Carib Beer XI v England XI, Three W's Oval, 1st day March 26, 2004

It's beer and skittles for England

Wisden Cricinfo staff

England 121 for 3 (Trescothick 50) trail Carib Beer XI 129 (Hoggard 4-27) by 8 runs

Marcus Trescothick on his way to an unconvincing - but much needed - half century © Getty Images
England enjoyed a fairly low-key day in Bridgetown. Their second-string bowling attack skittled out the Carib Beer XI for 129 inside two sessions, and then all their top-order batsmen enjoyed some time in the middle. Perhaps most importantly, Marcus Trescothick finally found some kind of form - thought he was still well below his best - in making 50 and so more than doubling the aggregate of his previous seven innings on the tour.

It took a while for England to take command of the day's proceedings. Trescothick, standing in as captain for the resting Michael Vaughan, lost the toss and was asked to field first, and although Matthew Hoggard grabbed an early wicket when Xavier Marshall fended a rising delivery to Gareth Batty at short leg (31 for 1), Daren Ganga and Sylvester Joseph added 42 for the second wicket to stabilise the innings.

But with six overs to go until lunch, England broke the back of the West Indian innings. James Anderson, who had been overlooked for the first two Tests, dented Ganga's prospects of a Test recall by having him caught behind for 25, before Tonito Willett was trapped lbw for 1. Meanwhile Ashley Giles, who has been another peripheral figure on the tour so far, chipped in with the wicket of Dwayne Bravo as he misjudged a sweep, and England had removed three top-order batsmen in the space of 12 runs.

The procession continued after the break. Denish Ramdin nibbled at Rikki Clarke to give Geraint Jones his third catch of the innings (93 for 5), before Joseph - who had played sensibly for his 36 - became Clarke's second victim in quick succession (100 for 6). Giles then grabbed a second wicket as Dave Mohammed spooned a return catch for 7 (107 for 7).

James Anderson: two wickets in a rare outing © Getty Images
There was plenty at stake in the match, despite England's rather indifferent approach to their first two warm-up fixtures in Jamaica at the beginning of the tour. And for the young Test allrounder, Omari Banks, there was a chance to push for a recall after several months out with injury. This time last year, he helped West Indies to a world-record fourth-innings run-chase of 418 against Australia: today, he wasn't quite able to reproduce that sort of an innings, but his 17 was nonetheless the only double-figure score that the last eight batsmen could muster between them, as Hoggard returned to sweep up the tail. But England's bowlers were not at their best, and the low score owed more to poor batting than any outstanding performances with the ball.

When England batted, all eyes were on Trescothick. His half-century was far from convincing. He had some early luck when he edged Jermaine Lawson behind only to be reprieved by a no-ball call, and enjoyed two more let-offs when he was dropped on 36 at mid-off by Tonito Willett and then again on 46 at cover. But the runs might just help his fragile confidence.

Mark Butcher looked good for his 17 until he pulled Dwight Washington straight to Marshall at backward square leg, Paul Collingwood was equally assured until well stumped by Denesh Ramdin off Mohammed for 20, and Trescothick's luck finally ran out when he was bowled round his legs by Banks.