35th over: England 73-4 (Stokes 9, Pope 2) Just the single from Roach’s latest set. “England three down for 60-odd against the Windies under leaden skies,” sighs Richard O’Hagan. “It’s like the 1980s all over again. I wonder who Tony Lewis will be talking to during the lunch break?” Tony Lewis turned 82 on Monday. Happy birthday Tony!
34th over: England 72-4 (Stokes 9, Pope 1) The ball passed very close to Crawley’s inside edge and there was a sound, but on replay it turned out to have come when the bat passed the pad, and before the ball turned up to get involved. I think the umpire’s decision was understandable both because of the ball’s trajectory and because of that rogue noise, but Holder got his call spot on again. England have scored 37 runs today, and lost three wickets.
WICKET! Crawley lbw b Holder 10 (England 71-4)
Another good review, another wicket falls!
REVIEW! Again West Indies think they’ve got their man!
Holder hits Crawley’s front pad, but the ball was cutting across the batsman – would it have hit the stumps? They want to find out!
33rd over: England 71-3 (Crawley 10, Stokes 9) Once in Roach’s last over Stokes advanced down the pitch but was forced to just block. Now he does it again and punches the ball through Crawley’s legs and away to the long-on boundary. I do like the way Shane Dowrich sets off for the other end between overs, as if it’s very favourite thing.
32nd over: England 67-3 (Crawley 10, Stokes 5) Crawley tries to take his bat away but doesn’t do it in time, and the edge bounces just in front of Campbell at third slip. The next he tries to flick through midwicket but he gets another edge, and this one goes wide of Holder and away for four.
31st over: England 63-3 (Crawley 6, Stokes 5) Roach’s last ball fades away from Stokes, who has a little nibble but gets nothing on it. Great end to a good over.
30th over: England 62-3 (Crawley 5, Stokes 5) Gabriel’s spell is broken, and Holder comes back to replace him. It’s a pretty tasty over, and a completely different test to Gabriel, full of variety of line and length. Maiden, and drinks follow.
29th over: England 62-3 (Crawley 5, Stokes 5) A loud but short appeal as Roach sends the ball crashing into Stokes’ back pad, the ball having made impact well outside the line.
28th over: England 60-3 (Crawley 4, Stokes 4) Gabriel has his tail up and the wind in his sails, thundering in like some kind of turbocharged steamroller. Stokes eventually follows Crawley in getting off the mark with a boundary, pulled past square leg. “Three wickets down after winning the toss and going into bat in the first Test of the summer,” writes Guy Hornsby. “If you’re searching for comfort and familiarity in the pandemic, here you are.”
27th over: England 56-3 (Crawley 4, Stokes 0) Shot! Crawley gets off the mark with a tasty cover drive, probably shot of the day so far. “Re Joseph bowling to Joseph (21st over), four Josephs featured in the opening session of the Antigua Test last year: all three English Josephs lost their wickets, two of them to the WI Joseph,” writes Smylers.
26th over: England 52-3 (Crawley 0, Stokes 0) Gabriel welcomes Stokes with a delivery almost identical to the one that did for Burns, but this one would surely have gone down leg and the appeal fades swiftly. And that is followed by a wild, wild wide that heads towards first slip. Burns and Denly patiently played themselves in this morning, and then rapidly got themselves out.
WICKET! Burns lbw b Gabriel 28 (England 52-3)
Three reds and Burns goes! Great call from Gabriel, who overruled a clearly ambivalent Holder to force a review and got his reward.
REVIEW! Gabriel’s convinced this would have hit!
The ball hit Burns in the ankle and ran away; the umpire wasn’t impressed but Gabriel is very enthusiastic and Holder goes with it.
25th over: England 49-2 (Burns 28, Crawley 0) Kemar Roach bowls and Crawley leaves all but a couple of them. These all turn out to be good decisions, but not by much: there’s one that just clears the stumps, and another that would probably have done the same had it not clipped his back leg. I’d have appealed pretty loudly, but Roach decides against it.
24th over: England 49-2 (Burns 28, Crawley 0) Denly slaps the first through midwicket for four, and is sent packing by the second. It’s an absolute crackerjack of a delivery, and given Denly’s foot placement, which is currently being dissected on Sky, there was nothing he could do about it.
WICKET! Denly b Gabriel 18 (England 48-2)
Beauty! Gabriel gets one to nip back, sear through the gate at 90mph and crash into off stump!
23rd over: England 44-1 (Burns 28, Denly 14) Holder’s sixth over. On average England have scored 0.67 runs off each of them, and this one’s a maiden
22nd over: England 44-1 (Burns 28, Denly 14) Denly has yet to score this morning, and Burns adds three more in this over with a single off the last, so Denly’s run isn’t going to end immediately. The speed gun suggests Gabriel is hitting 90mph or close to it, pretty tasty pace for a cloudy Southampton morning.
21st over: England 41-1 (Burns 25, Denly 14) Some judicious leaving here from Denly, with one of Holder’s deliveries flying maybe four inches over middle stump. He only puts bat on the last, and makes no effort to score any actual runs. “We have Alzarri Joseph bowling to Joseph Denly,” notes Richard O’Hagan. “I wonder how often that surname-forename correlation happens in international cricket?”
20th over: England 41-1 (Burns 25, Denly 14) Gabriel comes on, and Burns miscues his first delivery past point for four. He oversteps once, giving away a bonus run.
19th over: England 36-1 (Burns 21, Denly 14) Since the first ball of the 14th over, which Burns hit for four, England have scored two. Burns works Joseph’s last delivery off his hip for a single, his 1,000th Test run.
18th over: England 35-1 (Burns 20, Denly 14) Two balls to finish Alzarri Joseph’s over, carried over from yesterday. The first goes onto the pads and is clipped straight to a fielder at midwicket, the second is banged short and has Denly swishing awkwardly and inaccurately.
The players are out. There are a few jumpers on but no umbrellas out, so all is good.
Sky’s live broadcast has started, and there’s all sorts of action going on across the outfield. The square is uncovered, and it looks like we’re on schedule.
There’s also Vic Marks on the actual action, such as it was:
Ali Martin on Roddy Estwick, the West Indies’ assistant coach, and the players’ support of the Black Lives Matter campaign:
And Ali Martin again on the eeriness of Test cricket in an empty ground:
Just 17.4 overs were played yesterday – at least there are no fans to refund – but it was a pleasure just to watch cricket not be played because of rain, with all its familiar frustrations, having spent the preceding months watching cricket not be played because of a global pandemic, less familiar and far less likely to clear up within a couple of hours with a bit of luck.
Scattered showers are forecast for Southampton today, but as of 10am this morning the Met Office was saying that we should get away with a full day of overcast action:
Before it gets under way may I suggest that you have a flick through some of our words on yesterday’s business, starting with Andy Bull on this bit of impactful television courtesy of Sky, Michael Holding and Ebony Rainford-Brent:
You can’t understand the history of cricket without understanding the history of empire. You can’t appreciate the rivalries between these, and other, teams, without appreciating the relationship between our countries, what’s been given, and what’s been taken.
You can’t understand the hostility of Michael Holding’s bowling without understanding what made him so angry, you can’t appreciate Frank Worrell’s grace as a captain without knowing something of the prejudice he faced, you can’t value the violence of Viv Richards’ batting without a sense of what he was fighting against.
You can’t separate sport from politics, or have the cricket without the cause. But plenty of people would like to. Sky, to their credit, didn’t let them.
Much more here: