Testlings shepherd England to victory after Anderson Test best

Done. Dusted. No more Test cricket on these shores until 2018. The inevitable England victory came at 4.15.

Earlier, when Jimmy Anderson removed the stubborn Shai Hope shortly after lunch, he achieved a five-for of five-fors at Lord’s. The milestones keep on coming. Bishoo’s was an innings of two halves: 50% handsome defence, 50% being comprehensively castled. 155/8 and Jimmy had six. Could he yet achieve his best-ever figures?

After a short pause during which West Indies wheezed past the hundred lead, Britsa had Jason Holder caught by his old mucker The Burnley Express at wide mid-on. An horrific hoick. An absolute dolly.

Shannon Gabriel was given out first ball but reprieved on review – yet another umpiring error, the edge behind shown to be merely a figment of Erasmus’s imagination.

Shrift was short for the men from the Caribbean, though. With the first ball of the next over, Jimmy easily fired one through Kemar Roach’s defence. And that was that. England’s top wicket taker did indeed have his Test best analysis by a solitary run: 7/42, he finished with. What an absolute hero. How we’ll miss him when he’s gone.

177 all out and England needed 107 to win match and series.

As omens go, Gabriel’s first ball – a piece of leg-side filth that careened away for four byes – was right up there with Steve Harmison’s Brisbane opener from 2006.

Mark Stoneman and Alastair Cook started positively, stroking and driving their way to 27 off the first four overs. Shortly thereafter, Jason Holder pulled off a captaincy master stroke (albeit his hand might’ve been forced by his wayward opening bowlers) by introducing Devendra Bishoo. Bless You struck with his very first ball, a regulation leg-break that hit Cook plumb in front.

So Tom Westley arrived at the crease in something of a no-win situation. Knock the runs off and everyone shrugs, get out and the clamour for your dropping intensifies. Neither he nor Stoneman was inhibited, though. Both right- and left-hander continued to play shots and trotted merrily along at a good old clip. Stoneman did have a life on 22 when he pulled Holder to midwicket and the low chance was grassed.

England’s two Test fledglings (‘Testlings’?) took their partnership past 50 when Westley pleasantly drove Lincolnshire Village Of The Year Roston Chase to the extra cover boundary.

There was just time for a late spurt fom the Ian Bell-alike – and he’ll hope it’s a crucial spurt that lands him a place on the Ashes plane.

England won by 9 wickets in about two and a half days of playing time. Stoneman and Westley were undefeated on 40 and 44 respectively. Stokes or Anderson will be Man Of The Match (Stokes by a nose for my money). A successful start for new England skipper Joe Root, then, a 2-1 series victory to go alongside the 3-1 against South Africa.

Catch you soon for some one-day fun, everyone.

Poundland and the slow rollercoaster

Amid conjecture from Anthony that Poundland might be a sex shop, the last Test of the summer crawled towards its inevitable conclusion this morning. Like a slow rollercoaster heading asymptotically to its final tunnel. Pick the metaphorical bones out of that.

West Indies resumed on 93-3 and hadn’t added to that overnight total when quintuple wicket centurion Jimmy Anderson snared Roston Chase, nibbling one through to Yogi Bairstow. Jermaine Blackwood again looked like he was there for a good rather than a long time. He yahoo-ed one from Anderson and was dropped by Britsa Broad at mid-off. Not long after, he had another life, this time justified, when he successfully reviewed an LBW decision from umpire Erasmus, Broad the bowler to be denied this time.

It wasn’t long, however, before Blackwood was back in the hutch, no match for another Anderson away-swinger, Bairstow accepting another simple catch. Dowrich was put down by Broad (again) before he’d scored but again failed to capitalise, shanking one horribly to the same fielder at mid-on, this time off ToRoJo. 123-6.

Shai Hope, playing the lonest of lone hands, moved to his half-century fifteen minutes before the interval. Reminiscent of Shiv Chanderpaul in the previous generation, a single tough nut in a batting line-up full of crumbly cashews.

153-6 at lunch, then. Hope unbowed on 60, his captain Jason Holder keeping him company on 8.

Like all good rollercoasters, and despite the churning stomach, you don’t really want it to end. Do you?

Broadcast Schedule

IPL 2024
IPL 2024 Q1 KKR v SRH
21st May
Start time: 3:00 pm BST
England v Pakistan 2024 T20 series
1st T20, ENG v PAK, Headingley
22nd May
Start time: 6:30 pm BST