West Indies v England - as it happened
Lawrence will be here from around 1.30pm or so.
Well hello etc. And how are we all today? It's all about Ram and Shiv, isn't it? Sarwan's on 40 as I write this, and already has 347 runs to his name in this series at an average of 115. In fact, although West Indies lead the series, their only other batsman with an average of over 34 is Chris Gayle. England must tell themselves that if they can get Sarwan for, say, less than 80, and then prevent Chanderpaul from sticking himself to the crease with super glue, they can square the series. It's not going to be easy though: the pitch is offering a bit of bounce but not much else, and this is a relatively inexperienced bowling attack.
Odd moment earlier I was walking from Kings Cross to Guardian Towers and got stuck behind this shambling, slightly overweight bloke with greying curly hair. I couldn't see his face, but thought, hmm, that looks like the gait, girth and barnet of TV funnyman Rory McGrath. Then I overtook him, crossed the street, glanced subtly back and... blow me if it wasn't Rory McGrath! I reckon he was off to the Emirates. Anyone else spotted a D-list celeb this morning?
If this game ends in a draw England will look back on their collapse in Jamaica with increased irritation. It's not as if West Indies were bossing that game until England lost two before lunch on the fourth day at Sabina Park, since when West Indies have simply been hanging on. It's been an odd series, really. And an intriguing one.
It's a big, big day for this England attack. There's no Flintoff to tie things up, no Harmison to (in theory) get some bounce, no Monty to turn the ball into the left-handers. Come to that, there's no Wilfred Rhodes, no Harold Larwood, no Bob Willis and no Simon Jones, but you take my point. Beefy is pointing to a few cracks for the bowlers to play with, but then his pitch reports frequently redefine optimism...
There's another Test match on today and you'll be surprised to know Gary Naylor's been watching it. "Siddle vs Steyn was excellent cricket this morning," he says. "The Merv Hughes-alike Aussie went round the wicket to bowl bouncers at the mad-staring Saffer. To Steyn's credit, he stood up to most of it, but he was never going to make 76 again. Broad should try that line to the Windies' tail - it's not exactly like Maco or Mikey doing it, but it's worth a go on this pitch."
Email! "I've spotted a couple of e-g list celebs before," says Jonny Sultoon, "but my old school friend's best ever effort, which is pretty miserable, is bumping into Neil Buchanan from Art Attack in the local off licence. You talk of big names..." That's cheating: I said this morning.
"Oh," says Jonny Sultoon. "And since we were discussing Bell's plummet towards the Warks 3rd XI yesterday, I feel it apt to look at contrasting careers between two "boy wonders" who both debuted around the same time. AB de Villiers is simply maturing into a wonderful cricketer, as is evidenced by last year's achievements and just recently today piecing together a mediocre effort by the Saffers with an unbeaten ton in tough conditions whilst wickets were tumbling around him. There are some who thrive on that kind of responsibility, and some who don't."
Out trot Smith and Sarwan. The sun is out, the sky is blue, there's not a cloud to spoil the view and, no, it's not raining in my heart.
23rd over: West Indies 93-1 (Smith 37, Sarwan 48) Stuart Broad begins with some short stuff at Sarwan, who rides the bounce and steers the third ball of the morning to the vacant third-man region for four. If Sidebottom and Anderson will be the swingers, Broad is presumably going to play enforcer today, although his final ball is pitched up and hammered through cover for four more by the gloriously in-form Sarwan. Shot! "I spotted celebrity and part-time cricketer Andrew Flintoff walking round the boundary at a Lancashire Second XI game at Northern in the late nineties," says Gary Naylor. "He and I constituted the "crowd"." I'm regretting this thread already. And I said THIS MORNING!
24th over: West Indies 95-1 (Smith 38, Sarwan 49) Sidebottom takes up the attack to Smith, who has passed 50 in only four of his previous 48 Test innings - a small scandal for one of his talents - but gets one run closer to a fifth with a nudge to long-leg. Sarwan ignores two leg-sidish bouncers, then pushes a single behind square on the leg-side. He's about to reach 50 for the fourth time in this series.
25th over: West Indies 97-1 (Smith 39, Sarwan 50) Sarwan gets that half-century with a firm push to mid-off for a single off Broad - and it's taken him only 66 balls, a symptom in part of the attacking fields England have been able to set. But he has looked superb in this series ever since Daryl Harper wrongly reprieved him from the third-umpire's box when he only 5 in Jamaica. At the moment that's looking like a series-changing blunder. Ambrose, meanwhile, does well to drag down a Broad bouncer to Smith. And to think the keeper is about to be left out of the fifth Test... "I thought I saw Adrian Chiles while I was out jogging earlier but it turned out not to be him," says Dave Voss. "This at least fulfils your "this morning" criteria, if little else." True. I prefer near misses THIS MORNING than actual spots from five years ago.
26th over: West Indies 102-1 (Smith 44, Sarwan 50) Luck for Smith, who Chinese cuts the unfortunate Sidebottom for four to bring up the West Indies 100 and provoke some red-faced thunder from the bowler. Smith then collects a single to square-leg that had more than a hint of thick inside edge about it. Sidebottom goes round the wicket for the last ball to Sarwan, but no joy for England yet. "Has Sidebottom actually taken a wicket since the NZ series?" asks Jonny Sultoon. "It seems an awful long time ago... oh yes. He has: six, at the splendid average of 42. Hmm." I said a while ago that we may have seen the best of him and I stick, regretfully, to my pessimism.
