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Thursday, May 14, 2009

England v West Indies, 2nd npower Test,1st day

England v West Indies, 2nd npower Test, Chester-le-Street, 1st day

Gayle bags Strauss to settle war of words

May 14, 2009

England 85 for 1 (Cook 39*, Bopara 9*) v West Indies

Andrew Strauss and Chris Gayle shake hands at the toss on the first morning at Chester-le-Street, England v West Indies, 2nd Test, Chester-le-Street, May 14, 2009
Chris Gayle and Andrew Strauss shake hands at the toss. But it was Gayle who enjoyed the last laugh

After his pre-match war of words with Andrew Strauss, Chris Gayle enjoyed a moment to savour on the first morning at Chester-le-Street, as he brought himself on to bowl with half-an-hour to go until lunch, and emerged with the scalp of none other than the England captain, strangled down the leg-side for 26 to end an unflustered stand of 69 with Alastair Cook.

By lunch, England had overcome that minor setback to move along to 85 for 1, with Cook reaching the break on 39 not out and Ravi Bopara unbeaten on 9. But Gayle's intercession in his second over, one ball after being carved for four past point, was the undoubted highlight of the session. Spearing down his off-darts on another sluggish surface, he tempted Strauss into a full-blooded slog-sweep, and a thin deflection off the gloves ended up in the gloves of Denesh Ramdin.

Up until that point, England's progress had been serene, going on soporific. After winning a useful toss under improbably clear-blue skies, Cook and Strauss progressed at barely three runs an over as West Indies' pacemen plugged away outside off stump with barely a trace of seam, swing or generous bounce. Strauss swatted a rare short ball from Fidel Edwards in front of square for four.

At the other end, Cook enjoyed a measure of good fortune when he inside-edged Lionel Baker past his off stump and away to the boundary, and he later fenced Gayle just short of Devon Smith at slip. But in between whiles his driving was shown to be in fine order, as he punched four fours in the arc from long-on to extra cover, and picked off a well-timed steer through the vacant third man.

Bopara, fresh from his 143 in the first Test at Lord's, bedded in comfortably for half-an-hour before the break. He had a moment of alarm in the final over before lunch when he almost yorked himself while coming forward to Sulieman Benn, whom he had just carved off the back foot for his first boundary of the morning.

England 1 Andrew Strauss (capt), 2 Alastair Cook, 3 Ravi Bopara, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Paul Collingwood, 6 Matt Prior (wk), 7 Stuart Broad, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Graham Onions

West Indies 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Devon Smith, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Lendl Simmons, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Brendan Nash, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Fidel Edwards, 11 Lionel Bake