England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, 5th day May 21, 2012

Bell chimes as Sammy lets England off

West Indies needed to go for broke in pursuit of a famous win but Darren Sammy curiously chose to address a slow over-rate instead
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There was, from an England perspective, something pleasing about Ian Bell clipping the winning runs of this Test. Bell has made Test half-centuries before, of course, and he has certainly taken boundaries off better bowlers than Marlon Samuels.

He was building, too, on foundations laid so masterfully by Alastair Cook. But, after a trying winter, Bell produced two important innings at Lord's. Only Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored more runs in the match and, having made just 134 runs in five Tests over the winter, Bell has already recorded 124 in this series.

More importantly, Bell performed under pressure. Since his contributions on the 2009-10 tour of South Africa, the complaint that he is not a man for a crisis has lost credence. But, bearing in mind that he came to the crease with England wobbling and 134 runs still required, then this was an important innings for the individual and the team.

West Indies may reflect, however, that they made life too easy for him. The game was in the balance when Bell came to join Cook. The tourists had fought their way back into the match through an admirably sustained spell of fast bowling from Kemar Roach and another wicket could have sent jitters through the home dressing room. West Indies had to go for the throat.

They failed to do so. With Roach needing a rest, Fidel Edwards (whose long-term back problems require careful management) and Shannon Gabriel (who was forced off the field by back spasms) held together by Blu-Tack and hope, Bell was confronted by Darren Sammy and Samuels for much of the time. He faced only three balls from Roach before he was rested and only one from Edwards in his entire innings. Not for a moment was Bell forced out of his comfort zone

While the injuries may have been bad luck, that is not the entire story. Not only did it highlight the danger - the predictable danger - of coming into the Test with at least one with bowler - Edwards - with some injury doubts, but it also highlighted the lack of effectiveness of West Indies' support bowlers.

Most of all, however, it highlighted some curious leadership from Sammy. The West Indies captain, leading a side without a specialist spinner for the first time, misjudged the over-rate so badly that, at a time when his only thought should have been victory, he was also thinking about making up lost time. While it is true that he did not hold a handful of aces, the decision to persist with Marlon Samuels - Test bowling average 75.60 - after lunch was inexplicable. England still required 60. The next man in was a debutant. There was still a chance to prey on the nerves of a side that were bowled out for 72 less than four months ago.

"There will still be those suggesting that England should have won bigger, better and with balloons. South Africa will present a sterner test"

Instead, with a Test in the balance, Sammy prioritised the over-rate over a last push for victory. West Indies had battled so hard to claw their way back into the game, but threw it all away to avoid an over-rate fine. They failed, too, as ICC subsequently penalised them anyway. Sammy was fined 80% of his match fee; the rest of the team 40%.

Samuels' offspin was first introduced into the attack when England still required 86 to win. Sammy admitted after the game that part of the reason was because he was concerned about the slow over-rate. "At one point in time I was five or six overs down [on the rate] in the match," Sammy said. "Shannon Gabriel went out with back spasms and Fidel Edwards was not at his best, so yes Marlon Samuels had to fill in some overs and make up some time." It was a tactic that brought back memories of Ricky Ponting's costly decision to utilise Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke in the fourth Test against India in Nagpur in 2008.

What did we learn about West Indies from this match? We knew from Bridgetown and Delhi that they could push good sides all the way. We knew that Roach was a fine fast bowler and that Chanderpaul was a fine Test batsmen. We knew, too, that they could challenge for periods of time. But they still look a couple of players short of beating the better sides. Roach, in particular, lacks support. It feels, at times, as if they are progressing, but five losses in seven Tests hardly shows it. At some stage, the WICB will have to decide whether to stick or twist with Sammy but, for now, his abundant leadership qualities and the lack of obvious replacements provide some breathing space.

England always faced something of a no-win situation in this series. They were expected to win and, having done so by five-wickets, there will still be those suggesting that they should have done it bigger, better and with balloons. South Africa, it is true, will present a sterner test.

But England, who have named an unchanged squad for the second Test at Trent Bridge, can feel satisfied with their performance in this game. It is not just that they won, but that they found solutions to some of their dilemmas. Andrew Strauss scored the century he needed to prove to himself that he can still contribute at this level, Bell recovered his confidence, Stuart Broad underlined his growing status as bowler (he is up the No. 3 in the Test bowling rankings, one of three England players - Graeme Swann and James Anderson are the others - in the top five) and, most importantly, after four losses in five Tests, they returned to winning ways. They are still yet to categorically decide who should be the third seamer and who should bat at No. 6 but, with two months to go before the start of the first Test against South Africa at The Oval, England know with some certainly the identity and role of nine of their 11.

