Garfield Robinson's report on Day 2 of the Trent Bridge Test between England and West Indies (May 26, 2012)
Andrew Strauss scored an unbeaten 102 to lead the hosts in a solid reply to the visitor’s 370. It was his 21st and it separated him from Kevin Pietersen, Graham Gooch and Ken Barrington, who all have 20, and left him only one behind Geoffrey Boycott, Walter Hammond and Colin Cowdrey, all with 22, on the list of most centuries by English test players.
His hundred at Lords was more hard fought, and considering he was coming off an 18 month drought, more heart-felt than his effort today. This Trent Bridge surface was also friendlier and the bowling of the West Indies less demanding.
Kevin Pietersen joined him with the score on 123, and by the close their partnership was worth 136, scored at the rollicking rate of around four runs per over. They paid special attention to West Indies captain and medium pacer Darren Sammy, and off spinner Shane Shillingford, doing serious damage to their economy rates. Strauss especially, was unkind to the spinner, taking him for seven boundaries, while Pietersen signaled his intentions by hoisting the first delivery from the man who tormented Australia in his last game, down the ground for six.Whilst they batted test cricket looked as easy as a Sunday evening stroll.
And though Strauss reveled more in his favorite cut stroke than he did at Lords, he was still very competent down the ground and played beautifully off his legs, while Pietersen batted with an abandon that only few dare attempt.
The West Indies’ best bowler was Ravi Rampaul, who took both wickets and garnered more movement than any bowler this game. Had Kemar Roach not overstepped on so many occasions, however, that accolade might well have been his.
When Alastair Cook fell on 24 with England on 43, it was the third time he was being caught behind by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin. But the first two times did not count as the both deliveries from Roach were no-balls. In total, he was called eight times for overstepping--though the crowd indicated they thought it was significantly more than that-- and it clearly affected his bowling.
Cook was on one when Ramdin made a splendid catch going low to his left, only for the standing umpire to halt his march back to the pavilion and dampen the visitor’s celebrations while he requested the assistance of the cameras to determine the legitimacy of the delivery. Their heads collectively dropped upon seeing the replay, and it was even more distressing for them when it happened for the second time with Cook on 12.
Jonathan Trott was brisker than normal in scoring 35, which he did off 54 balls with seven boundaries. Normally more partial to the leg side, six of his fours were struck on the offside. But shortly after tea Rampaul moved one back into him that he tried to play to leg and he was struck in front. The review showed the ball clipping leg stump and so the umpire’s decision stood.
The West Indies had rather squandered the good position they had overnight. Their 370 was probably satisfactory, but no more than that. Marlon Samuels had talked about scoring a double century and of settling in for the first hour with Sammy and then taking it from there.
If that was the plan it was poorly executed.Three boundaries carried Sammy to hiscentury; one was a handsome drive past mid off, while the others came off thick edges and flew in the area of gully. It was well deserved and would no doubt prompt the doubters to make a step in his direction.
But eight overs into the day’s play Bresnan replaced Jimmy Anderson and began a very good spell that would yield him three wickets. In his second over Sammy went to fetch a delivery from outside off and hooked it into Pietersen’s lap at square leg. Such adventurism, though always a feature of his batting, should have been shunned in the interest of building a formidable total.
Samuels was the next to go. It seemed that the loss of his captain convinced him that his play needed to become more urgent, and in the next over from Bresnan he aimed a big drive through the offside without getting sufficiently across and sliced a catch to gully.
Roach was dropped by Swann off Broad before Bresnan had him caught by Strauss going low to his right at first slip. And Shillingford made 16 before he ran down the pitch at Swann and was stumped.
The third day could be crucial for both teams. England will be looking to use the solid foundation they have established to build a mammoth edifice. While the West Indies will be hoping their seemingly shallow bowling attack will prove penetrative enough to prevent the hosts from batting them out of the game.