Cow Corner

Strauss leads from the front

Cow Corner

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21:50: Eng 301-3 (92 overs) WICKET! : WOW - where did that come from!! The first ball with the new pill is banged in by Edwards and strikes Kevin Pietersen in the bicep. Very much in the mode of Arsene Wenger he tells Strauss "I did not see it." And then the banged in bouncer ends Strauss' vigil as the attempted pull lands straight in the arms of bowler Edwards. 169 for the skipper, a fine effort. Nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson survives 13 balls and that's STUMPS - England's day no question.



21:25: Eng 291-2 (87 overs) : Benn leaves the pitch with a dodgy ankle after he is dispatched through the covers again by Strauss who is closing in on his highest Test score of 177. With 25 minutes left of the day, Gayle takes the new ball - the only deviation this pitch is offering is when it lands on the halfway line of the football pitch and grubs along the deck.

21:10: Eng 284-2 (85 overs) : Gayle mysteriously delays taking the new cherry despite bowling on the cricketing equivalent of the M4 and Strauss cue ends Taylor down to third man for boundary #23.

20:55: Eng 277-2 (81 overs) WICKET! : Shah runs himself out. He sets off a single that is never there and Taylor, following through, collects the ball and throws down the stumps. Stupid just stupid. In the previous over, Strauss got a lucky inside edge to the fine leg fence leaving bowler Nash with his hands on his head having watched the ball fly a fag paper away from leg peg.

20:40: Eng 271-1 (79 overs) : Strauss swipes Nash just over a leaping Ramnaresh Sarwan at mid-wicket, if giant Benn was standing there he would have pouched the catch, before pulling hard behind square leg for his 20th boundary. He brings up just his second Test 150 off 242 balls before a flourishing drive through the covers off Taylor. Shah drive Nash for yet another boundary at the other end. Time for a drink.

20:25: Eng 254-1 (75 overs) : A couple of mini scares for England as Strauss under edges an attempted pull off Edwards just past his off stump before Shah narrowly avodes a lbw shout off Fidel, missing leg according to umpire Harper.

20:05: Eng 249-1 (71 overs) : A seventh bowler is used as Brendan Nash rolls up for some military medium and Shah brings up his second Test half-century by walking across to off and tapping him through mid-wicket for a single. It came off only 70 balls.

19:50: Eng 239-1 (68 overs) : Gayle turns to Edwards and England will welcome the sight of two consecutive balls shooting along the ground, the latter going for four byes much to the bemusement of Denesh Ramdin. Shah smashes Hinds over the top again and Strauss sweeps him to the fence. A rapid run rate since tea.

19:35: Eng 223-1 (64 overs) : Shah in a hurry after tea - smashing Benn's third ball over his head for a six and then driving him next ball for a boundary. Hinds is at the other end and is swept for a one bounce four by Strauss. The 100 partnership comes up off just 131 balls.

19:10: Eng 206-1 (62 overs) : Some extra air from Hinds and he is planted down the ground by Shah who in the next over from the slow bowler crashes him through the covers. Strauss brings up the 200 by sweeping Benn to the fence and then repeats the trick later in the over - this track looks like a featherbed at least on day one anyway. England looking in great shape at tea.

19:00: Eng 184-1 (57 overs) : Strauss moves to 99 with a wonderful short-arm pull to the fence off Powell and then brings up his 15th Test century next ball with a quick single. That's also his second against the West Indies and comes off 167 balls with 14 boundaries and a six.

18:45: Eng 168-1 (53 overs) : Powell back in the attack but runs continue to flow as Shah and Strauss pull him through mid-wicket for fours. The skipper also clubs Hinds over long-on for a boundary and then leans on a Powell half volley to move into the 90s.

18:30: Eng 147-1 (49 overs) : Gayle offers a little width and Shah cuts him to the fence — a good start. He has the most first class runs of anyone in the England team, an interesting fact that. Ryan Hinds is bowling his gentle left-arm spin at the other end and he almost gets his sixth Test wicket as Strauss top edges a cut past a static Gayle at first slip.

18:15: Eng 127-1 (43 overs) WICKET!: Cook reaches his fifty then departs - cutting Gayle hard but too thin and Devon Smith snares a smart low catch at slip. Owais Shah comes to the crease and with great arrogance smashes the WIndies skipper off the back foot through the covers for a first ball boundary.

18:00: Eng 116-0 (39 overs): Murali is the only spinner to have ever recorded a five-wicket haul in Test on this ground and Cook tucks into Benn once more, a sweep is a one-bounce four. There is a big gap at extra cover and Strauss finds with a sumptuous drive off Gayle.

17:45: Eng 104-0 (36 overs): The 100 is up with a big six from Cook that lands in the road - short straight boundaries and Benn is dispatched.