"Bell didn't have to justify his place in the side," Strauss said afterwards. "He's shown what a quality player it is. He averaged 100 in the year before the winter. He didn't have to prove to anyone in our side what a good player he is.

"I'm conscious of the need to use my century as a bit of a catalyst to have a really good summer," he continued. "Hopefully it will prove to be a bit of a breakthrough and allow me to go on and score a few more hundreds in the next few games."

Perhaps Alastair Cook can take most satisfaction from the final day. His first 28 balls - spread over the fourth evening and the fifth morning - brought only one run. But they also drew the sting from the West Indies attack. Cook left the ball well, did not become flustered and, having seen off Roach at his most hostile, milked the other bowlers in that quietly efficient way that has become so familiar. If greatness is about sweet timing and audacious strokes, Cook is an also-ran. But if it is simply about accumulating runs and delivering when your team is under pressure, Cook will surely be remembered as one of England's finest opening batsmen.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 24, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    meety, I have lived in oz, all they do is crow!!

  • cyborg on May 23, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    WHAT WOULD ENGLAND DO WITHOUT ALASTAIR COOK?

  • jmcilhinney on May 23, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    @Harry_Kool on (May 23 2012, 06:22 AM GMT), when I reply to a comment by RandyOZ I reply to his comment specifically. I don't necessarily see a couple of wickets as a big deal but then I also don't see a case for using this victory as an example of why England or England fans should be worried. If RandyOZ wants to say that England are bad then I'm going to point out why Australia are no better. Of course he'll never justify his position because he can't actually deal in facts. You'll know when I'm not replying to someone but stating my own reasoned opinion because I won't mention anyone I'm replying to.

  • Harry_Kool on May 23, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    @hhillbumper. I am with Meety, where do you see Aussies crowing? At least some of our Pommy friends can see that this Windies outfit is a far cry from the limp wristed team that strolled around with similar colours and were regularly turning over for huge defeats.@jmcilhinney. Pretty fair summation. I think you guys now realize that your team will be tested by a team willing to tussle and the quips about beating an "average" side might abate some. I wouldn't place too much emphasis on wickets lost chasing runs given different conditions etc, you should know better than that.

  • jmcilhinney on May 23, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (May 22 2012, 12:40 PM GMT), yes we are all terribly concerned that Ian Bell was only able to score 124 runs this game. Yes we are all terribly concerned that England chased down the same number of runs as Australia did recently against WI and were only able to lose 2 fewer wickets in the process. Of course, one of those wickets was our #11 so that makes it a bit easier to take. We are also terribly concerned that Graeme Swann was only able to take two more wickets on this unhelpful track than Nathan Lyon did in the first Test in WI. Of course, Swann should have had Chanderpaul in the first innings but for the lack of a review but even then, it is Nathan Lyon we're talking about so to only be that much better is a worry. But, as you rightly point out, Ian Bell suffering from the Ponting effect is the biggest concern of all.

  • Meety on May 23, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    @hhillbumper - name an Ozzy on this thread looking to "crow"!

  • Bramblefly on May 22, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    Rozzer at 12.40pm - I saw the Bell innings that started with him coming in with England at 4-57 and needing another 134. Scoring runs when it doesn't matter? Which parallel universe were you watching the match in? As usual, lots to say, no stomach for a debate.

  • hhillbumper on May 22, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    Seems a lot of Indian and Aus fans are getting ready to crow.We still won Broad is ever improving and the batting will move forwards.Agree we need to win in sub continent but given how well both of your teams have travelled recently it might be time you waddled off for a bit.Australia can at least lay claim to some bowlers but what about India

  • TheMehssiah on May 22, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    @ rahulcricket007 - for a fair comparison of England and India's recent away form, look no further than the two series in Australia.

    Even on dustbowls, you don't have any quality bowlers to exploit them. Pakistan has more quality seamers banned from the game at present than India has produced in a generation. How is it that India has half a billion men and not one of them can bowl properly?

  • drewkatski on May 22, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Heh! And they call India home bullies! smh

  • VillageBlacksmith on May 24, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    meety, I have lived in oz, all they do is crow!!

  • cyborg on May 23, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    WHAT WOULD ENGLAND DO WITHOUT ALASTAIR COOK?

  • jmcilhinney on May 23, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    @Harry_Kool on (May 23 2012, 06:22 AM GMT), when I reply to a comment by RandyOZ I reply to his comment specifically. I don't necessarily see a couple of wickets as a big deal but then I also don't see a case for using this victory as an example of why England or England fans should be worried. If RandyOZ wants to say that England are bad then I'm going to point out why Australia are no better. Of course he'll never justify his position because he can't actually deal in facts. You'll know when I'm not replying to someone but stating my own reasoned opinion because I won't mention anyone I'm replying to.

  • Harry_Kool on May 23, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    @hhillbumper. I am with Meety, where do you see Aussies crowing? At least some of our Pommy friends can see that this Windies outfit is a far cry from the limp wristed team that strolled around with similar colours and were regularly turning over for huge defeats.@jmcilhinney. Pretty fair summation. I think you guys now realize that your team will be tested by a team willing to tussle and the quips about beating an "average" side might abate some. I wouldn't place too much emphasis on wickets lost chasing runs given different conditions etc, you should know better than that.

  • jmcilhinney on May 23, 2012, 3:38 GMT

    @RandyOZ on (May 22 2012, 12:40 PM GMT), yes we are all terribly concerned that Ian Bell was only able to score 124 runs this game. Yes we are all terribly concerned that England chased down the same number of runs as Australia did recently against WI and were only able to lose 2 fewer wickets in the process. Of course, one of those wickets was our #11 so that makes it a bit easier to take. We are also terribly concerned that Graeme Swann was only able to take two more wickets on this unhelpful track than Nathan Lyon did in the first Test in WI. Of course, Swann should have had Chanderpaul in the first innings but for the lack of a review but even then, it is Nathan Lyon we're talking about so to only be that much better is a worry. But, as you rightly point out, Ian Bell suffering from the Ponting effect is the biggest concern of all.

  • Meety on May 23, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    @hhillbumper - name an Ozzy on this thread looking to "crow"!

  • Bramblefly on May 22, 2012, 20:30 GMT

    Rozzer at 12.40pm - I saw the Bell innings that started with him coming in with England at 4-57 and needing another 134. Scoring runs when it doesn't matter? Which parallel universe were you watching the match in? As usual, lots to say, no stomach for a debate.

  • hhillbumper on May 22, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    Seems a lot of Indian and Aus fans are getting ready to crow.We still won Broad is ever improving and the batting will move forwards.Agree we need to win in sub continent but given how well both of your teams have travelled recently it might be time you waddled off for a bit.Australia can at least lay claim to some bowlers but what about India

  • TheMehssiah on May 22, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    @ rahulcricket007 - for a fair comparison of England and India's recent away form, look no further than the two series in Australia.

    Even on dustbowls, you don't have any quality bowlers to exploit them. Pakistan has more quality seamers banned from the game at present than India has produced in a generation. How is it that India has half a billion men and not one of them can bowl properly?

  • drewkatski on May 22, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    Heh! And they call India home bullies! smh

  • mrhamilton on May 22, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    Having defended Sammy stoutly last week in regards to the former pscychologist of the 80s windies team saying Sammys team were afraid of winning. I now concede there is an element of truth in this issue in regards to Sammy. He threw his wicket away on 37 playing irresponsibily and he dropped a customary catch in the slips off trott, and could only smile as a reaction, and than like dobell says some of his choices in the latter stages of the england 2nd innings. Gayle needs to come in for sure there are no doubts and the 3 youngsters at the top should be rotated in 2 places. Edwards is comparable to sami of pak, he has all the tools but just cant take wickets. for now there is no replacement. We need a fighter like rampaul in teh side he will do well in engllish conditions.

  • noplay on May 22, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    YorkshirePudding I believe as captain Sammy should insist on having a fit bowler on the team instead of Fidel who is injured. Fidel did not just bowl badly, he is unfit. The WICB never noticed Sunil Narine until he was bought by the KKR. Had that not happened, Narine would never have played in the limited overs games. Your comment is grossly unfair to Narine. Moreover Gibson does not have a four-pronged pace attack. What is he talking about? You need to follow the workings of the WICB and the WI team to make an informed comment

  • on May 22, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    Why Tony Best? Why not Rampaul as the replacement!