27th over: West Indies 102-1 (Smith 44, Sarwan 50) Broad is round the wicket too, but to the left-handed Smith. He's trying out the cutter that almost removed Smith on 29 last night, only for the too-early drive to plop to safety in the covers. It's the kind of surface where you need every last droplet of luck. At least Broad is thinking about, mixing his line, length and type of delivery. A whole-hearted maiden. "This morning as I was waiting to meet Rory McGrath I noticed an OBO reporter repeatedly looking back at Rory and fiddling with his twitter," says Ian Copestake.
28th over: West Indies 107-1 (Smith 48, Sarwan 51) England are thinking. Sidebottom is round the wicket to Sarwan, who is slightly lucky to get away with a thick inside edge to fine leg for a single. Strauss then sets two short extras for Smith, before dropping one of them back. Regardless, Smith cuts a loose wide one high and safely over the slips for four. "Don't know where Mark Knopfler comes on the A-Z list of celebrities, but he was generous enough to share a case of his beer rider with a friend of mine and I at St. Albans City Hall in 1978," says Pete Gay. "Of course, if you just want to go celebrity spotting (rather than hanging around getting drunk with them), the best place ever was the crush bar at the Royal Opera House - some nights they were ALL there, from the guy who sang for 'Right Said Fred' to Oprah (no pun intended) Winfrey." I SAID THIS MOR... oh forget it.
29th over: West Indies 109-1 (Smith 49, Sarwan 52) Sarwan paddle-pulls Broad tentatively for a single and there's a quiet feel to proceedings right now as Smith glances a single to long-leg. He needs one more for a first half-century in 24 Test innings: remarkable. And then Sarwan pops one up in the air to short leg. Except short leg isn't there. That would have been a dolly. And now Cook goes under the helmet, doing a passable impression of a bolting horse. Unlucky Broad. "Did Rory McGrath look up as you executed your cunning overtaking manoeuvre this morning?" asks Robin Hazlehurst. "Because if so maybe he can claim to have seen a D-lister this morning. Or are you even higher rated than that?" Hey, I hadn't thought of it like that. But now you mention it...
30th over: West Indies 113-1 (Smith 53, Sarwan 52) Smith has his half-century, and he won't care that it came with a thick edge through the vacant second-slip region for four. That, incidentally, is also the 100 stand. With glorious predictability, Beefy isn't impressed with the gap in the cordon. He'd have all nine fielders in there. (I paraphrase, but not by much.) "'Shambling, slightly overweight bloke' and D-List celeb Rory McGrath may be, but if he can afford a season ticket at the Emirates then he can't be doing that badly, can he?" points out Steven Haslemere.
31st over: West Indies 116-1 (Smith 55, Sarwan 53) Are England trying to be just a bit too cute with their field settings? Strauss gives Broad a leg gully for Sarwan ashe goes round the wicket, but there's an easy single instead to fine-leg. Smith pulls unconvincingly for two and England continue to toil. "The issue with Ryan Sidebottom, one of the most hirsute players on either side in the match, is the angle which is hair is at when he delivers the ball against the prevailing wind and atmospheric conditions," says Keith Flett. "If he gets the angle wrong then this will cause the impact of the delivery of the ball to change slightly, usually for the worse."
32nd over: West Indies 121-1 (Smith 55, Sarwan 58) Lovely stuff from Sarwan, who creams Sidebottom through extra cover for four. A pull for a single elicits an optimistic cry of "catch it!" before the increasingly incandescent Sidebottom beats a lazy waft outside off from Smith. "Hi Lawrence," begins Clare 'Chaos Theory" Davies. "After last night's disaster – and I'm convinced Wales would have won if only Andy hadn't started doing updates from Paris – I'm wondering if you're planning to have a similar effect on the rugby at Croke Park. Just in case, I'm going to declare how much I want Ireland to win." I'm not planning to have a similar effect, Clare. BECAUSE I CAN'T HAVE ANY EFFECT AT ALL.
33rd over: West Indies 121-1 (Smith 55, Sarwan 58) Broad carries on banging it in from round the wicket to Sarwan, who is under no obligation to play at anything, what with West Indies leading the series. Are England overlooking the basics? Sarwan is happy to duck under everything. This reminds me of England's attempts to bowl out South Africa at Lord's last summer, although Sarwan does clip one delivery - pitched up! - not a long way short of leg gully. Fancy reading about something else? (And I wouldn't blame you.) Why not click for Paul Weaver's take on South Africa v Australia in Johannesburg.
WICKET! Smith lbw b Swann 55 (121-2) Graeme Swann strikes with his second ball! Smith plays forward, is hit on the pad in front of off a split second before the ball strikes the bat and Aleem Dar has no hesitation. Smith thinks for a while before referring the decision but Daryl Harper has to uphold that, surely: it hit the pad first and hit him, just, in line with off-stump. And, finally, the decision is upheld. Rightly. John McCaughey spotted "Michael Vaughan texting in Starbucks in Sheffield....last week...not that I was frequenting the place I hasten to add."
