W Indies vs England
Over 48 Benn 0-W
51ao WICKET! Benn bowls Harmison round his legs and England have collapsed to quite unbelievably abject defeat. Even in the long and distinguished list of England cricketing failures you will have to go a long, long way to find a worse, more embarrassing, more abject surrender than this. Taylor and Benn were magnificent, but England's batting performance has been truly dire. The fact that it happened in the week Pietersen and Flintoff became the highest-paid players in the history of the game only adds to the fun. It's been a long time since we've witnessed scenes like this in the Caribbean. Astonishing. West Indies have won by an innings and 23 runs, and England have managed to be so bad that Harper won't get the headlines despite his very best efforts.
Over 47 Edwards 0-0nb-0-W-0-0-0
51-9 WICKET! The end is nigh now. Flintoff, understandably, goes for the big shot but gets bowled via the pad. Panesar is the final batsman for England, and you can't imagine him hanging around for long. Monty manages to survive the over, thanks chiefly to a couple of wasteful wide ones outside off stump from Edwards. Churlish to criticise a West Indian at the moment, though.
Over 46 Benn 0-0-0-1-W-0
50-8 WICKET! Bad decision on the field, but not one Harper could really overturn. Sidebottom's given out lbw against a spinning ball that would have gone on to miss leg stump. Sidebottom understandably refers it, but Harper can't really say the on-field umpire's got that clearly wrong and the decision is upheld. Of course, that's what Harper so emphatically failed to do with that Sarwan decision at a time when this game was still a contest. Harmison is the new batsman. There's a frank exchange of views between Flintoff and Marshall at the fall of that wicket, and I really don't think the players have quite grasped the concept of the referral system yet. Mind you, with the mixed messages from Harper that's hardly surprising.
Over 45 Powell 0-0-0-0-0-0
49-7 - Sidebottom solidly plays out a maiden over from Powell. Siddy's yet to be dismissed in this match, and he continues to hold up an end admirably if, ultimately, pointlessly. Things really are strange when you can be said to have 'recovered' to 49-7.
Over 44 Benn 0-1-0-1-4-4
49-7 - Flintoff drags England into the 40s with a single to deep point, and Sidebottom adds another single behind square-leg. Flintoff then plays a genuinely top-class stroke, driving inside out through the covers. He follows that with a thump over mid-on, and those back-to-back boundaries mean England avoid the humiliation of their lowest ever score. The dizzy heights of 50 are within reach now.
Over 43 Powell 0-2-0-0-0-0
39-7 - Sidebottom picks up two runs, driving a full-toss through the covers. England tantalisingly close to avoiding their worst ever score now. So brave.
Over 42 Benn 0-0-0-1-2-4
37-7 FOUR! Finally, as this brave eighth-wicket partnership continues, England have their first boundary of the innings. A far more noteworthy achievement at the moment than a wicket, as Flintoff gets four with a late cut off Benn. That takes this partnership up to 11 - the highest of the innings. Flintoff's also made his way to double figures. The Barmy Army are all out of their seats to signal that boundary.
Over 41 Powell 0-0-0-0-0-0
30-7 - Flintoff plays out a maiden over from Powell. Frankly, he might as well just have a slog here. No point just prodding and poking around just waiting to get out.
Over 40 Benn 1-0-0-0-0-0
30-7 - Flintoff gets a single to mid-off to again leave Sidebottom five balls to survive. He does so. Flintoff and Sidebottom have a chat between overs, and they're grinning away at each other. I suspect they can't believe the situation they find themselves in any more than we can watching from afar. It really is a quite astonishing scorecard: no one in double figures, no boundaries. Anyone who backed Strauss for innings top scored, I hope you didn't rip up your betting slip when he was out for nine...
Over 39 Powell 1-0-0-0-0-0
29-7 - Flintoff works to leg for a single, and Sidebottom plays out the over quite solidly in fairness. He plays one very nice off drive. It goes straight to mid-off, but it's about as good as the strokeplay has got in this innings. In fact, now I think about it, I don't think there's been a single boundary.