  • wrenx on May 22, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    About time WI bit the bullet, and realised that there's a difference between nurturing an inexperienced side and exposing them to hostile failure that will eventually crush them. The nascent nature of this team needs more guidance. Hillaire & co. need to get Sarwan and Gayle back in the side, let Narine and Bravo earn their test stripes away from the IPL and start using the world-class talent at their disposal. And the outrageous number of no-balls need to have some consequences internally. A fit Rampaul should be boost to, with the bat as well as the ball

  • Rally_Windies on May 22, 2012, 12:55 GMT

    @jmcilhinney

    the west Indian way is to tell everyone you are sick instead of just "resting" or dropping a player..

    Re, Gayle -- he was sick and injured and therefore dropped from the WI team, but IPL doctors had no idea what the injury was (nor did Gayle) ... the WICB tried to reprimand Gayle for playing "injured" in the 2011 IPL .. Re. Sarawan -- He is still injured and has major fitness issues. Lets take a look at English County and see if we notice any "fitness problems" ... Re. Chanderpaul -- he is also out of shape and needs to get in condition, he cannot keep up with the team work ethic. (ok, those 4-5 hours batting stints don't look like an out of condition old man to me, but Ottis is the expert ! Right?)

  • Rally_Windies on May 22, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    hahaha, I said a month ago, that if faced with a fine in order to help WI win or Draw.... Sammy would rather lose than take a cut in pay ....

    I compared Sammy's attitude to that of Ramnarine who took a fine for time wasting in order to draw a test (when he was batting) ....

    I concluded that Ramnarine cared more about WI cricket than Sammy of Gibson ...

    I made that statement in jest....

    But Sammy has proven beyond a doubt that he is a loser who does not care about WI cricket and his only reason for being is MONEY ... He cannot play on merit, so he has gotten favours to get his high earning job (at which he is totally incompetent) Sammy is a nice guy, but he is also a greedy man with no integrity and has no idea what he is doing.. but he does it so nicely ...

    but that is What Gibson and Hillare want.. They want nicely behaved boys....ability to play cricket is optional.

  • wifan16 on May 22, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    EVERYONE THAT IS CALLING FOR POLLARD IN THE 'TEST' TEAM KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT 'TEST' CRICKET!!..WHAT HAVE POLLARD DONE TO BE IN THE 'TEST' TEAM?..HE DIDN'T EVEN MAKE ANY KIND OF RUNS IN THE IPL!!!..SERIOUSLY STOP CALLING FOR POLLARD!!!!

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 22, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    I can't wait for the return of Tremlett and the heat to really turn up. No joke for oppositions then!!!

  • RandyOZ on May 22, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    Once again the Bell effect strikes; can only score at home when it doesn't matter. Very worrying times for the United XI.

  • Bramblefly on May 22, 2012, 12:18 GMT

    George, I'm not sure what else Sammy could have done for reasons that are largely in your article. Fast bowler management seems to be a problem for every test side; Roach in need of a rest, Edwards and Gabriel with back problems. I just don't think that the stars were aligned for the WI captain. I'm all for positive captaincy but Sammy faced choices such as over-bowling Roach when Bell came in and bringing him back just after lunch. I could see him doing the latter if England needed 160 rather than 60. In the circumstances, I wouldn't be surprised if Sammy elected not to risk him with Trent Bridge in mind. Still, a good win for England and good signs for the WIndies.

  • bobmartin on May 22, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Sammy is a nice guy, he says all the right things at interviews and is probably a good leader...The trouble is he doesn't appear to have the two essential qualities that all good test captains need, tactical nous and the ability to make things happen by thinking outside the box.

  • yorkshirematt on May 22, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    @rahulcricket And we would expect nothing less, after all that will play to india's strengths and they will be at home. As an english CRICKET LOVER as opposed to "fan" i am looking forward to the south africa and india series and although I do of course enjoy seeing england win, the quality of the cricket comes first for me. Hopefully these upcoming series will be interesting. I enjoyed the England v India series as I saw some good cricket from England but was disappointed with the cricket india played. I enjoyed watching Ajmal bowl in the UAE in January and I enjoyed watching Mahela score runs for Sri Lanka against England. Some people on here, whether they are english, indian or whatever need to get out of their little nationalistic bubble and start appreciating cricket for what it is. Not a war between nations but as an intriguing, complex game of skill and mental strength. Whoever is allegedly "no.1" is irrelevant as the game of cricket is always the winner. Rant over!

