Captains play down 'feisty' exchanges
West Indies drew level with England in the three-match NatWest Series thanks to a comprehensive 61-run victory at Edgbaston, but the encounter was marred by some frayed tempers out in the middle. James Anderson at one point barged into the non-striker Runako Morton, who gesticulated with his bat in response, while Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell also became involved in some testy exchanges during England's run-chase.
However England's new captain, Paul Collingwood, played down the confrontations afterwards, saying that he was happy for his players to display their "feisty" side during matches. "To be perfectly honest, I don't mind the boys getting stuck if they need to get stuck in," he said. "I don't mind that at all. That's cricket. Simple as that."
Chris Gayle, West Indies' victorious captain, also shrugged off the incidents, insisting there was nothing personal at stake. "These guys have been playing cricket against each other for quite some time now," he said. "We were just trying to get on top of them as early as possible and they did the same thing, so it was a little bit of give-and-take. I hope no-one takes it too seriously."
West Indies succeeded in getting on top of England, thanks once again to their stand-out batsman of the tour, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who defied an ankle ligament injury to record a superbly paced 116 not out. "He has been very hard to dislodge all the way through this trip to England," said Collingwood. "He seems to have liked English conditions. You've got to give him a lot of credit."
Chanderpaul has now amassed 656 runs in eight international innings this summer, and only once has he been dismissed for less than a half-century - in the first Twenty20 at The Oval, where he 41 from 26 balls. "We have theories as to how we might get him out," said Collingwood. "But they don't always work. We just need a little bit of luck sometimes as well.
"He knows his areas very well," added Collingwood. "He reads the game very well so he knows when to go and when to play himself in and he is looking very calm at the crease at the moment. Hopefully, come Saturday, which is a very big game for us, we can have that little bit of luck or a magic ball which gets him out early."
Come the series showdown at Trent Bridge, England are likely to have learned their lessons from this defeat, and restored their main spin-bowling weapon, Monty Panesar, to the starting line-up. "We have to find the right balance," said Collingwood. "I've always said Monty is going to be a big one-day player for us, certainly in the future. But we are all still learning and experimenting and finding out what are the best players in these certain conditions and situations."