There is an unstoppable momentum about the great collapses in Test cricket. They become inevitable and like runs on banks can be triggered by the smallest incident: one thing leads to another.
Suddenly, bowlers take on a potent life force they may never have possessed before, the pitch begins to contain demons and there is nothing that can be done. It happened to England in the First Test in Kingston and there is an eerie fascination to see if it will happen again immediately.
Click on the image to the right to launch our guide to the best batting collapses in England v West Indies Test matches.
Collapses do that. But often feast follows famine – witness Bridgetown 1994 where immediately after the Trinidad debacle West Indies lost there for the first time in 59 years. England’s obliging fold in Kingston joins a spectacular elite. There was no rhyme or reason for it, it could not be seen coming but when it started there was quite obviously no stopping it.
Between them, England and the West Indies have fashioned some exemplary batting collapses in recent times. Kingston in 2009 may not be followed quickly but it will not be long.