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England v West Indies – live!

7th June 2012

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10.45am: Here’s John Starbuck: “As it looks like you may be stuck for topics on a rain-infested day, here’s a cocktail recipe:

The Transit of Venus

Two measures Amoretto
Two measures Tequila
One measure Appleton Rum
One measure Plymouth Gin
One measure Apple juice
One measure Cranberry juice
Shake violently and pour over dry ice or other steam-effect ingredient, with a slice of lemon.
Drink slowly.

The apple and amoretto ingredients are for Venus, the tequila is for the kick, the rum is because England are hosting West Indies and the gin is because you know what sailors are.”

It looks like someone you overdid the dry ice effect and obscured Venus for the entire population of British astronomers. They’ll have to wait 105 years for their next chance, so well done for ruining their lives. And for causing all the cloud that’s put off the start of the Test.

10.40am: “I don’t mind a bit of rotation, but it’s surely disingenuous to claim that Jimmy Anderson would be ‘dead on his feet’ later in the season if he played this Test,” says Gary Naylor. “If he plays in all England’s other fixtures this month, he will bowl 44 overs maximum - in June.” I’ll let Andy Flower answer this one, Gary, because he’s just talked about it on Sky. He says Jimmy is carrying a few niggles and if they “blew up” in this Test and he missed the rest of the summer, people would be up in arms that he was played in a dead rubber. Having said that, it sounds like Jimmy agreed with you, Gary.

10.36am: Nick Knight is having a look at the pitch. The covers are on and the clouds are bearing down on Edgbaston, and the start has been delayed. There’s no standing water on the outfield but closer in there’s a few muddy patches. On the positive side, Knight appears on telly without Kevin Pietersen taking a swing at him. Andy Flower pops up to and says the rigours of today’s game means he needs to rest players such as Jimmy Anderson, just as Wayne Rooney doesn’t play in every game for Manchester United. He says it’s a policy that will continue too with his fast bowlers. Flower adds it will give others an opportunity to show their talent.

Weather update. I was in Birmingham last night and the rain drops were doing an impressive warm-up routine on my head. There may be a bit of play this morning judging from the weather forecast on the BBC but this afternoon isn’t looking too promising:

Cloudy through the day with spells of rain during the morning, then a brief drier interlude around midday and early afternoon before more heavy rain returns from the south, along with strengthening southeasterly winds.

Matt Prior has been passed fit. He had some kind of terrifying eye infection but a bit of a rub with sulphuric acid and a wire brush means he’ll be OK to play – Steve Davies had been called up as a back-up but will return to play for Surrey against Sussex.

We’re also likely to see Sunil Narine for West Indies fresh from scaring the bejesus out of batsmen in the IPL. He’s that most terrifying of beasts – a mystery spinner – and as Smyth pointed out yesterday in The Spin even if he turns out to be another Mendis, who tails off dramatically once batsmen figure him out, he’ll still be in that first, dangerous flush of youth when England face him in this Test. Besides, most people agree he is likely to be a threat for some time to come having as he does greater accuracy turn and bounce than Mendis.

Mission accomplished so far. England have sealed the series and will face South Africa as world No1. AS for this match, yes, it’s a dead rubber but with Jimmy Andeson rested we’re likely to see Steve Finn for the first time in a Test this summer. Andrew Strauss says Anderson understands the policy: “We want to avoid a situation where players get burnt out - that’s the last thing we want to do and that’s where that rotation policy comes in,” he said.  “The idea of rotating and resting is that they end up playing more, not less. The last thing you want is for someone to be playing to the extent that they’re dead on their feet and get injured and are out for months.”


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