England v West Indies, 1st npower Test, Lord's, 2nd day

Onions and Swann humble West Indies

The Report by Andrew McGlashan

May 7, 2009

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West Indies 152 (Smith 46, Onions 5-38) and 39 for 2 (Smith 26*, Simmons 7*) trail England 377 (Bopara 143, Swann 63*, Edwards 6-92) by 186 runs
Scorecard


Graham Onions marked his Test debut with three wickets in an over, England v West Indies, 1st Test, Lord's, May 7, 2009
Graham Onions enjoyed a memorable debut as he claimed 5 for 38 © AFP
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The sweat and toil of Barbados and Trinidad felt a world away as England made home advantage count at Lord's. They bundled out West Indies for 152 and still had time to remove two more in the follow-on as the visitors hurtled towards a heavy defeat. Graham Onions announced himself in Test cricket with 5 for 38 - including three wickets in an over - and Graeme Swann showed his all-round credentials with three key scalps to follow his career-best 63 that lifted England to 377.

Onions had looked understandably nervous at the start of his spell - following a first ball duck to end England's innings - and his first four overs cost 22 as he dropped short. However, his fortunes changed when he removed Lendl Simmons with one that climbed off a length and took the shoulder of the bat to first slip. Two balls later he had Jerome Taylor gloving a pull down the leg side and he ended the over with Sulieman Benn - who had barely had time to get padded up as the collapse unfolded - well held at third slip by Swann. His fourth followed when he trapped Denesh Ramdin on the crease and the magical fifth when he removed Lionel Baker to end the innings.

Onions, and England, will have much sterner Tests this season, but these early contests are all about producing efficient performances that can lay the ground work for what follows. They couldn't really have asked for much more as Swann and Onions instigated a collapse of eight for 53 either side of tea before James Anderson showed his mastery of swing. He extracted the key scalps of Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan, both of whom were dismissed twice in the space of three hours, as Gayle fended a catch to third slip and Sarwan was undone by a fine inswinger that had him tangled in knots.

What was noticeable was how much more life England's trio of quicks (Tim Bresnan only bowled one late over so can't be included just yet) managed to get out of the surface. Matt Prior was regularly taking the ball above his head and batsmen were being struck on the glove and body. The speed-gun readings said Anderson, Onions and Stuart Broad all hit 90mph which, if accurate and sustainable, gives the attack a potent edge.

Broad made the early breakthroughs in the first innings after a surprising start where Swann had been handed the new ball before normality returned after the two-over experiment. Following a brisk opening stand of 46, Broad benefited from Gayle's lack of footwork the ball cannoned off inside edge into the stumps, and four overs later gained revenge against Sarwan for the tough winter's work when a toe-end carried through to Prior.

However, the spell that turned the day strongly in England's favour came from Swann when he returned at a more conventional time in the innings. His first ball back crept through the defence of Devon Smith who had peppered the boundary during an aggressive 46 before falling in a manner that became common in West Indies. This was the fourth time he had fallen to Swann and again it was difficult to see how he'd managed to miss the ball, although it was a good delivery from Swann.

Next ball it got even better when Swann drew Shivnarine Chanderpaul into a drive and the outside edge went to Paul Collingwood at slip. With that West Indies' big three were gone and England had an opening. Shortly after tea Brendan Nash, who became equally troublesome for England during the winter, fell in very similar style when Collingwood plucked out another smart catch at slip as Swann continued to trouble the left handers.

The collapse was reminiscent of the sort that West Indies used to specialise in and it generated an unstoppable momentum as Onions ripped through the lower order. However, it didn't come as a total surprise because the tourists had been lacklustre from the very start of play when England were able to grasp the advantage through Swann's positive strokeplay. The only negative aspect of England's play all day was a curious decision to walk off for bad light after 25 minutes play with the runs flowing.

Swann and Ravi Bopara carried their stand to 93 in 21 overs as they took advantage of West Indies' lethargy as Swann reached fifty with a flat, pulled six off Baker. Bopara's elegant innings was eventually ended on 143 when he drove to extra cover and Edwards finally earned his deserved reward by wrapping up the innings in two balls and get his place on the honours board. But that was about the only moment worth celebrating for the visitors as they were soon made to look a distant second best. Even though the Lord's pitch has a history of flattening out, anyone with tickets for Saturday would be wise to start looking at alternative entertainment.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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