34th over: West Indies 121-2 (Sarwan 58, Hinds 0) That was a huge moment. The drinks were about to be dragged out onto the field and that would have been the first mini-psychological blow to the Windies had they got through the first hour unscathed. But well bowled Swann - and well appealed. Good decision by Aleem Dar too. Ryan Hinds is the new man and he's under pressure: there's a real chance here for England to get at Chanderpaul before lunch. "I actually did see Adrian Chiles this morning at a west London sports club trying to keep one eye on the build up to the Baggies game while
35th over: West Indies 121-2 (Sarwan 58, Hinds 0) A double bowling change as Jimmy Anderson replaces Broad (11-2-34-0), but his first ball is a filthy leg-side bouncer that Sarwan barely dignifies with a second glance. Like Broad, he's trying out the short stuff but - unlike Bopara yesterday - Sarwan will not be tempted. An effortful maiden. "I would have mentioned a celebrity I had seen this morning," says Pete Gay, "but there aren't any in Bristol. The only one we have is Banksy, and I might have been behind him the queue for fags and a paper this morning, but he's anonymous, so even if had seen him, I wouldn't have known..."
36th over: West Indies 121-2 (Sarwan 58, Hinds 0) Charles Colvile has just intervened to tell us that there may be a problem with the Sky feed in the next half-hour. Something to do with the sun. I've heard some lame excuses in my time... Anyway, it's Swann to Hinds, who may be playing for his place here. He's confronted by a slip, a silly point and a forward short leg, but he gets well forward to smother whatever turn Swann in finding. He doesn't look entirely at ease, mind you, and Swann begins the day with a pair of maidens, to say nothing of the wicket. "Sidebottom's first-class averages," points out Gary Naylor. "Headingley 21; Edgbaston 32; The Oval 30; Taunton 47; Old Trafford 41. Okay, there's Trent Bridge 28 and Lord's 25, but these numbers back up the feeling that he's a horses for courses bowler. If we want a bowler of his kind, can't we have Hoggy back?" Very interesting indeed.
37th over: West Indies 128-2 (Sarwan 64, Hinds 1) Sarwan breaks the drought by panning Anderson through extra cover for four, then cutting him for a single next ball. England have a deep point for that shot, which at least shows they're learning. And then Hinds gets going with a decisive pull for a single. Sarwan top-edges a pull for another as Anderson continues to drop short. "I was once rear-ended (in a motoring fashion, not the man love way) at the traffic lights by Robin Martin-Jenkins & some other disgruntled cricketer who may have been Chris Nash," says Tim Travers. "I mention this as they are Cricketing 'D' listers & I drove past the same lights this morning. Does that count?" Just about.
38th over: West Indies 138-2 (Sarwan 74, Hinds 1) Six to Sarwan as he deposits Swann over deep midwicket, followed by a beautiful off-drive for four. He's playing beautifully. "Does the unexpected addition of 55 runs from Smith make up for the unjust dismissal of Gayle yesterday?" asks Lou Roper. Er, unjust? Looked absolutely just to me...
39th over: West Indies 138-2 (Sarwan 74, Hinds 1) It's a game of two ends. The lordly Sarwan at one, the nervy Hinds at the other. Anderson begins his over to the nervy one. It's clearly short stuff to Sarwan, pitch 'em up to Hinds, but he diligently shoulders arms to whatever he can and that's a maiden. "Though I suspect I wouldn't want to be sat next to Swanny on a flight from London to Sydney, his personality seems ideally suited to Test cricket," says Gary Naylor. "Monty will always be a rather reserved chap who goes nuts occasionally, but he could learn from Swanny's demeanour and ability to make things happen."
40th over: West Indies 143-2 (Sarwan 75, Hinds 5) Oof. Hinds goes down the track and lifts Swann just wide of Owais Shah at mid-on and away for four. That was heart-in-mouth moment for the batsman. "TMS are whining about both the Gayle decision and this one," says Ross Moulden. "In the Gayle decision they felt that the ball was going down leg side, and that it wasn't a clear-cut enough decision for the 3rd umpire to over-rule and give Gayle out. In this one they're not convinced whether the ball hit the bat first or not, but think they should have given the batsmen the benefit of the doubt, and it should have been not out. Reading the OBO, both the referral decisions seem to have been pretty clear cut in the minds of you and Andy last night. So are TMS whining for no good reason, or is it closer than you've let on? Personally I think on this one at least they're a bit unfair, if they think the Gayle decision shouldn't have been overturned on lack of evidence then this last one shouldn't have been overturned either. "Benefit of the doubt" for the batsmen doesn't work in this case." What's the problem, people? Gayle was hit in line with leg-stump; Smith was clearly hit on the pad before the ball hit the bat. In both cases the right decision was reached. TMS can moan all the want.
41st over: West Indies 145-2 (Sarwan 76, Hinds 6) Sarwan calmly drops Anderson into the leg-side for a single, which means England get another early crack at Hinds. Oh to expose the Chanders before lunch! Hinds keeps the strike with a flamboyant single to long-leg. England won't mind that. "Adrian Chiles 'trying to keep one eye on the build up to the Baggies game while drinking a coffee? (over 34)," says Phil Sawyer. "Wow, he must have a real multi-tasking problem. I can easily sip my coffee while keeping both eyes fixed firmly on the screen. In fact I'm doing it right now (well, except for the brief interlude to email the OBO obviously)."
42nd over: West Indies 147-2 (Sarwan 77, Hinds 7) Hinds is lucky. He advances on Swann, gets a thick inside edge onto his pads and is reprieved by Strauss's failure to stay down at silly point. He was expecting the ball to go through the leg-side - fair enough - but should have stayed down in the process. Ian Bell would have snaffled that. Hinds pinches a single and then Sarwan almost gets into trouble pinching another. Two off the over. "Not entirely convinced, Lawrence, that this rules my life," says Clare CT Davies, "but going for a shower at exactly the same time as another OBOer (hundreds of miles apart and not pre-arranged) may have helped Swann get Smith's wicket. Or maybe not." I'm going for the "not".
