Tourists forget the importance of first day's play

At his pre-match conference, Brian Lara identified the West Indies' frequent first-day flops as a problem they had to overcome to prevent their domination by England. It was, he noted, "pretty straightforward" what his players needed to understand.

"The first day is very, very important," he said. "We have to start in front, to show the way, and defend that position. We don't want to be coming from behind the eight-ball every time." It was, he noted, to be the main focus at the team meeting.

"Hopefully we're going to see that come to fruition tomorrow," was the parting comment. He was to be disappointed yet again, despite heartening performances by two of his young charges - Sylvester Joseph, on debut, and Dwayne Bravo - and the familiar reliability of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Lara was bold enough to bat on winning the toss, a reverse of the decision that cost him so heavily in the first Test at Lord's. It would have been more understandable had he bowled. The sky was grey, heavy overnight rain delayed the start by an hour, conditions were humid and the pitch carried more of a green tinge than at Lord's. But batting is the West Indies' strength and, even with a new opening batsman in Joseph, it was the only logical decision.

By mid-afternoon, with Joseph batting with the aplomb of a veteran, Ramnaresh Sarwan well entrenched and the partnership worth 75, a hard afternoon lay ahead for England. A matter of 35 minutes demonstrated the difference between a confident, well-balanced team and one so uncertain it finds it difficult to seize the moment.

Suddenly, Sarwan offered a loose drive at Andrew Flintoff and dragged an ordinary ball back into his stumps, as he had done at Edgbaston.

Lara then exposed his leg-stump and Flintoff duly hit it with a full-length delivery. It not only heightened the assertion that the West Indies captain is disconcerted by England's newest Ian Botham, but also that it is a small, penetrable, chink in the left-hander's armour. It triggered the memory of his first-ball dismissal to Craig White at The Oval four years ago.

As the reliable Chanderpaul joined Joseph, who had batted with sound judgement for two and a half hours, it was time for consolidation. But when Joseph fell to a weak shot off the lively Steven Harmison, three wickets had gone for 23 and the initiative was back with England.

Joseph's first innings in Test cricket was promising. The 25-year-old Antiguan had never opened the innings at any level but looked right for the part. He was replaced by the 20-year-old Bravo, another newcomer. After his promising debut at Lord's, his batting has not matched the quality of his medium-paced bowling and he arrived with no form to recommend him. At 108 for 4, a total of 200 loomed.

Chanderpaul's qualities have been long since established, Bravo now set about confirming his. With brave, attacking cricket the two added 147. They were 40 minutes away from the end of an opening day that would have pleased Lara.

But Bravo spoiled his notable effort with a careless stroke, Chanderpaul followed in the probing Hoggard's next over and the West Indies were behind the eight-ball once more.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
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

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain