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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
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

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz