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West Indies on the brink at Lord's

MAIN MAN: Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the West Indies hero today

ONLY A patient 86 not out by Mr Reliable Shiv Chanderpaul salvaged a poor first day in the opening Test between England and the West Indies at Lord’s.

The West Indies were in debt to Chanderpaul yet again as his fellow batsmen went down like nine-pins at the home cricket. He did have two slices of luck with two lbw shouts coming under the scrutiny of the Decision Review System.

The visitors ended the day on 243-9 and now face an uphill struggle to even save the Test after a woeful collective display.

It was level pegging after the first session with Caribbean outfit on 83-2 at lunch after a solid start.

The home of cricket was three-quarters full for the first Test of the summer. It was dull and overcast but thankfully there was none of the recent rain and bad weather to hold up play.

England won the toss and decided to bowl and were soon celebrating when Jimmy Anderson bowled Kieran Powell (5) when the score was on unlucky 13.

West Indies were undone by Anderson again when Kirk Edwards (1) was trapped lbw with the score on 32.

Fittingly, Anderson was only days earlier named as England’s player of the year and he seemed intent on justifying that tag from the outset. His opening spell saw him end with figures of nine overs and two wickets for just 23 runs.

At that stage the West Indians needed a partnership of note otherwise they were in trouble. Trinidad and Tobago’s Adrian Barath led the way with a hard-hitting 41 not out. His knock came off 88 balls and included 9 boundaries.

As the match headed to lunch, the visitors were looking more assured with cover drives and expansive shots the order of the day. Barath and Darren Bravo (27 not out) put on a 50 partnership as the West Indies grew in confidence.

However, whatever the West Indies had for lunch was not good for them. Immediately after the break they lost the batsmen who had given them such a positive platform.

Barath was caught by man of the moment Anderson off a Stuart Broad delivery, adding just a single to his pre-lunch 41.

What was to follow was straight out of a Christmas panto. The experienced Chandepaul knocked the ball into space and seemingly set off for a quick single. However, he changed his mind and Bravo was doing a fair impression of Usain Bolt and charged down the wicket with the result that both batsmen were at the same end.

Chanderpaul had held his ground so the rampaging Bravo had to go when he was on 29. It was a calamitous way for the West Indies to lose their fourth wicket. That soft dismissal was to set a trend.

Chanderpaul (42) and the circumspect Marlon Samuels (14) steadied the ship which at one stage resembled the Titanic. The pair put on 81 between them. West Indies went into the tea beak on 146-4.

On Samuels’ dismissal, to yet another shot which could have been reserved for the upcoming one-day internationals, the visitors were now 181-5.

The West Indies batting was summed up by the innings of Denesh Ramdin who pre-Test suggested that he was keen to improve his batting. He struck a glorious four and then added another couple of runs before heading back to the pavilion with just six to his name.

Captain Darren Sammy’s dismissal made the score 219 for 7 with eight overs of the day still to be bowled.

While Anderson was England’s main spearhead in the morning, Stuart Broad took over later in the day. He ended with figures of six wickets in his 24.4 overs.

Broad’s return catch to dismiss Kemar Roach was a thing of beauty. West Indies were 231-8 in fading light and their chances in this match mirrored the gloom.

West Indies will be hugely disappointed with their efforts on day one of what was always going to be a tough series against the no.1 side in the world.
The fact that several batsmen made starts and failed to push on means that this Test is already almost lost if England bat with any authority.

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