Over 38 Benn 0-0-0-0-0-0
28-7 - Sidebottom prods and pokes his way through the over from Benn. Quite a long partnership this: England haven't lost a wicket for four whole overs. Brave effort.
Over 37 Powell 0-0-0-0-1-0
28-7 - Blessed relief for England as Taylor is still off the field, so it's Powell back into the attack. Sidebottom takes a crazy single to mid-on and would have been out by yards with a direct hit. Flintoff then tries to take an even sillier one next ball before being sent back by his partner. He dives back to make his ground and just about makes it. I'm not certain exactly where the plot is, but it's safe to say it's no longer in England's possession.
Nick Durst manages to sum up the feelings of a nation without resorting to violence or swears - a superb effort in the circumstances: "This has got to be the most spineless and careless innings in England cricket history.what a disgrace to English sport. They should be ashamed of themselves. Our village team would have put up more of a fight than this." There are hundreds of similar mails currently flooding the inbox. Can't print them all, but I share your pain.
Over 36 Benn 0-0-1-0-0-0
27-7 - A run! A run! Sidebottom gets a single behind point. Flintoff plays out the over, and the umpires call for drinks. Fred'll need something stronger than Red Bull, I fancy.
Taylor leaves the field at the end of that over. Perhaps embarrassed by the ease of his task.
Over 35 Taylor 0-0-0-0-0-0
26-7 - Taylor ends another mesmerising over with a superb yorker that gets under Flintoff's bat and just misses the outside edge. Incredibly, that over contained no wickets.
Over 34 Benn 0-0-0-0-0-W
26-7 WICKET! Running out of words to describe this now. Broad works Benn into the legside, middling the ball into the hands of Xavier Marshall at short-leg. Benn has his second wicket, England lose their seventh with just 26 runs on the board. Twenty-six, by the way, is the lowest ever total in Test cricket (New Zealand in 1955) while England's lowest ever is 45 in 1887. Looks a long way off, doesn't it?
Over 33 Taylor W-0-0-0-W-0
23-6 WICKET! England would dream of 47 all out here. This is astonishing stuff. Collingwood gets an inside edge that just flicks the leg stump and dislodges the bail on its way down to fine-leg. Embarrassingly, Collingwood is scampering runs before Flintoff points out what's happening. England's top five have all gone and unbelievably an innings defeat is looking a good shout here now. WICKET! This is magnificent bowling from Taylor, whose figures really are Harmisonesque now. He's got 5-11 as he bowls a perfectly pitched off-cutter that jags back between Matt Prior's bat and pad and knocks back off stump. A quite brilliant delivery - maybe even better than the one that got Pietersen - and Sabina Park is absolutely jumping. Genuinely unbelievable scenes here. Broad comes to the crease, his five-wicket haul now placed firmly in the shade.
Over 32 Benn 0-0-0-0-0-0
23-4 - Flintoff plays out a maiden over from Benn. England going nowhere fast here.
Over 31 Taylor 0-W-0-0-2-1
23-4 WICKET! Things get even worse for England and even better for Taylor. He pushes one across the England skipper, who gets a fine edge through to Ramdin as he tries to defend. The lack of a referral tells you all you need to know as the skipper trudges off the field. England still trail by 54 with their top four all back in the shed. Flintoff is the new batsman and gets off the mark with two down the ground before keeping the strike with a single to square-leg. At what point do we bring up 47 all out on this ground five years ago? Taylor's figures aren't quite Harmisonesque, but 3-11 is impressive nonetheless.
- 4th - 5th Feb 2009
- A L Hill and R E Koertzen
england BATTING CARD
|Strauss||c Ramdin b Taylor||9|
|Cook||c Smith b Taylor||0|
|Bell||c Ramdin b Benn||4|
|Broad||c Marshall b Benn||0|
|Sidebottom||lbw b Benn||6|
|Total||All out, 33.2 Overs||51|