43rd over: West Indies 148-2 (Sarwan 78, Hinds 7) It's almost as if this game is not going to progress until England rid themselves of Sarwan, and there is no immediate sign they are going to do anything of the sort. He pushes another leg-side single there off Anderson, who for a split second looks as if he wants to trip up Hinds on his way through. Sensibly, he decides against it. Meanwhile Paul King, an important man at Sky Sports , has emailed in to explain why the sun may get in the way of the coverage. "A sun outage is an interruption in or distortion of geostationary satellite signals caused by interference from solar radiation. The effect is due to the sun's radiation overwhelming the satellite signal. Generally, sun outages occur in February, March, September and October, that is, around the time of the equinoxes. At these times, the apparent path of the sun across the sky takes it directly behind the line of sight between an earth station and a satellite. As the sun radiates strongly at the microwave frequencies used to communicate with satellites (C-band and Ku-band) the sun swamps the signal from the satellite. The effects of a sun outage can include partial degradation, that is, an increase in the error rate, or total destruction of the signal." Cheers Paul. Perhaps "lame excuse" was a little harsh.
44th over: West Indies 151-2 (Sarwan 80, Hinds 8) Sarwan pushes Swann to long-off for a single, before Hinds brings up the 150 with a psuh to wide mid-on. England have 20 minutes to go before lunch in which to claim a crucial third scalp. I think they'd have taken two wickets before the break on this surface. "This morning my wife was on the phone to her best friend who is married to an ex-Argentinian international footballer called Alejandro Alfaro Moreno (he once played in the same team as Maradona)," says Anthony Barnett in Quito. "That makes us almost best mates and he is now a football commentator here in Ecuador (that's A-list Ecuadorian celebrity, so surely D-list British)?"
45th over: West Indies 152-2 (Sarwan 81, Hinds 8) England continue to work on their theory that Sarwan doesn't like it up him, which isn't exactly what Duncan Fletcher . Ah well. "I've not been up long, as it's around 5.30am here in Hawaii," brags Mac Millings, "but I can report that what awoke me was D-List internet celebrity, inventor of the 20-sided die, and former gangsta rapper Gary Naylor whooping at full time of the Everton game. PS, thanks, Gary..."
46th over: West Indies 152-2 (Sarwan 81, Hinds 8) Swann is keeping Sarwan honest around off-stump - he does look the part, Swann. A maiden, and the Windies still trail by 448. "TMS (and plenty of other journos) whined incessantly about helmets 30 years ago," says Gary Naylor. "Nobody would think them a bad thing now, would they? TMS is intensely conservative, which is why some people like it. Gower is bleating on Sky about Pietersen throwing the ball at the stumps. Steve Waugh always did this as it kept the batsman under pressure and on edge. One time in 500, it would work. Gower, though a wonderful cover point in his youth, lecturing anyone on fielding is a bit rich."
47th over: West Indies 159-2 (Sarwan 81, Hinds 15) Strauss tosses the ball to Kevin Pietersen, whose first delivery - a wide, loopy off-break - is hammered towards deep extra for two by Hinds. He's bowling in shiny blue sunglasses, bless him, but they're not enough to distract Hinds from plopping his third ball back over his head for four. Why no Bopara or Collingwood? There's one more to Hinds, who has almost doubled his score in the space of four balls, at which point umpire Tiffin berates England for returning the ball on the bounce as they seek to create the perfect storm for reverse swing.
WICKET! Hinds lbw b Swann 15 (159-3) Swann does it again and Hinds goes in predictable fashion, pushing forward down the wrong line and being struck in front of middle and leg. Hawkeye has it clipping the outside of leg, and Hinds doesn't bother appealing. A great breakthrough for England with lunch approaching. "There may be occasions when Beard Liberation Front analysis of matters on the cricket field are felt to stretch a point," says Keith Flett in a rare moment of self-awareness, "but it can be said with absolute certainty in respect of Kevin Pietersen that when he bowls it is a question of whether the ball can get the batsman out, but whether the sight of his designer hirsuteness can provide enough distraction to the batsman's mental concentration to cause an error."
48th over: West Indies 163-3 (Sarwan 81, Chanderpaul 4) Ten years ago, Swann would probably still have a big fat zero in the wickets column. But Darrell Hair changed the umpiring perspective on pad-play and the rest - aided by the revelations of Hawkeye - have followed suit. Good, I say. And that was good too: a cover-drive for four first ball for Chanderpaul.
49th over: West Indies 163-3 (Sarwan 81, Chanderpaul 4) Pietersen is trying to burgle a pre-prandial wicket, but Sarwan is having none of it. Howard Swains will be your host after the break, incidentally, so get your emails in to [email protected]. A maiden. One over to go before lunch.
50th over: West Indies 163-3 (Sarwan 81, Chanderpaul 4) Swann wants a hat-trick of lbws against the left-handers, but Chanderpaul knows his game and keeps his pads defiantly out of the way. And that's lunch. West Indies have added 78 runs in 28 overs for the loss of Smith and Hinds, and I think England will be happy with that. They'll be even happier if these two can be separated in the first half-hour after the break. I'll see you both after tea,
How about forgoing that M&S sandwich and give the money to the Laurie Engel appeal instead. That's what Alex Netherton is asking, although not quite so directly. Instead he's provided a link to the , which features our man Luke pledging to look like a Lego man for the rest of his life, for money. Funnier than pretty much anything Comic Relief can muster, with the possible exception of .
Oh, and here's a at the Wanderers. De Villiers got a lot of runs, but Australia are walking it, in short.
Afternoon all. Welcome to the Kings Cross stand of the Kensington Oval, where the weather's fine; the view is good and I've just polished off a whole litre bottle of chocolate milk. Please forgive the sense of self-satisfaction. Still, it's a fairly daunting task for the OBO pinch-hitter, having to nip in for an afternoon session with Booth sitting one seat to the left, taking an afternoon intermission, and Smyth two seats to the right, . But let's keep our heads down for a session, and then we can pretend it never happened.
Anyway, what have we got this afternoon? Well, we've got Sarwan and Chanderpaul and who would bet against them being there at the end of this session, this day, this match. This is what England were worried about on this dormant pitch, and here it is. That said, if England can break this partnership quickly, the series is definitely there for the levelling. Swann has bowled very well this morning, and if one of Anderson, Sidebottom or, Broad can come to the party, England could, well, could Strauss be making decisions about the follow on by the end of the day?
This, it is becoming increasingly apparent with every keystroke, is a largely pointless exercise in speculation. There are far, far too many imponderables at the moment, and there's not even any real hurry: there are still two days and two sessions left for an awful lot to change.
Her Majesty's bookmakers have England at about 11-8, the draw at 4-7 and West Indies at a nominal 50-1, or thereabouts. For what that's worth. The resumption is imminent. Which is a relief.
Exclusive news from Sky Sports: Nick Knight will be presenting their coverage of the women's World Cup. Splendid.
51st over: West Indies 164-3 (Sarwan 82, Chanderpaul 4)
52nd over: West Indies 169-3 (Sarwan 83, Chanderpaul 8)
53rd over: West Indies 175-3 (Sarwan 84, Chanderpaul 13)
54th over: West Indies 179-3 (Sarwan 85, Chanderpaul 16)
55th over: West Indies 182-3 (Sarwan 86, Chanderpaul 18)
56th over: West Indies 193-3 (Sarwan 87, Chanderpaul 24)
57th over: West Indies 196-3 (Sarwan 90, Chanderpaul 24)
58th over: West Indies 199-3 (Sarwan 93, Chanderpaul 24)
59th over: West Indies 204-3 (Sarwan 94, Chanderpaul 28)
60th over: West Indies 206-3 (Sarwan 95, Chanderpaul 29)
61st over: West Indies 214-3 (Sarwan 95, Chanderpaul 37)
62nd over: West Indies 215-3 (Sarwan 96, Chanderpaul 37)
63rd over: West Indies 218-3 (Sarwan 99, Chanderpaul 37)
64th over: West Indies 219-3 (Sarwan 100, Chanderpaul 37)
65th over: West Indies 223-3 (Sarwan 104, Chanderpaul 37)
66th over: West Indies 229-3 (Sarwan 105, Chanderpaul 42)
67th over: West Indies 232-3 (Sarwan 106, Chanderpaul 44)
68th over: West Indies 234-3 (Sarwan 107, Chanderpaul 45)
69th over: West Indies 234-3 (Sarwan 107, Chanderpaul 45)
70th over: West Indies 240-3 (Sarwan 108, Chanderpaul 50)
71st over: West Indies 240-3 (Sarwan 108, Chanderpaul 50)
72nd over: West Indies 241-3 (Sarwan 109, Chanderpaul 50)
73rd over: West Indies 243-3 (Sarwan 111, Chanderpaul 50)
74th over: West Indies 249-3 (Sarwan 112, Chanderpaul 55)
75th over: West Indies 250-3 (Sarwan 113, Chanderpaul 55)
76th over: West Indies 259-3 (Sarwan 115, Chanderpaul 60)
77th over: West Indies 261-3 (Sarwan 117, Chanderpaul 60)
78th over: West Indies 264-3 (Sarwan 118, Chanderpaul 62)
79th over: West Indies 265-3 (Sarwan 118, Chanderpaul 63)
Hello. Lawrence here at your service. So, Ram and Shiv, eh? Twas ever thus. Separate these two in the next half-hour and England will still hold the whip-hand. But if they're still there at the close, prepare for the draw. In other gloomy news for English sport, the rugby lot are losing at Croke Park. Robin Lynch is supplying the .
80th over: West Indies 270-3 (Sarwan 119, Chanderpaul 66) Ravi Bopara will bowl what is probably the last over with the old ball and he's immediately worked into the leg-side for two by Chanderpaul, who then nudges a leg-side single off a no-ball. Now, what will the second new ball do for England? "I've seen some poor England cricket teams, but the rugby rabble at Croke Park is the most charmless, least skilled, most brainless England team I have ever seen in any sport," says, yes, Gary Naylor. "They are a shambles." They're losing 11-6 with 15 minutes left, in case you weren't sure.
81st over: West Indies 276-3 (Sarwan 125, Chanderpaul 66) Jimmy Anderson has the second new ball: how well England use it could dictate the course of this Test. Sarwan, though, is not in the mood to go anywhere, and elegantly steers the third ball off the back foot through the covers for four. A lovely shot from a bloke right at the peak of his powers. Sarwan then collects two courtesy of a misfield in the covers by Bopara.
82nd over: West Indies 277-3 (Sarwan 125, Chanderpaul 66) Right, what can Ryan Sidebottom do with the new cherry? He's gone for four an over so far, which means he's committed the double sin of not taking any wickets and not keeping it tight. I worry for Ryan. There's a touch of swing early on, though, so all is not lost. He just needs to find his line. Chanderpaul ambles through for a leg-bye in what was a disconcertingly quiet over for England.
