England Draw First Blood Beating West Indies By Nine Wickets
England 464 &144-1 (Ballance 81no) beat
West Indies 299 & 307 by nine wickets
Second Test, Grenada, day five
James Anderson and Moeen Ali orchestrated a collapse as West Indies allowed one bad session to undo all their good work to let England beat them by nine wickets in the last session on day five of the second Test in Grenada.
West Indies resumed on 202 for two, the overnight centurion Kraigg Brathwaite (116) starting proceedings with a four off Joe Root (0-29).
The first wicket of the day came in its seventh over, soon after the new ball was taken, Anderson (4-43) bowling a wonderful short ball that reared up to get the edge from Brathwaite, gobbled up at gully by Root.
The horror run of Shivnarine Chanderpaul (7) continued as he edged one to Ian Bell at second slip, that was parried away only for Alastair Cook at first slip to dive and catch it at the second attempt, Anderson picking up his second wicket of the morning.
In his next over, he accounted for the big fish, Marlon Samuels (37), in a scintillating spell of pace bowling.
Samuels was caught in two minds whether to play or leave a delivery short outside off, the ball eventually hitting the toe end of his bat.
At that point, Anderson had figures of 5-3-3-3 creating a bright opening for England on a placid pitch.
That was not the last of Anderson’s contributions as Chris Jordan (1-69) got Jermaine Blackwood (10) playing an audacious lofted drive that was taken at mid-off by Anderson whose safe pair of hands did well to reach the ball.
Anderson’s great day continued as he hit the stumps directly at the non-striker’s end where Jason Holder (2) was wandering about looking for a non-existent single after Denesh Ramdin (28) was put down at extra cover in what was a tough chance.
Ramdin added 22 and 25 for the eighth and ninth wickets in a 64-ball knock.
However, Moeen Ali (3-51) made sure there wasn’t much lower-order resistance from West Indies this time around.
He dismissed Kemar Roach (10) with a full delivery that the latter hit straight to Anderson at mid-on.
West Indies went into lunch at 286 for eight, scoring 84 runs and losing six wickets in the morning session.
Devendra Bishoo (15 not out) did well to support his skipper for a while, even hitting Stuart Broad (1-71) for couple of fours, one of them not so convincing, but he was stranded at one end as Ali picked up both the other batsmen in one over.
Ali accounted for Ramdin with a low full toss, the batsman missing it and adjudged lbw. Reviewing it didn’t help the batsman’s plight.
Two balls later, Shannon Gabriel (0) missed the ball playing back and was given out lbw too.
West Indies were all out 307, with England needing 143 to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
It was really Anderson’s day with the ball, while Ali justified his inclusion with wickets down the order.
England started out in a jittery fashion, Jonathan Trott (0) surviving a review by Ramdin for an lbw.
However, just two balls later, Gabriel (1-20) got him trying to square drive, inside edging on to his stumps in the process.
Cook (59 not out) and Gary Ballance (81 not out) dug deep to prevent England losing any more wickets.
Ballance was dropped by Samuels when on three, at midwicket, the ball bursting through his hands to go for a four.
That same ball, Jason Holder (0-11) twisted his ankle on the popping crease and hurt himself, ruling him out for the rest of the innings. However, he is expected to play the third Test.
Ballance was dropped yet again in the slips off the bowling of Samuels (0-54) when on 16.
England went to tea at 65 for one after 19 overs, supremely in control of the chase.
However, they proceeded quickly towards the target after tea, Ballance even attacking Samuels with a six and a four to bring up the 100 for the team and then hitting two more off Gabriel in the very next over to bring up his half-century.
Cook did the same the next over. Ballance’s charmed life continued as he was dropped a third time by Devon Smith at slip, yet again off Samuels’ bowling.
Ballance eventually scored the winnings runs, a four behind point, England reaching the target comfortably with plenty of wickets and overs to spare on the fifth day and they now take a 1-0 lead in the series.
While Gabriel was the lone wicket-taker, West Indies have to take a second look at what seems like a toothless bowling attack, Roach (0-18) ending the match wicketless.
© Cricket World 2015