With England starting the day only one wicket down, there was hope that with the rain set to stay away the three lions could start to build towards a respectable total. All hope was dashed as the ICC's #1 ranked all rounder Jason Holder dismantled the England order who showed signs of rustiness in their first game back after the break.
With Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler at the crease, there were signs that a rebuild was in progress after England found themselves 87-5, however at no point did the pair look comfortable against the disciplined line and length bowling of the West Indies. Ben Stokes may have top-scored with 43, but he rode his luck having been dropped twice, and his choice to charge 90mph bowling was questionable at a point where England needed their captain to glue the inning together.
With Stokes gone and Buttler following soon after, it was left to Somerset spinner Dom Bess to add some respectability to the total with an unbeaten 31. He was helped along by Anderson who scored the same amount of runs as Sibley and Crawley combined. It was a day to forget for the Kent batsmen as Joe Denly was bowled for just 18, failing to get to the pitch of the ball and leaving a gap as wide as the River Nile for the ball to scream though, and sure enough the death rattle followed.
Ollie Pope, the young Surrey batsmen looked calm and collected as he picked up a couple of beautiful boundaries but even he could do nothing to stop the flow of wickets as Holder got a ball to move away, leaving the #6 feeling outside off and edging through to the keeper. England's top 4 combined to make 58 runs, which isn't good enough at county level and it's certainly not good enough at test level. With Captain Joe Root expected to return for the 2nd test, both Crawley and Denly have work to do in the 2nd inning if they are to hold off impressive youngsters James Bracey and Dan Lawrence from stealing their place in the side.
However it's not just on those players. Every single specialist batsmen was left wanting today, especially our top order who failed to give the middle order any platform to build upon.
You can't take anything away from the West Indies quicks. Holder and Gabriel bowled a consistently difficult line and length and the pitch was offering some movement off the seam. Roach and Joseph didn't get the statistics, but both maintained the pressure when they were called upon to bowl. Dowrich was superb behind the stumps and although the Windies put down a couple of catches off Stokes, one of them as routine as you get, they'll be happy with their performance in the field.
With the West Indies heading in to bat after tea in overcast conditions against the king of swing Jimmy Anderson, they'll be delighted that bad light out a halt to proceedings nearly 2 hours before close of play was scheduled. The only West Indian wicket to fall was that of aggressive opener John Campbell. Given out 3 times and twice reprieved by the 3rd umpire, Jimmy Anderson finally had his man LBW. The loss of play has to be questioned with the floodlights seemingly not doing their job. Instead of putting overs on the end of the day, when the light is bound to deteriorate, why not add them to the start of the day? With all players staying at the ground and no fans to worry about, a 10am start is the most logical way to make up time.
As disappointed as England will be with their batting performance, there were also a few questions asked about their bowling lengths. With Jason Holder having taken 6 wickets pithing the ball up, it was noticeable that England were bowling a little.short and as exciting as it was to see 90mph flash up consistently, it wasn't as exciting as seeing wickets tumble.
With the batting conditions set to improve over the coming days, the West Indies are in prime position to put up a hefty total, forcing England onto the back foot. England have a lot of work to do, if only we had a tall bowler who pitches the ball up with movement...at least Stuart will be well rested for that quicker wicket at Old Trafford.
It's important to remember that things can change quickly. England were 47-1 before their collapse and we still have 3 innings of cricket to get through. However they will need to drastically improve of they hope to get a positive result out of the first test.