen says no, Gayle appeals, then we wait a very long time before the third umpire tells the world that the Durham man was hit outside the line of off-stump and is not out. I have seen London commuter trains on a snowy Monday move faster than that. Pietersen then looks to play the big sweep off Gayle and gets a top-edge which just falls to safety over the head of square leg. Spin in tandem with Benn's figures 11-4-11-0.

17:50 - Eng 73-3 (30 overs): More maidens than a Stockholm nightclub at the start of the afternoon session. The TV referral system is being used in this series and it's the first time England will have encountered it. Teams are allowed two unsuccessful referrals per innings but no sign of it just yet.

17:30 - News from the satchel swingers - West Indies 9/5; England 5/4; Draw 13/5. Just ten more minutes to down this pint of rum before play resumes.

17:00 - Eng 73-3 (27 overs): WICKET! Gayle's second over and the coolest man in show business strikes with an arm ball. Bell edges it to slip where Devon Smith takes a fine low catch and yet again the England number three gets in, and then gets out. LUNCH! And it's definitely been the home side's session. Congratulations to fbf_lives who has just had his IP address fasttracked for a ban - I hope you weren't spamming from work.

16:45 - Eng 66-2 (22 overs): Runs, Runs, Runs - KP with a crisp drive on the up to the fence past mid-on and then Bell clips the same bowler, who is Taylor, through the air past square leg. Talking of legs, the dancing girls who we usually see doing their stuff around the Caribbean grounds are nowhere to be seen today. Speaking as a feminist myself, it's a crying shame.

16:30 - Eng 54-2 (18 overs): There's some first morning turn for Mr Benn and tight stuff at the other end from Powell. johnnyevz82 asks 'Do you think Australia are now rubbish or have other teams like South Africa caught them up?' Well there is no doubt that the Aussies are now only just better than Bangladesh and are in the line for a solid thumping in South Africa, having said that I'd still back them to win the Ashes.

16:15 - Eng 50-2 (15 overs): The thing about the home attack is that it's not very good - Powell and Edwards have both played plenty of Test cricket and both average over 38. KP restores some order with a punishing drive down the ground. That prompts Gayle to replace Fidel with Mr Benn - whose magical adventure starts with a rank long-hop that Pietersen slashes to the fence.

16:00 - Eng 40-2 (12 overs): WICKET! Cook goes to Daren Powell's ninth legal ball as his attempted pull goes straight to Ramnaresh Sarwan at mid-on. Kevin Pietersen runs to the crease - quite literally - exchanging pleasantries with Gayle en-route before nearly running himself out second ball and then clipping Powell behind square leg for his first boundary. Time for a can of Ting as it's drinks.

15:45 - Eng 30-1 (9 overs): Nice start from the 'Sherminator' Bell, flicking Taylor off his pads for a boundary and then sweetly pushing him down the track and into the pickets. He's the cricketing Paris Hilton - looks nice but no substance. antonyslack is obviously a fan but 'Bell-Bashers' does sound like a secret boys club at Eton don't you think.

15:30 - Eng 18-1 (6 overs): WICKET! Taylor pushes one across Strauss with a little bit of an off-cutter action, the left-hander fences at the delivery and offers Denesh Ramdin a low catch behind the timbers. All viewers can complain to jonathangrosskopf57 for cursing the new skipper. Pressure now on Ian Bell.

15:15 - Eng 7-0 (3 overs): Taylor and Fidel Edwards bowling a nice full length and Strauss is drawn into a half hearted drive by the former. It is at a lovely catching height for third slip but Xavier Marshall shells it!! An early let-off for the skipper and he compounds the bowler's misery by driving him down the track for the first boundary of the day.

15:00: New skipper Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook stride to the middle and the weather is hot, blooming hot! Factor 25 weather - good thing England don't have someone of Nantie Hayward's complexion in their line-up. Jerome Taylor takes the new ball.

14:45: Cowers has just taken the key from his Ford Zeffer and can report that the track is very flat and does not have the usual sheen or shine you would expect. Back in the seventies, you could have a shave in the reflection off this Sabina Park pitch. It does not look fasy or bouncy and is so dry it should turn as the game progresses.

14:30: Andrew Flintoff has recovered from his side strain and takes his place in the England XI that we predicted earlier so no Anderson, Swann or Shah.

Andrew Strauss wins the toss and opts to bat first on a dry, brown pitch.

For the home side, Dale Richards has failed a late fitness test so Devon Smith opens with captain Chris Gayle and Suleiman Benn gets the nod for the spinners' berth.


West Indies: 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Devon Smith, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Xavier Marshall, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Brendan Nash, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Daren Powell, 10 Sulieman Benn, 11 Fidel Edwards

England: 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Ian Bell, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Andrew Flintoff, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Ryan Sidebottom, 10, Steve Harmison, 11 Monty Panesar

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