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February 7, 2009
A hint of Gordon
Sulieman Benn had a fine game. Not content with taking plenty of wickets he then showed he is no pushover with the bat, in a valuable stand with Brendan Nash. One shot, early on the fourth morning, stood out when he effortlessly flicked Stuart Broad over the square-leg boundary for six. The way he played it, on one leg with rapid bat speed, had more than hint of Gordon Greenidge about it and it got the home supporters jumping.
A breakthrough in every sense
Broad needed a haul to settle himself into Test cricket. In his 10 previous Tests he'd never managed more than three wickets in an innings, so it was a key moment for him when he had Benn taken at point off a loose drive. Broad is a work-in-progress, but England are keen to see him develop as swiftly as possible because he brings extra skills to the side with his batting and fielding. With four scalps under his belt he then got his first 'statistical' haul when Nash was caught behind, and his first five-fer was in the bag.
TV pictures, human error
Another day, another controversial moment for the TV umpire. Daryl Harper will be quite happy to vacate his seat after this Test. This time the issue was that there was conclusive evidence that Tony Hill - yes, sadly it was him again - had made an error in giving Daren Powell out, caught down the leg side. Replays showed daylight between bat and ball, yet Harper decided there wasn't enough evidence to overrule Hill. The consensus around the ground was he hadn't hit it and the debate rumbles on.
In, out, in
West Indies wanted early wickets and the tone was set when Alastair Cook pushed lazily at a full ball from Jerome Taylor. Devon Smith, though, at second slip did his best to drop it, parrying the ball to his right before lunging after it and grabbing the second attempt. He did remarkably well to hold himself together and West Indies set off on what would be the first of many celebration sprints.
Jerome Taylor will never forget this day, and he may never bowl a better ball than the late, full outswinger that castled Kevin Pietersen. It was his first delivery after lunch, but there was no thought of a loosener. The ball began on a path to middle and Pietersen shaped to whip it through midwicket. But then, at the last minute, it straightened and beat his closing face to send the off stump cartwheeling back towards the wicketkeeper. It was the type of dismissal that lit up the Caribbean during the 1980s and West Indies were finding a new generation of heroes.
The Barmy Army resorted to singing Monty Python's Always look on the bright side of life, the old staple of many an England collapse, and one moment of small relief came when Andrew Flintoff thumped Sulieman Benn for a boundary in the 28th over. Such had been England's struggle that it was the first four of the innings, however it was laced with the forlornness that had enveloped much of the visitors' effort.
It's been a decent few months for Chris Gayle; a million-dollar winner in the Stanford tournament and now this memorable victory. He enjoyed himself a little too much at Sabina Park five years ago, but this time he is perfectly entitled to let his hair down. "I went into the party stand and got into a bit of trouble," he said. "But I'll be going over there today." After his efforts over the four days of this Test no one will begrudge him.