English onslaught destroys WI

There are days when nothing goes right for you. Everyone’s had one. You know, days when it doesn’t rain – it poors by the gallon, blown into your face by a gale force wind, and there seems nowhere you can turn. The West Indies Test team are most likely having one of those days. As if losing your captain and watching Vaughan and Pietersen ton up yesterday wasn’t bad enough, the tourists had to come back this morning and play fetch as Pietersen added another hundred to his overnight score, being being bowled out and a bit to compile their misery.

Lacking the backbone of their batting for so many years, Lara retired, Chanderpaul injured, Sarwan injured during yesterday’s play, the Windies were blown away by left arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom, making a triumphant returns to international cricket, six years after his only other Test, and Headingley, his home ground between 1997 and 2003.

Sidebottom claimed the first two wickets of the West Indian first innings, then the first two as the West Indies followed on, with two in between. The West Indies were left at 22-2 at stumps, a full 402 runs behind England.

The earlier damage was done by Kevin Pietersen, though. Resuming on 130, Pietersen cut his usual swashbuckling figure, bursting past his bogey number of 158 for the first time in Test cricket and smearing the West Indian bowlers all around Leeds on his way to 226.

Pietersen started the day as he was to continue it. The second ball of the days was pushed into the offside for two and the third, sliding down the legside, was despatched efficiently to the boundary with a flick of Pietersen’s legs. Pietersen’s partner, wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior, looked ominous also, sweetly cover driving his first ball of the morning and picking up 3.

Though it was due, Daren Ganga, stand-in captain for the injured Sarwan, opted not to take the new ball for most of the first hour. By the time it was taken, Pietersen and Prior were well set and well one their way to a big partnership. Both players looked comfortable and took the attack to the bowlers, with the scoring throughout the morning session was almost 5 an over. partnership reached 160 and England were pressing for 500 before Powell produced a beauty to dismiss Prior for 75 just before lunch. Nigh on the perfect delivery, the ball pitched, straightened and beat Prior before clipping the topof off stump.

Liam Plunkett joined Pietersen in the middle for some fun, grabbing a Test career best 44* off 48 before Michael Vaughan called an end to the innings. The England captain declared upon Pietersen’s dismissal, caught by Taylor off Bravo’s bowling.

In the face of the hosts total of 570, the West Indies batting collapsed. A jubilant Sidebottom claimed his first Test wicket, trapping Gayle (11) lbw with a straight one. Ganga soon followed for 5, also lbw to Sidebottom, who impressed everyone with his accurate and controlled swing bowling. This was a welcome contrast to the wayward Harmison and the young Plunkett, who also has the ability to spray it about a bit.

Harmison’s pace was too much for the West Indian batsmen, though. Sylvester Joseph edged to Andrew Strauss and first slip, then Morton was given out caught behind to the 6’7″ paceman, despite not getting any bat to the ball. In between Plunkett claimed his first wicket, that of top-scorer Devon Smith for 26, and the tourists were reeling at 82-5.

Allrounder Dwayne Bravo offered resistance with 23, but was bowled around his legs by Sidebottom, who claimed the last two wickets to end the West Indian innings for 149. Jermaine Lawson was left unbeaten on 23, having scored at a run a ball.

Perhaps Lawson should have opened the batting when Vaughan enforced the follow on. Daren Ganga fared no better than in the first innings, lasting less than 7 overs before being trapped lbw by Sidebottom. Daren Powell was sent in as a nightwatchman, but failed to score before also getting out to Sidebottom to complete the Yorkshireman’s dream day. Powell showed why he isn’t in the west Indies side as a batsman, failing to offer a shot to an inswinging delivery.

It doesn’t look like it can get any worse for the West Indies, yet the best they can hope for is an act of God with the weather over the next three days. They’ll be glad to get out of Leeds.

England 570-7 declared
Kevin Pietersen 226, Michael Vaughan 103, Matt Prior 75
Cory Collymore 2-110, Daren Powell 2-153

West Indies 149
Devon Smith 26, Dwayne Bravo 23, Jermaine Lawson 23*
Ryan Sidebottom 4-42, Liam Plunkett 3-35

West Indies 22-2
Darren Ganga 11, Chris Gayle 9*
Ryan Sidebottom 2-12

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