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
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
people
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits