Glorious summer ends with a whimper as England collapse


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The Independent Online

Stephen Brenkley

That would seem to be that. Unless the authorities have hitherto clandestine plans for a couple of games in Chester-le-Street later this week, which is not entirely beyond the bounds of possibility, the season ended at 9.15pm last night.

The second of the hurriedly arranged Twenty20 matches against West Indies was a grievous disappointment, which England unfeasibly lost.

Having lost no wickets in chasing down 125 in the first match on Friday, they lost all ten last night in 16.4 overs in failing to pursue a wretched total of 113. When Jade Dernbach became the fourth run-out victim of the innings, striving to make his ground for a second run, West Indies had won by 25 runs.

By any logical reckoning, it was not the sort of match for which Twenty20 was designed. West Indies made 113 for five, never coming to terms with the tired, turning pitch. Between innings it was easy to deride them, an opinion which began to subside when England were 26 for three after the six overs of the powerplay, was discredited when they were 60 for seven at the end of the 12th and lost all merit when they were finally all out for 88 in the 17th.

West Indies were, it seemed, hopeless and out of their depth. Virtually strokeless at the start of their innings, they never gained any momentum, though Marlon Samuels' 35 from 35 balls was ultimately crucial.

It did not seem important then that Graeme Swann (left), England's captain, opted to bowl only two of his four overs although the ball was turning appreciably and Scott Borthwick, the debutant leg spinner from Durham bowled with real gusto.

Perhaps it was the not the culmination that England deserved, but equally they know this sort of thing can happen with a young team. Ben Stokes, like Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales before him, showed some of the right stuff.

This season may be over, but the winter one starts next week when England embark for India to play another six limited-overs matches. Their squad will probably be named tomorrow. Youth may dominate it.