…to blow it.
But they couldn’t just manage it because as with 11 previous Test matches when they have Tim Bresnan in the side they just win, even if he doesn’t do that much.
England gave every go at losing this one from a commanding position, while all the media types booked out of their digs just a little earlier than they should. But while the West Indies team is probably better than we’ve seen on these shores for a few tours now they’re still not brilliant, as the pitiful number in the win column over the last few years can attest.
They can compete for parts of the game, get on top for some parts of it, but can’t do it for a whole match and when they drop off they’re easy pickings for either runs or wickets. It was all highlighted by who scored the winning runs. Ian Bell. When bottler Bell is there at the end you know the opposition is quite poor. Yet again in both innings he rode on others coattails, First up when Strauss got his ton – while the gathered media types kept screaming they hadn’t talked up a witch-hunt against Strauss the fact they never mentioned that Bell was completely inept of the winter and should have been binned highlights what a media darling he is – then in the second when following the commanding Cook. So they were all back cooing over Bell, who is again bigging himself up against a mediocre side.
During all that there was the usual “it’s the way I play” reckless shot from Kevin Pietersen. Funny because West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel who played in this match, and looked a decent prospect, well it seems slim pickings for the Windies as he’s gone home with a back injury to be replaced by Tino Best. Pietersen’s wild swipe was somewhat reminiscent of Tino back in 2004 at Lord’s when Freddie Flintoff wound him up with a bit of sledging – “Mind the windows, Tino”.
But through all the patronising of the Windies performance in this match if Best is the best they can come up with, it really is a dire situation. A player who hasn’t featured for them since ’09 and has a bowling average knocking on for 50. So now with him and Fidel Edwards they’ll have pair with short-arse syndrome in place of wicket taking ability. Gabriel and Roach look to have something about them, can ruffle batsmen, can take wickets but as shown on the last day of this Test match can also just cough up far too many easy runs in between the good deliveries.
Funny that through the 70s and 80s it was probably a case of wishing the West Indies weren’t so bloody good, now it’s a case of wishing they were a damn site better.