83rd over: West Indies 277-3 (Sarwan 125, Chanderpaul 66) Anderson gets some late swing into Chanderpaul, who is squared up and defends awkwardly into the covers. I say "squared up" although he squares himself up anyway in his stance. More squared up than usual, perhaps. A more promising maiden.
84th over: West Indies 277-3 (Sarwan 125, Chanderpaul 66) Beefy doesn't think Sidebottom's match fit. Let's face it, he hasn't been match fit since the New Zealand one-day series in the summer. Beefy's now touting the wares of Amjad Khan. Sidebottom really looks short of a gallop. A meaningless maiden. "'With hindsight, they would have played a second spinner' has been true three times now," says Ben Shepherd. "When does it start to be a lack of foresight and become a blunder?" Was it a mistake in Jamaica?
WICKET! Chanderpaul lbw b Anderson 70 (277-4) Well, well! Chanderpaul pads up to Anderson and the batsman refers it immediately. It looked like it might have been going over the top - and Hawkeye says it was, by quite a distance - but Harper had to decide whether he could conclusively over-rule Russell Tiffin. He decided he couldn't and England have a huge, if fortunate, breakthrough. "Tell Gary Naylor that flattering the English rugby team like that will get him nowhere," says Jeremy James. "To call them inept would be exaggerated praise." England have just lost 14-13 to Ireland, a scoreline flattered by a late converted try.
85th over: West Indies 282-4 (Sarwan 125, Nash 1) "That is a shocker," intones Beefy. It was a shocker, but as Gower points out, it all depends on the wording of the regulation. Could Harper be certain the ball was going over, especially when he isn't privy to the predictive element of Hawkeye? It's debatable. My first instinct was it was too high, but instincts count for nothing under the current regulation.
86th over: West Indies 289-4 (Sarwan 131, Nash 2) Now, if England can just winkle out Nash early and expose Ramdin and the bowlers to a relatively new ball, they can still do some damage this evening. Brendan Nash tips Sidebottom into the covers for a single, and then Sarwan launches into an unstoppable off-drive for four. Glorious. The next shot isn't too bad either: a back-foot punch into the covers for two. "At home, the kids and I all shouted "too high" the moment the ball hit the pad," says Gary Naylor, who is training them well. "That is an absurd decision. TV shows that the ball was bail high when it hit Chanderpaul. And the ball still had eight feet to travel." Indeed.
87th over: West Indies 302-4 (Sarwan 137, Nash 9) Anderson goes looking for another lbw, but that's too leg-sidish and Nash glances him with ease for four. He then off-drives for three, laughing in the face of his stereotype as an insufferable blocker. And then Sarwan upper-cuts for six to bring up the 300 in style! "That totally sucks," says Cheri Powers, "sitting in cold Virginia feeling Shiv's pain".
88th over: West Indies 310-4 (Sarwan 137, Nash 17) So, Broad replaces Sidebottom, who completely wasted the precious three overs he had with the second new ball. Broad is immediately on the money outside Nash's off-stump - and then almost bowls him off an inside edge. Four runs to fine-leg is the result instead. But then Nash collects four bona fide runs, punching Broad square on the off-side: shot! England are leaking runs with the second new ball. "That had nothing to do with anything about regulations," says Robert Swaby. "That was blatant incompetence!! A rising ball that hits you at the height of the top if the wicket will always be going over. It should never have to be referred because it was never out. Absolute joke!"
89th over: West Indies 312-4 (Sarwan 138, Nash 18) Sarwan tucks Anderson off his hip for a single and he's only two runs away from his second-highest Test score. A long way to go for a career-best, though: that was 261 not out against Bangladesh. Can you tell I'm struggling? "The problem with the referral system is that it was brought in to try and stop the obviously wrong decisions from being made," says Ross Moulden. "Unfortunately the only ones it's been used on so far are marginal, judgement-call decisions, where there's no concrete evidence that says the onfield umpire was definitely wrong. If there'd been a couple of shocking decisions from the umpires that were overturned, there probably wouldn't be as much debate about its usefulness." True. I also think Harper had his fingers burned by overturning the lbw decision against Sarwan in the first Test when there was no obvious reason to. I agree that he would have been well within his rights to overrule Tiffin here.
90th over: West Indies 318-4 (Sarwan 138, Nash 24) England aren't making best use of this second new ball - Broad is a bit too short and wide to Nash, whose immediate task is to see off the shine. If he and Sarwan can do that, the draw retains its status as favourite. Especially with Nash upper-cutting a filthy delivery for six. The usually one-paced Nash has 24 off 21 balls! "With the TV umpire tasked with upholding or conclusively disproving his on-field college, the ICC have found an uncomfortable middle ground," says Ben Shepherd. "Once the decision is referred the third umpire's responsibility should be to get the decision right." Sure, but the other problem is the TV umpire doesn't have access to all the technology. It seems absurd to deny him use of the predictive element of Hawkeye, the Snicko and the Hotspot.
91st over: West Indies 323-4 (Sarwan 139, Nash 28) These are the moments where Tests - and series - are decided. England simply have to strike at least once more in the next 10 overs to keep their foot on the Windies' throat. But do they have the quality? I just dunno. Nash, meanwhile, is on fire, this time crashing Anderson, bowling round the wicket, through the covers for four. "Every time the issues of the referral system is discussed at whichever ICC committee deals with such things I hope someone just replays that Chanderpaul decision to end the debate," says Martin. "If they are going to use the system at least give the umpires a chance; it can't be right that I have more technology available to me in my living room than they have, can it?" No, it can't.
92nd over: West Indies 325-4 (Sarwan 140, Nash 29) Drinks are taken as Holding declares that Anderson's appeal against Chanderpaul was "hitting Everest". "The top of Everest," adds Nasser. Anyway, Swann is on now and Sarwan immediately dabs him for an off-side single. Holding thinks the system is fine; he's blaming those who operate it. "I like the referral system, but it has to be an holistic process," says Gary Naylor. "Would Aleem Dar have raised the finger, if he didn't have his mate with the replays to get him out of trouble? On-field umpires (even subconsciously) backing hunches and then TV umpires reluctant to overrule hunches, is a pretty poor result for the trial (if it turns out that way). A shame, as using all available evidence has to be the way forward."
93rd over: West Indies 329-4 (Sarwan 140, Nash 33) Sidebottom is given another go with the now slightly-less-than-new ball. This is an important spell for Ryan: he's been sluggish in the field today and even less sharp with the ball. Nasser and Holding are talking about his Achilles problem, but there are more immediate concerns, like Nash's slashing cut for four. That was a dreadful ball. Really dreadful. "What is it they say about swings and roundabouts?" asks Paul Franklin. "Sarwan survives on 5 and goes on to make a century on the basis of a poor referal decision early in the series, now almost the opposite from Chander. In what way is this any different from having the two in the middle making the mistakes?"
94th over: West Indies 330-4 (Sarwan 141, Nash 33) Swann is quickly becoming the key figure once more as the shine vanishes, and he hurries Nash with a quicker one before almost inducing a leading edge. And then he goes up for lbw. Aleem Dar says not out, but Strauss wants it referred. The only question is height - it hit him just above the knee roll as Nash played forward, so Harper will have to have a good reason to overrule. I can't see one on that evidence. And Harper agrees: not out. England have one referral left, West Indies none. "Controversy over the last one aside, all the dismissals so far have been lbws," says Phil Sawyer. "So why are England bowling so many back-of-a-length balls? Anderson was getting some late swing with the new ball when he pitched it up. I'm starting to wonder whether Ottis Gibson is really up to being an international standard bowling coach - he was, after all, seemingly appointed because of one good season in county cricket."
95th over: West Indies 334-4 (Sarwan 145, Nash 33) Hawkeye had the ball going over the top, but not as much as the one which spelled doom for Chanderpaul. That was a much better application of the referral system - but then not-outs are always less controversial. Meanwhile, Sidebottom continues and he's as anodyne as he has been throughout this game: Sarwan duly cuts for four to bring up a 50 stand inside 10 overs. He then goes up for a huge shout against Sarwan. Tiffin says not out and Strauss declines to use it: that was too high as well. And it pitched just outside leg. Strauss did well not to be pressured by Sidebottom's desperation there. "The predictive power of Hawkeye might not be perfect but it'd be better than an umpire and it'd be consistent," says Ben Shepherd. "The ICC's reasoning was that it takes time to be generated and would slow the referral process down - but it's hardly quick now." Agreed.
WICKET! Nash lbw b Swann 33 (334-5) Another referral! This time Swann thinks Nash is lbw and that looked like a good shout. Or was it too high? It hit just above the knee roll. Harper has plenty of looks at it, which suggests doubt. And if there's doubt, he can't by definition be certain Aleem Dar is wrong. So he has to uphold the not-out decision. But he doesn't! Nash is out. I think that's wrong. And Hawkeye says the ball is going over the top. Holding is fuming.
96th over: West Indies 336-5 (Sarwan 146, Ramdin 1) Gawd. It looks like Jon Dyson, the Windies coach, is off to see Daryl Harper, who has just been given an on-air roasting by Holding. Rightly so. "Michael Holding is telling me that the system is fine, but the people in the system are the problem!?" splutters Paul Franklin. "I'm sorry Michael, the incompetence of the umpire here is contributed to by the crapulence of the system, the umpire not only has to decide whether or not the decision is wrong but also if it is wrong enough?! Is there a certain degree of wrongness that is acceptable?"
97th over: West Indies 337-5 (Sarwan 146, Ramdin 1) Tony Cozier says it's the first time an umpire has got four wickets in an innings under the referral system. It's the talking point of the day without a doubt. And that's a shame because this is still fascinatingly poised. As so often in this series Sarwan holds the key. Meanwhile, Ramdin gets his eye in against Sidebottom. "Harper is a broken man," says Gary Naylor. "The Nash LBW is simply perverse. In the circumstances, that is the worst decision I have ever seen. Nasser seems to concur. If this were India or Pakistan (or Bridgetown thirty years ago), there would be rioting now, and, frankly, I wouldn't blame them. Strauss should do the decent thing and withdraw the appeal. Nash can come back tomorrow." It's hardly Strauss's fault!
98th over: West Indies 346-5 (Sarwan 152, Ramdin 5) Sarwan reaches 150 with a sumptuous cover-drive for four off Swann. He looks world-class right now. And it's taken him only 238 balls. A cut for a single is a very small cherry on the cake, although Ramdin joins in the celebrations with a shimmy and a whip through midwicket for four. Shot. "This referral nonsense is all very well, but I've got money on the draw and this could prove costly," says Chris Coles. "Who do I sue for loss of earnings?" Daryl Harper?
