West Indies' unbeaten record at Trent Bridge under threat


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The Independent Online

While little else favours West Indies in the second Test tomorrow, history is solidly in their camp. The tourists have never lost a first-class match at Trent Bridge.

In 22 matches going back to 1906, neither England nor Nottinghamshire have prevailed. Of the eight Tests, West Indies have won four and drawn four and of the 14 tour matches, they have won four and drawn 10. It is a remarkable run unmatched by any other touring team at any other venue in England.

The record has never been under such threat as it is now. Having won a difficult first Test by five wickets, England will be as keen to stop the sequence as West Indies are to preserve it. The pitch promises to be much quicker than that at Lord's, if far from lightning fast, which should favour England's perennially accurate attack.

It is 17 years since West Indies last played a Test match at Trent Bridge and that may have helped with ticket sales. Both the first two days are expected to be sell-outs, although a few tickets remain for tomorrow, and Nottinghamshire are confident that West Indies' stalwart performance at Lord's will help to push Sunday sales up to 17,000 capacity. The weather forecast for the first three days is for the sun to shine, which will negate the need for floodlights.

Although floodlights in English cricket are not to everyone's liking, it is pretty clear that the match at Lord's would not have been completed without them. On all five days the lights were in use and on the fourth day, Sunday, they were largely responsible for allowing play.

Alastair Cook, England's opening batsman and vice-captain, said yesterday: "The fourth day was a prime example of why lights should be used in Test cricket. There are occasions when it works to your disadvantage, like when it was pretty dark in the last 15 to 20 minutes when we had to go and face it. But for the crowd and the entertainment we've got to try and get as much play as we can."

England are expected to censure Kevin Pietersen shortly about his intemperate tweet at Lord's about the commentating ability of Nick Knight of Sky. But the England and Wales Cricket Board, while continuing to be apprehensive about Twitter, are anxious not to be seen to issue a reprimand simply because the host broadcaster may be upset, or to stop a player's right to express an opinion.