West Indies have finally started to play to their potential. It was the first day for Daren Ganga as the West Indian Captain and things went very well with England restricted to 296 for 7 at stumps on the first day of the third test at Old Trafford. The West Indian bowlers utilized the overcast conditions to good effect and were also helped by a couple of soft dismissals. But their good work is looking to be spoilt by a good rearguard action from Ian Bell and Matthew Prior. Ian Bell is still unfinished on 77.
Michael Vaughan won the toss and decided to take first strike with the motive being to bat the Windies out of the test match with a huge first innings score. However, it was Jerome Taylor providing the early success as he trapped Andrew Strauss in front of the stumps in the 3rd over. Taylor was well supported by the fast and furious Fidel Edwards who is playing in place of Daren Powell. Windies had made two more changes with Chanderpaul returning for Sylvester Joseph and Sarwan’s place taken by all rounder Darren Sammy, the first ever Test Player produced by the tiny St Lucia! Marlon Samuels was warming up on the bench. Although Taylor got a big wicket, it was England riding on top with breezy batting from Cook and Vaughan. At lunch, England got 112 for 1 with Cook going past a fifty.
In the afternoon session, Corey Collymore came up with a beautiful indipper that beat Vaughan’s defence. The England Captain had got 41 by then featuring in a 104-run partnership. The stage was set for the crowd puller Kevin Pietersen but his stay in the middle was cut short to just the six overs thanks to a soft dismissal. Pietersen played a careless pull shot off a surprise short delivery from Collymore that landed straight into the fielder at deep mid wicket. KP was clearly unaware of the field placement then! Medium pacer Darren Sammy put Windies on the top when he had Cook caught low by Bravo at point to leave England under pressure at 132 for 4. Cook got 60, a rare failure from him in not able to convert a fifty into a hundred! It was a well deserved wicket for Sammy as he was constantly slanting the ball across Cook’s off stump to test his patience.
When the chips are down, Paul Collingwood does come out with something useful but this time he couldn’t come to the rescue. Jerome Taylor struck with a skidding inswinger to take this big wicket of Collingwood just a few minutes before Tea. Windies were certainly ruling having England at 167 for 5. During the last session, the West Indian bowling missed a trick or two as they let a partnership grow between Ian Bell and Matthew Prior. The two right handers scored runs at a fair clip, adding up 98 valuable runs for the sixth wicket at nearly four runs per over. Prior was bounced out by Bravo as he ended up with a score of 40 with 7 fours. By close, West Indies did manage to pick up another wicket that of all rounder Liam Plunkett’s which was Fidel Edwards’ first wicket of the day. A pacy inswinger from Fidel Edwards was the last blow of the day. The job is still unfinished for the West Indies with still three wickets left and Ian Bell still there with 77 which has come in 150 balls with 12 fours.