99th over: West Indies 351-5 (Sarwan 155, Ramdin 7) Sidebottom continues, despite not looking especially threatening. The two right-handers trade singles before Sarwan is almost undone by a complete lack of bounce. Instead, he adjusts brilliantly and pulls low for a single. Sidebottom is being milked here like a third-change medium-pacer. "Boycs has been quite sensible today," says Ben Shepherd. "To paraphrase: you can't blame the referral system for Harper being a clown."
100th over: West Indies 352-5 (Sarwan 156, Ramdin 7) Swann goes round the wicket to the apparently immovable Sarwan - at least it poses a different sort of question. Sarwan nudges a single between the two close leg-side fielders. But that's the lot. "Perhaps Daryl Harper doesn't like the system and is deliberately subverting it, to stop it being adopted permanently," says Paul Franklin. "I know where my money is."
101st over: West Indies 357-5 (Sarwan 161, Ramdin 7) Broad replaces Sidebottom and he finds Sarwan's edge first ball. But there's no second slip and that flies away for four. Strauss, the lone slip, duly moves a bit wider. There's more than half an hour to go today, and if England can take one more wicket, they can still win this game. Broad goes up optimistically for leg-before against Sarwan, but that was actually an inside-edge. Well bowled Broad: he's the seamer who looks most likely to make things happen. "Perhaps West Indies should remain in their pavilion tomorrow morning on the grounds that Mr Harper should never have been allowed on the list of Test match referees," says Lou Roper. "The ICC would then declare the Test a draw before reversing itself three years on. Could we have our old system with just the one possibility of cock-up back please?"
102nd over: West Indies 362-5 (Sarwan 166, Ramdin 7) Swann drops short and Sarwan rocks back in no time and cuts for four, the 17th of this super innings to go with two sixes. "This Naylor entity has kids?" says Michael Plevin. "I thought he was a computer program created by you chaps to occupy lines while you smoked silk cuts during the change of ends." We're not that cool, Michael. I promise.
103rd over: West Indies 369-5 (Sarwan 167, Ramdin 13) Sarwan cuts Broad for a single and Ramdin pulls meatily for two. Broad then goes up for an lbw shout that not even Harper would have upheld. Or maybe we should leave Daryl alone now. Ramdin ends the over with a leg-glance for four as Broad goes round the wicket. "Just when cricket could be going through a golden spell - more expansive batting, better fielding, lots of results and some money coming in - it seems we are trying to ruin it with an awful governing body, terrible flat pitches designed to make ODIs into six hitting competitions, and of course, Daryl Harper," says Paul Franklin.
104th over: West Indies 371-5 (Sarwan 169, Ramdin 13) Swann beats Sarwan, who is then almost stumped by Ambrose - but he just gets his back foot down in time after over-balancing. Tiffin doesn't bother to refer it, which is probably a good thing in the circumstances. He responds with a neat cover-drive for two. If West Indies win this series, it will be because of this man. "I won't blame Strauss for not withdrawing the appeal (obviously), but it would be a superb gesture if he were to do so overnight," says Gary Naylor.
105th over: West Indies 377-5 (Sarwan 170, Ramdin 18) That was a knackered-looking ball from Broad: short and wide and cut for four by Ramdin. England look a bowler light, mainly because Sidebottom hasn't pulled his weight. But Strauss hasn't really used his back-up bowlers much either: 10 overs between Bopara and Pietersen, and nothing at all for Collingwood.
106th over: West Indies 380-5 (Sarwan 172, Ramdin 19) A single apiece for Sarwan and Ramdin off Swann, who has bowled really well today. He and Broad have been the stars on a heart-breaker of a pitch. Sarwan keeps the strike with a nudge behind square-leg. "Say we have to bat again with a lead of 100-150, do we smash our way to a 300-odd lead before tea leaving all results possible on the final day?" asks Paul Franklin, who is making a bid to become the new Gary Naylor. "Or do we just make sure the Windies cannot win and try to level the series in Trinidad? Methinks we need enforce the follow-on to win..."
107th over: West Indies 387-5 (Sarwan 174, Ramdin 24) This has been a handy little effort from Ramdin, who stands between England and the bowlers. OK, so the bowlers have looked tired, but he's still been untroubled. And there's a cracking cut for four to bring up the 50 stand.
108th over: West Indies 390-5 (Sarwan 176, Ramdin 25) Bopara gets a go in the evening sunshine and his first ball almost brings a leg-before shout against Sarwan, who whips a single off his pads as the ball reverses. Three off t'over. And there'll be one more to go. "Why can't any of the bowlers deliver a consistent cutter?" wails Gary Naylor, the old Paul Franklin. "They aren't hard to bowl - club cricketers bowl them all the time as a variation. Failure of imagination is so much more poisonous than failure of technique." [OBO writer nods enlightenedly]
109th over: West Indies 398-5 (Sarwan 184, Ramdin 25) Pietersen gets a chance right at the death and Sarwan spanks a low full-toss through extra cover for four. He's been out there for nearly eight hours now, but he's still got the alertness to back-cut for four more. Shot! And that's it. Well batted, Sarwan - a really courageous knock, full of skill and concentration. I reckon it'll save West Indies this Test. But before we go, one more email... "In fairness to Harper (and why not) he presumably didn't ask for this system and he has been made to guinea-pig it (yes he's paid, but did he volunteer for it?) and he may not be the best person to operate under the new rules, but surely we can assume that he is trying his best," says the very fair-minded Robin Hazlehurst. "If someone invented a new technology for OBOing which didn't suit you but you were obliged to use, could you fairly be pilloried for the results? Old dogs, new tricks, the system and the personnel may well be ok, but perhaps just not in tandem."