Chanderpaul and Bravo dig in

Shivnarine Chanderpaul battling away, defying the England bowlers has been a familiar sight in this series, and today was no different.

England’s bowlers, in helpful conditions, reduced West Indies to 34-3 as Chanderpaul arrived. Boosted by the return of Matthew Hoggard, They found plentiful swing in humid, overcast conditions, once the play finally got underway at 2pm. When it did though, Sidebottom made up for lost time, dismissed a luckless Daren Ganga with the match’s first ball. Finding some swing into the acting captain, the ball was flicked straight at short leg Alistair Cook, who held a sharp reflex catch.

Chris Gayle then played a somewhat typical innings, a few lazy boundaries, but a poor dismissal attempting one too many, this time at the hands off Hoggard. Soon Sidebottom added a second, Devon Smith shouldering arms to one which didn’t swing, and having his off stump knocked back. The English opening pair, both having honed the art of swing bowling at Headingley, had put the ball in the right place and found plenty of swing, which had just been too much for an inexperienced West Indian top order.

It was not too much though, for their most experienced campaigner. Coming in at 34-3, he dug in, and was much more capable against the moving ball than those who came before him. He did play and miss a few times, and Ian Bell did put down a very difficult chance at third slip, but Chanderpaul showed us once again that he is easily the best player in this line up. He got in behind anything on the stumps, and when the inevitable short and wide offerings came, he did put them away. While Chanderpaul applied himself and dug in, Runako Morton threw his wicket away, a loose drive looped to cover.

This brought in Dwayne Bravo, who gave Chanderpaul more than competent support. He too was able to keep his concentration, suppressing his natural attacking instincts, as he seemed content to nudge singles, only attacking when the bowlers dropped too short. Together, he added 77 with Chanderpaul, to take West Indies to 132-4, with a talented batsman in Marlon Samuels still to come, Darren Sammy was left out due to a groin strain.

West Indies 132-4
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 44*, Dwayne Bravo 43*
Ryan Sidebottom 2-34

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