17:30: Eng 96-0 (33 overs): Cook gets an inside edge which saves him from certain death or at least a certain lbw and then Strauss survives an lbw appeal from the same bowler with Hawkeye showing it would have clipped the top of leg. Benn - the future of West Indies spin bowling: find out here

17:15: Eng 90-0 (29 overs): DROPPED! Strauss rocks back to cut Benn and gets a thick edge which Gayle, at first slip, clasps with his left hand but he can't hold on. Strauss had swept the big man superbly to the fence in the previous area and the stump mic picked up a word from the bowler which I couldn't possibly pass on until well after 9pm.

17:00: Eng 73-0 (24 overs): Edwards has replaced Gayle and the West Indies are testing Cook with the short ball. He was out pulling in the first Test and the same shot brings up four but it is perilously close to square leg.

16:45: Eng 65-0 (20 overs): Spin at both ends at the start of this 2 1/2 hour session via Gayle and 6'7" left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, who starred in the first Test with an eight-wicket match haul.

16:30: At lunch the spread betting firms had England's first innings runs at 433-448. Confidence!

16:00: Eng 58-0 (18 overs): Strauss and Cook bring up their 12th half century opening partnership as the skipper pushes Powell down the ground once more for his seventh boundary. Then a big shout as the skipper is wrapped on the pads by his opposite number - it looked good in real time and Hawkeye shows it would have clipped leg but umpire Harper says no. LUNCH!! I'm off to see if I can spot a local - there is a lot of English folk in the ground.

15:45: Eng 47-0 (13 overs): Gayle brings himself on after just 10 overs but two short wide deliveries are cut away to the fence by Strauss. No pace, no lateral movement and this pitch is starting to look like the one where Brian Lara scored approximately 45,640 runs against England in his career.

15:30: Eng 36-0 (9 overs): Short boundaries, a quick outfield — as you would expect from a ground that was a football pitch two days ago — and Strauss guides Powell's first ball down to third man for another boundary. Then a bit appeal for a catch behind — it definitely hits the captain's shoulder but did it hit his glove en-route? Hard to tell without any of the cameras tools we normally have. Strauss takes full toll by pushing the same bowler down the ground before clipping him off his toes for back-to-back boundaries.

15:15: Eng 19-0 (5 overs): A yes, no, sorry bit of calling and if Daren Powell's throw had hit the stumps from square leg Strauss would have gone by a distance. Something of a schizophrenic pitch - very two paced with the occasional delivery offering extreme bounce and one of those that climbs is pulled emphatically to the boundary by Cook.

15:00: Eng 11-0 (2 overs): Jerome Taylor's first ball zips past Strauss' outside edge and the captain must think crikey we should have gone to Barbados. But since then nothing and he has clipped Fidel Edwards off his toes past square leg for the match's first boundary before an exquisite cover drive off the same bowler to the fence. It's a bit of a throwback Test this — due to the short notice the TV cameras are not quite directly behind the bowler's arm, we are all a bit skew whiff.

14:45: Here come Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss for what is sure to be a stern test. Lunch will still be at 4pm but the afternoon session will run from 4:40 to 7:10pm and play in theory can go on to 10:15 this evening.

The third Test between West Indies and England at the Antigua
Recreation Ground will begin at 2:45pm after a slight delay following
heavy rain yesterday.

West Indies captain Chris Gayle has won the toss and elected bowl which is no suprise given the lack of preparation of this wicket.

England have made two changes from Friday's 10-ball Test with Steve Harmison and Graeme Swann replacing Ryan Sidebottom and Monty Panesar.

The wicket has a couple of ridges so we will have plenty of uneven bounce and possibly shades of Sabina Park 1998. Apparently Harmison was causing all sorts of problems in the nets so you can see the theory behind his selection.

But Panesar's omission looks a bizarre one unless they want Swann's runs down the order on a spicy, damp pitch.

Match referee Alan Hurst says: "The surface is still not perfect but they have resolved most of the issues. I told the captains there had to be a little give and take, it isn't perfect and we are in something of an abnormal situation."


West Indies: CH Gayle (captain), DS Smith, RR Sarwan, S Chanderpaul, BP Nash, RO Hinds, D Ramdin (wicketkeeper), JE Taylor, SJ Benn, DBL Powell, FH Edwards.

England : AJ Strauss (captain), AN Cook, OA Shah, KP Pietersen, PD Collingwood, A Flintoff, MJ Prior (wicketkeeper), SCJ Broad, GP Swann, SJ Harmison, JM Anderson.

Umpires: DJ Harper (Aus) & AL Hill (Nzl); Television umpire: RE Koertzen (Rsa); Match referee: AG Hurst (Aus)

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