  • on May 22, 2012, 11:11 GMT

    For all of us that thought WI were in with a shout,we could feel justified. In any game u need some luck & lady luck was unkind to us. The injuries certainly set us back. I do think we have the measure of ENG. Next, Sammy's decision to look at the over rate in lieu of victory is understandable. Your 2 strike bowlers r injured, why risk Roach. After all this is just the 1st test & your boys didn't do 2 badly. And as I said we have the measure of ENG, we need to bat better. Hopefully we can get one of the IPL stars.

  • on May 22, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    To me sammy is a ok player and should be fighting for a place on the side... As a captain he lacks the intelligence and flair...he plays the hit and hope game with the bat... The only reason i see him playing on the side is because gayle, bravo, dwayne smith, sarwan, pollard and narine is currently playing in the IPL... Thank God for Chaderpaul otherwise W.I would have lost inside 3days...

  • YorkshirePudding on May 22, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    @noplay, actaully I'm not when any team does badly its the captains fault not the players, when the team does well hes a great captain. Ricky ponting wasnt a great captain when he had the great Aussie team in 2004-2007, as they managed themselves, yet with the younger players he was pretty ordinary. The Captain cant prevent a bowler bowling badly as Edwards did on a few occasions, its also not Sammy's fault that Narine, and co decided to put the IPL (and thier own pocket) over country. Gibson also announced 2 days before the test it was likely to be an all pace attack.

  • creekeetman on May 22, 2012, 10:08 GMT

    @ ricardo williams... lol, they could'nt do any worse could they? and at least they can contribute with the ball.

  • SDHM on May 22, 2012, 10:07 GMT

    The reason Rampaul wasn't in the side is because he was injured! So that answers that question for everyone. I'm guessing he should be fit for the next test, and he absolutely HAS to play - Trent Bridge will suit his style of bowling to pretty much perfection. With Gabriel picking up an injury he should come back in, and maybe if Edwards is still stiff and struggling they should replace him with Shillingford. It's not a spinner's paradise at Trent Bridge, but they were sorely missing some variety at times at Lord's.

  • jmcilhinney on May 22, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    @noplay on (May 22 2012, 08:46 AM GMT), the comments re Gabriel and Rampaul are a bit rich. You might trying doing a bit of reading and a bit of thinking before commenting next time. Given that WI effectively only had one warmup it wasn't possible to play everyone so the fact that Gabriel didn't get a run isn't really WI fault. Rampaul played the game against the Lions because they intended to play him in the first Test but he was injured and therefore was unavailable for selection, hence Gabriel played. It just goes to show how worthless much of the criticism posted in these comments is, given how little information it's actually based on.

  • rahulcricket007 on May 22, 2012, 9:05 GMT

    @THE MESSIAH . I M SAYING WAIT UNTIL YOU ARRIVE IN INDIA . WE WILL PREPARE DUST BOWLS FOR ENG TEST SERIES .

  • rahulcricket007 on May 22, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    HMM SO THE BATSMEN IAN BELL WHO WAS LOOKING LIKE A CLUB LEVEL BATSMEN IN ASIAN CONDITIONS HAS NOW MADE 124 RUNS IN A SINGLE MATCH . PERFECT EXAMPLE OF A PLAYER WHO CAN PLAY ONLY AT GREEN TRACKS & SWINGING CONDITIONS . WHERE IS GEOFF BOYCOTT NOW ? HE WAS SAYING RECENTLY THAT INDIAN BATSMEN( INCLUDING THE LIKES OF DRAVID WHO HAS 7 CENTUIRES IN ENGLAND) ARE HOME BULLIES . WHAT ABOUT HIS OWN BATSMEN LIKE BELL ?

  • noplay on May 22, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    YorkshirePudding is wrong. Captains are not great on the basis of a couple players having good individual performances. They are great whenthose performances make their teams win. On the issue of the bowling, Gibson high on fitness is ignoring the fact that Fidel is unfit. He was a passenger on the team. Gabriel is never named in a warm up and makes his debut at Lords, no lessI Big strong, young Shillingford has not adjusted to the temperature and Rampaul gets time off for playstation. Awesome management wouldn't you say? In addition the decision to rectify the over rate was made during the break.... clearly a team strategy

  • Srini_Indian on May 22, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    After a clueless, miserable and embarrassing winter, suddenly England won a test match with relative ease? Talk about home track bullies. Bell looked like a street cricketer against Pakistan and suddenly a top batsman in one-dimensional boring pitch. lol

  • Tlotoxl on May 22, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    @jmcilhinney: you hit the nail on the head, it is about the long running form, England have won 20 of their last 35 matches over the last 3 years, losing only 8 matches and only losing 1 series out of the last 11, winning 8 of them, how much more do you have to do to prove you are no 1? Yes we had a bad winter, against Pakistan in a country we had never toured to before but people forget although we were hopeless in the first test we should have won the second test chasing only 145 and bowled out Pakistan for 99 in the 3rd test. OTOH India were never ever in any hope of competeing in any of the 8 tests against Eng or Aus.

