Sublime James Anderson inspires England’s day one comeback
Late wickets turn tables in tourists’ favour after the West Indies start well in Barbados
James Anderson gets West Indies captain Jason Holder out caught and bowled on day one in Barbados. Photograph: Ricardo Mazalan/AP
First Test match, Bridgetown, day one: West Indies 264-8 (89.2 overs), England yet to bat
With the ageless Jimmy Anderson at the helm and the second new ball in his hand, England just managed to retrieve a tricky situation. By snatching three late wickets as the sun headed swiftly towards the Caribbean sea, he dragged England back into a game that had been slipping out of control.
Anderson finished the day with exceptional figures: 24-12-33-4. Leaving aside the wickets column, look at the volume of overs and runs conceded. Amid an uneven display among the bowlers – Ben Stokes was also impressive, while the rest struggled – Joe Root was indebted to his senior citizen as the West Indies slumped from 240 for four to 264 for eight against the second new ball.
After all the conjecture about the pitch, it transpired that it was as docile and well-behaved as a teacher’s pet. Moreover the much-discussed Dukes ball also behaved decorously, offering just moderate swing at the start – oddly the second one was more amenable. This reduced the impact of Sam Curran at the start and enhanced the considerable reputation of Stuart Broad, who was sitting as comfortably as his minor ailments would allow in the pavilion, having been omitted for the third time in four Test matches.
By contrast John Campbell had every reason to feel a little light-headed as the match began. He had just received his first cap from two Bajan legends. Joel Garner, beaming as ever, passed the treasured maroon cap to Sir Garry Sobers, who duly handed it over to Campbell, seconds before he took guard to his first ball from Test cricket, which went for four. What a way to start the day.
Campbell, a stocky left-hander from Jamaica, looked the part against the seamers. He easily outscored Kraigg Brathwaite, which was not difficult since the West Indies’ regular opener took 59 balls to reach double figures. Most of Campbell’s early runs came off Curran with glides to third man and thumps square of the wicket when the bowler pitched short, which was too often.
Test cricket did not seem too tricky for the debutant. After just over an hour’s play Moeen Ali was introduced, whereupon Campbell swept at every ball he received from the off-spinner. In all he faced five deliveries from Moeen. The first four produced nine runs from various parts of Campbell’s bat; the fifth he missed and was lbw, an exasperating end to a promising innings. It is not a good idea to sweep every delivery in Test cricket. This was an exit reminiscent of one or two of those of Clayton Lambert from Guyana, who played some extravagant strokes against Phil Tufnell in the 1990s.
Brathwaite and Shai Hope steadied the innings with few alarms. Brathwaite was transformed by the sight of some off-breaks. The tortoise suddenly twinkled down the crease to hit the ball over the fielders on the leg-side and he struck the first six of the series against Moeen. Against the other bowlers he went back into his shell as he emulated the Misbah-ul-Haq school of batting.
At lunch West Indies were sitting happily on 89 for one. For the next hour they consolidated as Anderson bowled another miserly spell while Adil Rashid offered fewer run-scoring opportunities than usual. Then Stokes intervened. He was prepared to bend his back despite the sluggish surface.
First he dispatched Brathwaite who edged a low catch into the safe hands of Root at second slip. Enter Darren Bravo for the first time in a Test match in over two years, an absence triggered not by a loss of form but because he called the chairman of the board, Dave Cameron, “a big idiot” on Twitter. It was not a memorable return. Bravo, falling over to the off-side, was lbw to a full delivery from Stokes delivered from around the wicket, which drifted from leg to off.
All the while Hope batted beguilingly. A few of his cover drives had the crowd purring as they used to do here – and all around the Caribbean when Carl Hooper was having one of his good days. He reached his half century, only his second in his last 24 Test innings – for all his obvious class he has endured a barren trot against the red ball since his heroics at Headingley. Then Anderson, bowling his first over from the Joel Garner end, found his inside edge and his first wicket of the innings.
Soon after came England’s first blemish in the field and it would prove an expensive one. Shimron Hetmyer, already known as “Hitmyer” over here, is a young batsman from Guyana who commands attention. He captained the Under-19 side that won the World Cup after sanctioning a “Mankad” run-out along the way. He is a left-hander who has a bit of a swagger – how refreshing to see him in his floppy hat against the spinners in the final session – and he likes to hit the ball. On three he drove loosely at Anderson; the ball sped in the air to the right of Jos Buttler at extra cover and the catch was spilled. It was a hard chance but the sort that Buttler would expect to take.
Against the old ball Roston Chase and Hetmyer batted with endearing and decisive freedom. Moeen, bowling with little venom, was hit for two more straight sixes; Hetmyer gave Rashid the same treatment as the pair upped the tempo before the advent of the second new ball. They had added 66 together when Anderson, rock-solid reliable throughout the day, found the outside-edge of Chase’s bat. Shane Dowrich and captain Jason Holder followed in swift succession, while Stokes dealt with Kemar Roach. Anderson had delivered yet again and even the irrepressible Hetmyer was giving him due respect at the end.
West Indies first innings
Batsman Runs Balls 4s 6s
K C Brathwaite c Root b Stokes 40 130 3 1
J D Campbell lbw b Ali 44 53 8 0
S D Hope c Foakes b Anderson 57 148 6 0
D M Bravo lbw b Stokes 2 5 0 0
R L Chase c Root b Anderson 54 118 5 1
S O Hetmyer 56 60 5 2
S O Dowrich c Buttler b Anderson 0 7 00
J O Holder c & b Anderson 5 8 1 0
K A J Roach c Root b Stokes 0 8 00
Extras 5lb 0 1nb 6
Total for 8 264 89.2 overs
Bowler O M R W
J M Anderson 24 12 33 4
S M Curran 12 3 54 0
B A Stokes 19 2 47 3
M M Ali 12 1 59 1
A U Rashid 17 1 56 0
J E Root 5 0 10 0
Fall of wickets
Order Name Runs
1 J D Campbell 53
2 K C Brathwaite 126
3 D M Bravo 128
4 S D Hope 174
5 R L Chase 240
6 S O Dowrich 250
7 J O Holder 261
8 K A J Roach 264
C B Gaffaney, R J Tucker, J J Crowe, H D P K Dharmasena
K C Brathwaite, J D Campbell, S D Hope, D M Bravo, R L Chase, S O Hetmyer, S O Dowrich, J O Holder, K A J Roach, A S Joseph, S T Gabriel
R J Burns, K K Jennings, J M Bairstow, J E Root, B A Stokes, J C Buttler, M M Ali, B T Foakes, S M Curran, A U Rashid, J M Anderson, S Sub