So you've all be waiting for it. The reactions to the first test between England and West Indies.
Four of the team have their say here. Lets get to it
First of all, no matter how that test match panned out I must start by saying how good it was to see cricket back in our lives. Now, with the government allowing recreational cricket to go ahead, summer feels a little closer to normal than it previously seemed.
When the coin came down and Jason Holder had called incorrectly, I was excited to sit down and watch one of the most fearsome looking attacks England had at their disposal, make first use of the conditions. To me and many others watching from home, it had to be a bowl first day. There was some surprise to see Broad left out from most England fans, but to me the more criminal decision was to bat. One look at the teams on paper would show you that both were a much better bowling side than batting. Choosing to bowl first should’ve been the obvious decision with the weather forecast set for two days of almost constant cloud cover before three days of sunshine.
The performance was pretty pathetic in my opinion and things need to change. With tours of India and Australia coming in the next few winters this side can simply not afford to lose the opening game of every series. This remarkably inconsistent side do have the consistency to manage that though. They simply must win the next two games at Old Trafford because if they cannot manage to do that against a West Indies side with so little strength in their batting, I really fear for them in the future.
Changes need to be made with Broad almost guaranteed to return. Root will bat at four but who he replaces will put the selectors in a tough situation. It seemed that they put Denly at three with the view to him playing there all summer but with him looking so poor and Crawley improving his test match best score, there is plenty of thinking to do. With regards to Buttler, his time is up but cannot see him being dropped so there is little more to say on that matter.
Let’s hope for better cricket long with better weather.
Duke and Kookabura
The headlines have no doubt been covered regarding the call at the toss and omitting Broad but the simple truth is we didn't bat well enough for long enough, and our fielding was average. Has both of those areas been improved even slightly we may have gotten away with squeaking a win. On the fifth day we had our chances but we couldn't take them; I feels sure it's just some rust made it's way into the side over the layoff but it needs to be removed quickly. WI are now in the box seat to win their first series in England since 1988.
Two changes I would make immediately for Old Trafford are the reinstatement of Root and Foakes for Denly and Buttler. Denly's race is run for me, his second innings dismissal perfect microcosm of his international career, namely get in do the hard work get set, see the batsman at the other end make it look easier, then get out. Fifteen Tests with ana average of 29 isn't good enough, no other international side would tolerate and nor should we. Sorry Joe, thank you and goodnight.
Jos Buttler looked a man bereft in the second innings, played a ghastly shot and dropped a regulation chance off Blackwood which would've put the skids under the run chase. He looks lost in Test cricket, and it's not fair on him to put him through it, nor us the fans. Give Foakes an extended chance, make him feel comfortable and the performances will follow. Buttler looks torn between what he wants to do and what he feels he should do; in white ball he is free to do what he does best. We all want Buttler to succeed but it hasn't and so it's time to make the call.
We mustn't be bounced into picking Broad on Thursday if it isn't the right call having looked at the pitch. If it looks fast then Archer and Wood should play if it will suit. Anderson averages 22 at Old Trafford so will be itching to play, as will Woakes and Curran left on the sidelines on the south coast. We must ensure we pick the right attack to take 20 wickets otherwise the series could be lost in the first couple of days; the returning Root will surely read the boys the Riot Act and demand an improvement. I know the fans do.
Ignore the non-selection of Stuart Broad. Ignore the decision to bat at the toss. Ignore the poor first innings bowling of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. Ignore Dom Bess' lack of second innings overs. Had England not found themselves 87-5 in the first innings, had they not lost 30-5 from 249-3 in the second innings, they would not have lost this game.
Full credit to the West Indies, who, at times bowled brilliantly, and batted maturely, especially Jermaine Blackwood in the WIndies' successful chase. But being 87-5 in one's first innings is unforgivable. And yet, leading by 135 and just three wickets down in the second innings, England had been let off the hook. Only to put themselves back on it, with Ben Stokes, Zak Crawley, Jos Buttler, Dom Bess and Ollie Pope all falling in that pathetic evening session on day 4. It was not that England were bowled out, they got themselves out, with numerous soft dismissals in both innings, often by the same players. Joe Root's return will be very helpful, but England have to do better, as it was their own batting that cost them this test.
Ultimately the test match was lost at the toss, with Ben Stokes choosing to bat due to the fact that the pitch looked dry underneath. Regardless of that, in overcast conditions in Southampton with the floodlights on, the correct decision was to bowl, which is enhanced further by the fact that a certain Jimmy Anderson was playing.
This isn’t a personal dig at Stokes’ decision, as the pitch did eventually become easier to bat on as the match progressed, but in order to win a test match, you have to bat well. In the first innings, England succumbed to full pitched bowling, finishing on 204, at least 50 runs short of a reasonable first innings score on that pitch. Then, in the second innings, too many batsmen either threw their wickets away after starts (Burns, Sibley, Denly, Stokes and Crawley) or just didn't start at all (Pope and Buttler). It just simply wasn't a good enough performance all round to win the test, especially in the batting department.
All Things Cricket
I'll keep it brief. From the start, the team selection was wrong, the choice at the toss was wrong. We put our batsmen out onto a green seamer in terrible batting conditions and we wonder when our batsmen failed. The pitch flattened out and the West Indies chased it comfortably.
Multiple players failed, often in multiple disciplines. The fifeteen minutes which summed up the game, were the drops by Butler, Stokes and Burns, followed by some village fielding from Crawley. England were horribly rusty and made some ropey decision making all the way through the test.
Stokes has managed to avoid the medias wrath about his captaincy, but it was bad. Bess bowled 10 overs in the second innings yet had 2 wicket oppurtunities.
Root comes in next match and a change of bowling attack. Hopefully revenge will be on their minds.
So there we have it, we've had our say. What do you think? Let us know @insideEdgeCric on twitter