  • TheMehssiah on May 22, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    To all those (largely Indian and Australian fans, oddly) who are saying "wait until South Africa arrive"... I, along with every England fan, cannot. Two sides very evenly matched on paper, with excellent bowlers and both with very good, if slightly flawed, batting outfits. Should be a cracker.

    England fans haven't been raised to expect being number one in the world. All we've ever been able to want is competitive series with good cricket played. If we lose a great series, I'll be disappointed, but not as disappointed as I was by the Indian capitulation last time they were here, or by the Aussie performance in their own back yard.

  • jmcilhinney on May 22, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    @Aashishk3 on (May 22 2012, 00:16 AM GMT), like so many other people before you, you seem to be confusing being the #1 ranked team with being a great team. Australia were not the #1 team because they won away from home. They were the #1 team because they had an overall better record than everyone else. The fact that they were able to win consistently away from home is one of the things that made them a great team. This England team are not a great team but they are the #1 ranked team and, while I hope it doesn't go this way, they could continue to be so without ever winning consistently away from home. A marathon is run over 26 miles but if the winner wins by a single step he still wins. If you are ahead of the rest then you are the best, regardless of how much better than the rest you are.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 22, 2012, 4:10 GMT

    @5dayfan, its simple hes injured, he may be back for the next game probably at the expense of Gabriel.....@noplay, all captains are great when players are performing, and losers when they arnt......@those usggestion Sarwan, hes publicaly stated that he has no interest, even if he got a call from the WICB he wont play for them this summer, which is sad, but understandable....Sammy isnt a bad captain, and Gibson isnt a bad coach, they remind me of Nass and Fletcher in the dark days when England team culture was being changed, they do need an older head at the top of the order, but Chanderpaul isnt that player (besides he REFUSES to bat anywhere but 5), Sarwan would be Ideal but he wont play, and So they must be praying for Gayle to arrive in time for the Leics match to get some game time.

  • satish619chandar on May 22, 2012, 3:39 GMT

    1. Bell is always good at home and a bit ok in Australia.. 2. Initially i though he plays spin very well but reality is. plays spin very well in the conditions where the ball doesn't spin that much or against teams without quality spinner.. 3. Why not WI ask Narine to join the squad immediately after the IPL and if possible, get Gayle too on board.. Would add some spice to their attack for sure.. @noplay : As a batting lineup needs a slow and steady Chanderpaul, a bowling attack too needs slow and steady guys like Sammy who can bowl long spells and mostly economically which will allow the blasters to bowl aggressively.. A attack with Sammy would be better than three full fast bowlers which might lead to spraying too much,,

  • Meety on May 22, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    Its unfortunate that Sammy gets bagged for his bowling choices, when two of his 4 pace options had injury concerns! I suppose Sammy was the reason they were injured? == == == I don't know about Powell & Barath, (was a major fan of barath for his 100 on debut v Oz several yrs ago, he seems to have gone backwards). IMO, the WIndies need to consider doing something completely left field & open the batting with Sammy. With the fields up, I could see him slashing a quickfire 30 or 40 & changing the complexion of the game. I can't really see Powell or Barath surviving long enough to do that (get to 30). If Sammy opens in place of say Powell, it opens up a position for Deonarine, (assuming Samuels' place is now safe). Deonarine is a useful allrounder- batting@#7, with Ramdin @ #8, the WIndies then look to have a little more depth in their batting. So assuming a Sarwan selection is unlikely- I'd go 1.Sammy2Barath3.Edwards4. Bravo5Chanders6Samuels7.Deonarine8Ramdin9.Rampaul10Roach11Shillingford

  • on May 22, 2012, 1:00 GMT

    West Indies should player 7 bowlers. They should give up on the top 3 positions. Play Rampaul, Russell, Pollard to replace them. The top three positions have failed to contribute and those mentioned can score runs and take wickets. They can support Chanderpaul, Bravo, and Samuel.

  • Aashishk3 on May 22, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    India had done this too when they were num 1 but what they failed to do was win in the foreign countries.... So England will not prove their num 1 status until they win in pitches other than in England.... Aussies did it and that is why they were num 1 for such a long time..

  • on May 22, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    This result was expected from day one. How could the selectors put a team together and left out a specialist spinnerfor this test? Then again , Samuels was called into fill the role of a spinner, when Samuel's action was called into question at the IPL, hence the over rate. Samuels was under duress with his action. The team was unbalanced, three fast bowlers and one spinner would be a more penetrative attack. However, Sammy had to play and he had to play at the expence of the specialist spinner. The initial announcement was that Sammy would be an interim captain. How long is interim? Sammy is like an idea whose time has come. Its always going to be the same mantra, they put up a good fight.Does anyone expect this W.I team to win any of the test matches? After all they are not playing against Bangladesh, Ireland or Kenya, unless England is known by another name Kenya, Bangladesh etc.

  • Erebus26 on May 21, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    Not playing a specialist spinner came back to haunt Sammy here. Shillingford would've contained and might have even got a wicket or two in England's second innings. In the event Roach burned himself out, Gabriel broke down and Edwards doesn't look fit or in form. Sammy did ok but his medium pace is never going to trouble good batsmen on a surface like we saw at Lords. I like Sammy as a person and I believe he is trying to get Windies playing the right way but he's making some basic errors too.

  • on May 21, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    west indies is lacking big time in the batting department .therfore that put a lot of pressure on the bowler.

  • 5dayFAN on May 21, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    Why is Ravi Rampaul not in the West Indies Test team? Would he not be an excellent support bowler for Roach? He has proven his ability to step up to Test level. Congratualtions to England, I think they will be number 1 for some time

  • landl47 on May 21, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Just a comment on not only Sammy but every almost test captain that I can remember. When a game is in the position that this one was this morning, with England needing only 181 in 90 overs, why did the WI not go on all-out attack the whole time? The draw wasn't going to happen; WI were either going to win or lose, so why not go for the win with everything you have? Lots of attacking fielders and nobody on the boundary saving 4. Make the batsmen play attacking strokes to get runs, not just milk singles at will. Yes, you might lose quicker, but so what? Losing in the 40th over is no worse than losing in the 60th. If things go well, you might win and what a triumph that would be. The only captain I can remember with that mindset was Mike Brearley and he plucked a couple of wins out of almost certain defeats. Defence has its place, but when defence only means delaying a loss, to heck with it, go full-bore for the win.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 21, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    Though they lost a silly wicket at the end that was near perfect batting to my mind-really active in taking singles, converting to two's and punctuating this output with a few well chosen boundaries. Not waiting for the right ball to come along but turning most balls into the right ball to get at least one from was very refreshing. Cook has a very clear head and this shone through till he was out, and with Bell being agressive by nature there was really little doubt after an hour where this match was going though there was tension early on.One side show from this win will disappear-that of the media going after strauss and Bell. They need a new guy to pick on. Perhaps Morgan who lost his place in the winter and has disqualified himself from a return this summer probably. Bairstow has the gig, and Bopara ticks the boxes for loyalty at least. I hope Morgan recovers his senses because one cannot afford to be blase about one's indispensibility around this side with so much in the locker.

  • on May 21, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    3 points.. 1.Seems to me that at this stage WI could another quality fast bowler to support Roach, The off spinner should have played.. 2. A couple of their stronger early order batsmen need to be brought back into the team. 3, A stronger captain is needed One who can study and keep a handle on the game while on the field. Bring back Sars, Nash ..

  • on May 21, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    Abundant leadership qualities? Are you kidding. If anything this test proved his lack of leadership skills. More importantly it underlined the fact that sammy unbalances the team. In his place could have been another strike bowler - Rampaul or Shillingford or another specialist batsman. The latter may have made a difference in the first innings score or the former in the bowling attack, especially in the second innings.

  • Alexei on May 21, 2012, 21:30 GMT

    Rampaul should come in for Edwards and Shillingford for Gabriel

  • noplay on May 21, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    Sammy is incapable of analysing any situation. He waits for things to happen and when they do he is a great captain. I wrote at the beginning of this match a comment which was not carried. "Sammy will be a great captain when Chanderpaul scores runs and when Kemar Roach takes wickets". Everyone sees the truth after the fact and then forgets it before the next match. West Indies cricket has nowhere to go with Sammy. Without Sammy the WI may have been winning matches by now and not living in the recent past.

  • Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on May 21, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    Can't wait for the SA team with - Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis, and Imran Tahir - to come to Eng and show them what real competition means !!!!! :D

  • on May 21, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    West Indies badly needed someone to deliver the knock out punch for them today and the one name that comes to mind in this regard is Sunil Narine. WI are without his services only because they have treated him as an alien who just dropped from the sky. Truth is, Narine has been around in Trinidad cricket for sometime now, but WI selectors lack the imagination to recognise undoubted talent in its embryonic stage.

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  • on May 21, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    West Indies badly needed someone to deliver the knock out punch for them today and the one name that comes to mind in this regard is Sunil Narine. WI are without his services only because they have treated him as an alien who just dropped from the sky. Truth is, Narine has been around in Trinidad cricket for sometime now, but WI selectors lack the imagination to recognise undoubted talent in its embryonic stage.

  • Plz_Dont_Get_Whitewashed on May 21, 2012, 20:39 GMT

    Can't wait for the SA team with - Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, Jacques Kallis, and Imran Tahir - to come to Eng and show them what real competition means !!!!! :D

  • noplay on May 21, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    Sammy is incapable of analysing any situation. He waits for things to happen and when they do he is a great captain. I wrote at the beginning of this match a comment which was not carried. "Sammy will be a great captain when Chanderpaul scores runs and when Kemar Roach takes wickets". Everyone sees the truth after the fact and then forgets it before the next match. West Indies cricket has nowhere to go with Sammy. Without Sammy the WI may have been winning matches by now and not living in the recent past.

  • Alexei on May 21, 2012, 21:30 GMT

    Rampaul should come in for Edwards and Shillingford for Gabriel

  • on May 21, 2012, 21:49 GMT

    Abundant leadership qualities? Are you kidding. If anything this test proved his lack of leadership skills. More importantly it underlined the fact that sammy unbalances the team. In his place could have been another strike bowler - Rampaul or Shillingford or another specialist batsman. The latter may have made a difference in the first innings score or the former in the bowling attack, especially in the second innings.

  • on May 21, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    3 points.. 1.Seems to me that at this stage WI could another quality fast bowler to support Roach, The off spinner should have played.. 2. A couple of their stronger early order batsmen need to be brought back into the team. 3, A stronger captain is needed One who can study and keep a handle on the game while on the field. Bring back Sars, Nash ..

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 21, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    Though they lost a silly wicket at the end that was near perfect batting to my mind-really active in taking singles, converting to two's and punctuating this output with a few well chosen boundaries. Not waiting for the right ball to come along but turning most balls into the right ball to get at least one from was very refreshing. Cook has a very clear head and this shone through till he was out, and with Bell being agressive by nature there was really little doubt after an hour where this match was going though there was tension early on.One side show from this win will disappear-that of the media going after strauss and Bell. They need a new guy to pick on. Perhaps Morgan who lost his place in the winter and has disqualified himself from a return this summer probably. Bairstow has the gig, and Bopara ticks the boxes for loyalty at least. I hope Morgan recovers his senses because one cannot afford to be blase about one's indispensibility around this side with so much in the locker.

  • landl47 on May 21, 2012, 22:19 GMT

    Just a comment on not only Sammy but every almost test captain that I can remember. When a game is in the position that this one was this morning, with England needing only 181 in 90 overs, why did the WI not go on all-out attack the whole time? The draw wasn't going to happen; WI were either going to win or lose, so why not go for the win with everything you have? Lots of attacking fielders and nobody on the boundary saving 4. Make the batsmen play attacking strokes to get runs, not just milk singles at will. Yes, you might lose quicker, but so what? Losing in the 40th over is no worse than losing in the 60th. If things go well, you might win and what a triumph that would be. The only captain I can remember with that mindset was Mike Brearley and he plucked a couple of wins out of almost certain defeats. Defence has its place, but when defence only means delaying a loss, to heck with it, go full-bore for the win.

  • 5dayFAN on May 21, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    Why is Ravi Rampaul not in the West Indies Test team? Would he not be an excellent support bowler for Roach? He has proven his ability to step up to Test level. Congratualtions to England, I think they will be number 1 for some time

  • on May 21, 2012, 23:48 GMT

    west indies is lacking big time in the batting department .therfore that put a lot of pressure on the bowler.