England in the Caribbean – 24th January 2019

Jimmy Anderson was at a loss for words when I stated that his 4-33 had taken the Anderson-Broad Test wickets tally to 1002 after the first day’s play at the Kensington Oval: “Err, really? Umm, yes…that’s a lot of wickets, isn’t it… Unfortunately Stuey didn’t get the nod to play here but hopefully we’ll get the chance to team up again in the second or third Tests to keep the partnership going.”

Anderson was outstanding – for the umpteenth time. At tea his figures were 14-8-14-0 and by the close, after another 10 overs, he had 4-33.

Not many fast bowlers in the world can bowl 24 overs in a day these days, never mind 37-year-old fast bowlers.

“I walked past a couple of England supporters this morning and one of them said: ‘you know, you don’t look as old as you are’, so I’ll take that. I’m happy with that. Not bad for an old man.”

Worryingly for England, however, were Anderson’s intimations that the West Indies total of 264-8 might not be as under-par as some people might think. “We still have a job to do, we still need two wickets, and then hopefully the heavy roller can flatten things out a bit.”

The West Indies have picked four fast bowlers while England picked two spinners. It would appear, at this early stage, that the home side have read the pitch rather better than England. Stuart Broad’s omission was absurd. If the captain and management have the courage to leave out a man with 433 Test wickets who shows no signs of losing his pace or skill, then they might have found the courage to omit Ben Foakes.  Man-of-the-series in Sri Lanka to 12th man in Barbados. Never mind.

Foakes was rightly chosen as the best glove-man keeping to three spinners on turning pitches in Sri Lanka, but Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler could have done an equally tidy job in this part of the world allowing England to play their best ever new ball bowling partnership.

Still, it was a fine day’s play. Shimron Hetmeyer… eye catching talent! More to come.

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