|Ground:||Trent Bridge, Nottingham|
|Scorecard:||England v West Indies|
|Event:||West Indies in England 2012|
DateLine: 28th May 2012
England respond strongly to West Indies in second Test
In association with Investec.
Nottingham – Andrew Strauss put himself emphatically back in top form with a second century in consecutive Investec Tests. His unbeaten 102 in four and a half hours took England to 259 for two at stumps on the second day, trailing West Indies by 111. In their unbroken stand of 136, Kevin Pietersen remained not out with 72 as they piled on the runs in the afternoon’s glorious sunshine with a most entertaining display of batting in the presence of a sell out crowd. They totally dominated the bowling which made little impression on them as they went about scoring freely showing a full range of attractive strokes.
England lost their first wicket in the eighteenth over when Alastair Cook was eventually caught behind for 24 from a thin edge off Ravi Rampaul. He had been fortunate not to have been dismissed earlier on 1 and again on 12 when he was caught behind off no balls with Kemar Roach stepping over the line. The pace bowler continued to have problems with his stepping with several no balls being called by umpire Aleem Dar. Darren Sammy promptly put himself on in place of Roach.
There was little penetration in the bowling with Strauss and Jonathan Trott looking well set. The latter opened his scoring with a boundary at cover off Sammy who was also driven straight by Strauss. They brought up the fifty of the stand from 69 balls with a four hit by Strauss. By tea England were going very well on 123 for one but the fourth ball after the break brought an end to the 80-run stand. Rampaul, in his second spell, had Trott lbw for 35. The batsman asked for a review and Hawk Eye showed the ball hitting leg stump. Rampaul had taken two wickets for 28 in 11.4 overs.
Strauss went on to form another solid partnership with Pietersen who got off the mark with a single and his next scoring shot was a towering six over long-on off the first ball he faced from Shane Shillingford. Strauss who was on 45 at Trott's dismissal, played a delicate late cut to get to 49 and repeated the shot with the same result to reach his 28th Test fifty from 116 balls and forty of those runs had come from boundaries. The England captain went on with his stroke-play hitting two boundaries in an over from Shillingford.
Both batsmen had made the West Indies bowling look quite innocuous and Strauss was soon to 76 having hit three boundaries from the last seven balls that he had faced from Roach. An extraordinary scoop shot over his head took Pietersen to 39 and while his partner entered the nineties with a lovely square cut off Sammy to take their stand to a hundred, Pietersen brought up his 26th Test half century from 78 balls. Strauss finally hit Shillingford to mid-wicket for his 18th boundary to reach his 21st Test hundred off 192 balls.
Earlier, resuming their innings on 304 for six, Marlon Samuels and Sammy continued to build on their partnership. Sammy, 88 overnight got into the nineties with a drive for four to mid-off and in the next over off Stuart Broad he hit boundaries off successive balls to register his maiden Test century from 140 balls in his 26th Test. He had two previous Test fifties. Both boundaries came from mistimed shots, the first was edged over gully and the second went to point, it was intended to be hit straight.
They had added 36 before their record partnership was broken with the first bowling change. Sammy, on 106, hooked a bouncer from Tim Bresnan and was held at deep square leg. It had been a great effort by the West Indies captain and a timely one, having come in to bat when his side was reduced to 136 for six. His stand of 204 from 316 balls was the highest for the seventh wicket by any team in England.
Samuels, who had reached his third Test century the previous day, having scored the second as far back as January 2008, added just ten to his overnight score of 107 before he too fell to Bresnan. His mistimed shot went into the hands of gully and Bresnan had two wickets in 4 balls without conceding a run. With the seventh wicket partnership having been broken, the tail-enders didn't last for long. Roach became Bresnan's third victim when he hung out his bat for an edge to first slip and the bowler had three for 10 in nineteen balls.
The innings was wound up half an hour before lunch with Graeme Swann coming on to bowl and having Shillingford stumped for 16 off his second ball. While Anderson, Broad and Swann finished with two wickets apiece, Bresnan had four for 104 of which he had three for 21 in six fine overs during the morning's play.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)