Batty bowls England to victory
England XI 347 and 13 for 2 beat Carib Beer XI 129 and 229 (Joseph 50, Batty 5-53) by 8 wickets
Sudden collapses have been a feature of England tours of the West Indies in recent times. For once, though, on this trip the dramatic demolitions have been happening to the opposition. And true to form, today the Carib Beer XI - effectively a West Indies 2nd XI - did a passable impersonation of the senior side and subsided from 163 for 3 to 195 for 9, and only some last-wicket resistance prevented an innings defeat. England still wrapped up another satisfying victory shortly after tea.
The unlikely destroyer was Gareth Batty, the Worcestershire offspinner, who was playing his first match of the tour. Enjoying the chance to get into the selectors' ribs ahead of the third Test, with Ashley Giles having failed to set the world alight in the first two, Batty inspired the collapse with four quick wickets, and finished with 5 for 53.
After Tonito Willett fell to Giles shortly before lunch, top-edging a sweep to the substitute Steve Harmison at short fine leg for 21 (165 for 4), Batty stole the limelight. After the interval Dwayne Bravo was trapped in front for a handy 35 (175 for 5), Denesh Ramdin drove a catch to Paul Collingwood (179 for 6), Omari Banks was caught by Rikki Clarke (182 for 7), and Dave Mohammed was caught behind by Geraint Jones (193 for 8). Earlier Batty had ended Daren Ganga's long vigil, persuading him to chip a return catch after he'd made 39 (116 for 3).
James Anderson returned to remove Ravi Rampaul (195 for 9), and although Jermaine Lawson had a bit of a slog, it didn't delay the end for long. Anderson ended the fun - and a last-wicket stand of 34 - by bowling Dwight Washington for 8.
England needed only 12 to win, and knocked them off in 2.4 overs, although they did lose two wickets. Collingwood was caught behind off Lawson for a duck, and Batty, promoted to No. 3 after his bowling exploits, was leg-before to Lawson for 5. But Clarke ended the wobble with a couple of meaty blows.
The main resistance had come earlier in the day, when Ganga and Sylvester Joseph took their second-wicket stand to 82. Clarke thought he'd made an early breakthrough when he bowled Joseph, but it was a no-ball. England had to wait till Joseph reached 50 before they finally broke through, when Joseph - who clouted ten fours in his 60-ball knock - holed out to Matthew Hoggard in the deep off Giles (91 for 2).
Ganga - restored to the Test squad yesterday as cover for the injured Devon Smith - took the opportunity to have a look at the England attack very seriously, adding only ten runs to his overnight score in the first hour. But after their captain became the first of Batty's five victims, the wheels of the Carib Beer XI's delivery lorry fell off.