Bowlers battle each other while battering Windies

 

Edgbaston

Stuart Broad looked cross when he learned that he was to be rested, along with James Anderson. When Andrew Strauss won the toss and said England would bowl, the game was turned into an entertaining trial between three pace bowlers determined to make a case for a role against South Africa next month.

The spot belonged to Graham Onions, and when he was injured Steven Finn took his place. He in turn was replaced by Tim Bresnan, in Australia 18 months ago. Since when Bresnan has been on the winning side in 13 matches.

Yesterday, Onions was first on. He has a striking, gaunt face framed by black hair, thick stubble and the look of a Medieval monk. His run is the longest of the three and his raking stride ends in a textbook delivery, all rhythm and elegance.

Bresnan, who opened from the City End, is burly and comes in off a shorter run but bowls at the same pace as Onions. While he does not win the style prize, it is his place the others have their eye on.

Finn is the youngest, the tallest and the fastest of the trio, bowling at more than 87mph – 4mph faster than Onions and Bresnan.

Onions, who had bowled particularly well for Durham against Warwickshire early in the season, looked most likely to make the first strike. In his first four overs he appealed for lbw four times and buried his head in his hands when Ian Bell dropped an easy chance at third slip.

After changing ends, Onions was confident that he had Adrian Barath lbw, celebrating with high fives, before Barath referred the decision and it was overruled. Bell also managed to drop a sitter off Finn, but by then the first blow had been struck by Bresnan, when Barath edged a catch to Graeme Swann, who clung on at second slip.

Lunch had been taken before Onions was finally granted an lbw decision against Barath, and Finn's persistence was rewarded when he caught and bowled Darren Bravo.

With the fall of the next two wickets, the West Indies top order had imploded again. Assad Fudadin was Bresnan's second victim, when Bell managed to hold to a chance. Onions marked his second wicket, Narsingh Deonarine, by turning to the pavilion and raising both arms in a Flintoff-like gesture.

But the rock on which England's bowlers have foundered in two previous Tests was still at the wicket. Marlon Samuels was especially contemptuous of Swann, reaching his 50 with a six and a four. He took the West Indies past 200 before Bresnan speared a ball through his defence and Samuels was gone, lbw.

On yesterday's evidence of the work of the three men – and it was not flimsy – each has something to offer England. Each would be an more than adequate member of the team. Onions is certainly the best looker; Finn may be the most promising, but the most convincing performance was Bresnan's with three of the first six wickets. And he can bat too.

This trial was performed on a ground that was looking respectable yesterday after the rain, thanks to hard labour by groundsman Gary Barwell and his crew, but the climate did seem to affect the attendance – 17,000 tickets were sold but there did not appear to be that many in the ground.

Edgbaston's crowd is the most eccentric and endearing in England, especially on a Test Saturday, fancy dress day. I once watched D'Israeli bowling the Queen Victoria behind the RES Wyatt stand.

Yesterday there were small mobs dressed as surgeons, plump cooks, penguins and Red Indians (you cannot conceivably refer to them as Native Americans in Birmingham). But for years the most familiar sight has been of rows of young men with hairy legs dressed as nuns.

No nuns at the West Indies Test. Oh, where are the nuns of yesteryear?

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all