England v West Indies, 2nd ODI, The Oval June 19, 2012

Cook ton brightens sombre day

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the 2nd ODI at The Oval

Stat of the day
Alastair Cook's century - his fifth in ODIs - meant that an England opener (one of Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen or Cook) had scored a century in each of their last six ODIs. No team has ever achieved that before. It is surely no coincidence that England have won all six games.

Shot of the day
There were a few contenders. Ian Bell's back foot drive for four off Tino Best - a desperately difficult stroke that Bell managed to make look not just easy but beautiful - took some beating, but for sheer awe-inspiring power, it has to be the fourth of Chris Gayle's five sixes. One of three sixes he smashed in poor Tim Bresnan's first over, it was pulled so far that, had it not hit the advertising hoarding on the roof of the Bedser Stand - a five-storey building - it would surely have landed in the traffic outside the ground. It was, by any standards, monstrously massive.

Wicket of the day
The dismissal of Gayle, struck on the pad by one from Graeme Swann that drifted into the batsman, was probably the defining moment of this match. Umpire Tony Hill took a long time to give the lbw decision and Gayle immediately called for a review, but replays showed that the ball had just, just, hit the pad before the bat. It says something for Gayle's entertainment value that many members of the crowd - England supporters as much as West Indies - booed the decision and wanted Gayle's innings to continue. Perhaps that should not be surprising: at the time he was dismissed, Gayle had contributed 53 of the 63 runs scored. By the time the 21st over ended, West Indies' other batsman had scored just 26 runs between them.

Let-off of the day
Kieron Pollard had scored 28 when he was lured down the pitch by Graeme Swann and beaten on the outside edge by a quicker delivery. What should have been a simple stumping was spurned by Craig Kieswetter, however, with the ball bouncing out of his iron-like hands. The let-off allowed Pollard to extend his own innings by 13 runs and his partnership with Dwayne Bravo by 46. Kieswetter produced some decent moments here - one diving leg side take off Steven Finn and the calm last-over run-out of Sunil Narine spring to mind - but errors like this will sustain the pressure upon him. England got away with it on this occasion, but in the biggest games, against the best sides, such errors can make the difference between success and failure.

Fielding of the day
Alastair Cook might not be the most naturally talented fielder in the England side, but he has worked hard and become a reliable performer in a number of positions. Here he ran-out Lendl Simmons, attempting a sharp single, with a direct hit from mid-off that said as much for his cool head as it did the skills instilled in this England team by their fielding coach, Richard Halsall. In terms of the West Indies innings, though, Simmons' dismissal was a cricketing version of euthanasia. Simmons, whose 12 runs occupied 50 deliveries and lasted for more than 20 overs, was proceeding with the urgency of an asthmatic tortoise delivering anvils. Cook's merciful throw was like putting a sick cat out of its misery.

Moment of the day
It would be silly to pretend this was just another ODI. With the Oval's flags at half-mast, the players and umpires wearing black armbands, a book of condolence opened at the ground and some spectators moved to tears as they stopped to reflect at a makeshift tribute to Tom Maynard just outside, grief hung heavy in the air throughout. The most obvious manifestation of that grief came with the minute's silence just before the start of the game. Impeccably observed, it eloquently demonstrated the depths of respect, sympathy, shock and sadness that have united cricket in the past day or two. The game soon began and, on the surface anyway, followed along vaguely recognisable patterns. But the sadness remained and pervaded this match like smoke used to cling to the walls of English pubs.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 20, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    I think occasions like this can serve as a way of bringing people together and giving them a chance to pay their respects after a sad event such as happened to Tom Maynard. It's a valid perspective to prefer that the game had not gone ahead, but there's also a case for suggesting that it was a good thing that it did.

  • Tlotoxl on June 19, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    Simmons innings mustt have been one of the slowest in modern history!

  • on June 19, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    Sat Matharu, from what I've heard about Tom Maynard, it is a good thing this match went ahead, he loved the game of cricket, and what better tribute to such a promising young batsman than to play the game that he loved so dearly.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 19, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    Ridiculous team-batting-order of the day: West Indies! The team selection was fine; I'd even go as far to say that on paper, their team looks strong. But what on Earth made West Indies open with Lendl Simmons instead of D. Smith? Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, Rampaul who can bat was last man in behind Narine and Best. Thrilled that England are still winning, but so disappointed in the lack of fight from the W'Indies. Now then, where is Randy to explain this "brittle batting order" and "lacklustre bowling" of England!?

  • on June 19, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    The match should not have gone ahead so soon after Tom Maynard's tragic death

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 20, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    I think occasions like this can serve as a way of bringing people together and giving them a chance to pay their respects after a sad event such as happened to Tom Maynard. It's a valid perspective to prefer that the game had not gone ahead, but there's also a case for suggesting that it was a good thing that it did.

  • Tlotoxl on June 19, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    Simmons innings mustt have been one of the slowest in modern history!

  • on June 19, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    Sat Matharu, from what I've heard about Tom Maynard, it is a good thing this match went ahead, he loved the game of cricket, and what better tribute to such a promising young batsman than to play the game that he loved so dearly.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 19, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    Ridiculous team-batting-order of the day: West Indies! The team selection was fine; I'd even go as far to say that on paper, their team looks strong. But what on Earth made West Indies open with Lendl Simmons instead of D. Smith? Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, Rampaul who can bat was last man in behind Narine and Best. Thrilled that England are still winning, but so disappointed in the lack of fight from the W'Indies. Now then, where is Randy to explain this "brittle batting order" and "lacklustre bowling" of England!?

  • on June 19, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    The match should not have gone ahead so soon after Tom Maynard's tragic death

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on June 19, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    The match should not have gone ahead so soon after Tom Maynard's tragic death

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on June 19, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    Ridiculous team-batting-order of the day: West Indies! The team selection was fine; I'd even go as far to say that on paper, their team looks strong. But what on Earth made West Indies open with Lendl Simmons instead of D. Smith? Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, Rampaul who can bat was last man in behind Narine and Best. Thrilled that England are still winning, but so disappointed in the lack of fight from the W'Indies. Now then, where is Randy to explain this "brittle batting order" and "lacklustre bowling" of England!?

  • on June 19, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    Sat Matharu, from what I've heard about Tom Maynard, it is a good thing this match went ahead, he loved the game of cricket, and what better tribute to such a promising young batsman than to play the game that he loved so dearly.

  • Tlotoxl on June 19, 2012, 21:53 GMT

    Simmons innings mustt have been one of the slowest in modern history!

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 20, 2012, 9:44 GMT

    I think occasions like this can serve as a way of bringing people together and giving them a chance to pay their respects after a sad event such as happened to Tom Maynard. It's a valid perspective to prefer that the game had not gone ahead, but there's also a case for suggesting that it was a good thing that it did.