Anderson stars as England take command
West Indies 94 for 3 (Sarwan 41*, Chanderpaul 3*) trail England 569 for 6 dec (Cook 160, Bopara 108) by 475 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
James Anderson gained revenge for his roughing-up at the hands of Fidel Edwards by striking three times with the new ball in a rain-interrupted final session, as England built on their tea-time declaration of 569 for 6 to reduce West Indies to 94 for 3 at the close of the third day at Chester-le-Street. With two days of the contest remaining and few signs of a revival from the visitors, the Wisden Trophy already looks to be heading back to England after just a two-month hiatus.
Having lost the entire second day to rain, England's cricket brimmed with intent from first session to last. Alastair Cook converted his overnight 126 into a career-best 160 before falling five minutes before lunch, while Paul Collingwood pleased his home fans with a steady 60 not out, the majority of which came in a helter-skelter seventh-wicket stand with a liberated Stuart Broad. But England's real impetus was provided by Kevin Pietersen (49 from 57 balls) and Matt Prior (63 from 83), who cashed in on some wayward fare from West Indies' pacemen to power England past the 500 mark and, coincidently, to the highest score ever made in a first-class fixture at the Riverside.
The day, however, belonged to Anderson, and not just for the quality of his bowling. He had come to the crease late on the first day following the dismissal of Ravi Bopara, and for some extraordinary reason, his mere presence was enough to persuade Edwards to produce his most withering spell of the match. There has been bad blood between the two ever since the Caribbean series, and at Lord's last week, Anderson was felled by a vicious bouncer that broke the rim of his helmet. Today Edwards claimed his scalp in the more conventional sense, but not before he had been gifted two lives - one via a bad drop down the leg-side from Denesh Ramdin, the other from a no-ball that was fenced to third slip.
Instead of carrying that intent forward for the rest of the innings, however, Edwards and his team-mates shrunk from view as soon as the recognised batsmen came to the crease, and for the final three hours of the innings, West Indies went through the motions in the field - with the honourable exception of Sulieman Benn, who bowled with flight and variety and deserved better than his eventual figures of 2 for 146 from 43 overs. When the declaration finally did come, Anderson took it upon himself to show how it should be done in these conditions, with an exceptional and full-pitched new-ball spell.
The length was the key for Anderson. He aimed for the blockhole and invited the ball to swing, and duly earned his rewards. First to go was that habitual underachiever Devon Smith, who played all round a stump-splatterer at the start of Anderson's third over and was sent on his way for 7. Next came Chris Gayle, who had been batting with several points to prove after all his pre-match hullabaloo, but was undone by a 45-minute rain break as Anderson's second ball after the resumption jagged back into his pads as he shouldered arms, and umpire Asoka de Silva erroneously adjudged him lbw for 19.
If Gayle had disliked Test cricket before that moment, that decision surely did not improve his mood. Anderson didn't care, however, and three overs later he had his third when Lendl Simmons edged to a diving Andrew Strauss at first slip, having played watchfully and with apparent solidity for his 8 from 18 balls. Ramnaresh Sarwan and the adopted son of Durham, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, prevented a total meltdown with a mature stand of 26 in 11 overs, although they did not find the going entirely easy.
Sarwan was the more fluent of the two, driving with crisp authority and picking up six fours in his 41 not out, but he was given a nasty jolt by the local boy, Graham Onions, who responded to being flicked through midwicket by pinning him on the helmet with a very straight and nasty bouncer. It was a valuable statement of aggression from Onions, who found the going tougher than he had done at Lord's, but showed a willingness to bend his back on an unforgiving surface that will not have gone unnoticed by the selectors.
England's batsmen, by contrast, had a much more comfortable day in the middle. Pietersen came to the crease on the back of his first-ball duck at Lord's, and with Edwards pumped up after his duel with Anderson, but it was the bowler at the other end. Jerome Taylor, who really set him up for his innings. Taylor has been woefully short of form and confidence since his five-wicket heroics in Jamaica three months ago, and Pietersen was gifted three fours in five balls - plus four byes down the leg-side - as he struggled to locate his line, length and optimum pace.
By lunch, Pietersen had added six further fours, all of them from the pace of Edwards, whose spell lasted for the first hour and 55 minutes of the session, and suffered for it. The one man who did stifle Pietersen's attacking intentions was Benn, in a continuation of his strange weakness against left-arm spin. Locating a hint of extravagant turn from an otherwise blameless surface, Benn suckered Pietersen soon after the break when - on 49 and with another milestone in his sights - he swished wildly outside off, and skied a leading edge straight into the hands of backward point.
By this stage Benn had already accounted for Cook, who had progressed with utter anonymity to the highest score of his Test career before chipping a leading edge to a fumbling Gayle at mid-off. At 419 for 5, his work was more than done, however, as England's thoughts moved to closing out the match and reaffirming their new-found momentum.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo