February 7, 2009, a day when English cricket was unceremoniously cast aside by an underrated West Indies side.
It’s hard to put the events that happened in the first test between England and the West Indies into words. Well, as an Englishman, one word immediately comes to mind.
Nevertheless, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Jerome Taylor’s bowling was nothing short of sublime.
The English batsmen were never allowed to settle. Taylor consistently bowled the ball into the “corridor of uncertainty”, thus putting world-class batsmen under constant pressure.
For nine overs Taylor’s bowling was near flawless, taking five wickets and only allowing 11 runs. He asked difficult questions of his adversaries—who all failed to deliver any kind of answer.
Taylor’s bowling master class helped decimate England, whose only saving grace was Andrew Flintoff top-scoring with 24 runs.
The West Indies performance in the first test was like a trip down memory lane. It harked back to their glory years of the 70s and 80s.
Their first innings batting performance was a steady and accomplished knock that was reminiscent of the good old days when Sir Viv Richards and Desmond Haynes would grace the pitch.
Furthermore, Taylor’s performance will go down in West Indies history. It was almost like watching Michael Holding or Curtly Ambrose charging in to dislodge the batsmen’s stumps.
This victory has the feel of some sort of renaissance, if you will. Perhaps, the West Indies will never experience success like they did a little over 30-years ago, but there is hope.
In recent years, fans of West Indian cricket have failed to attend matches in large numbers. In fact, none of the four days played out in the first test with England were sold out.
The problem of poor attendances has been a real shame. The team's performances have been far from spectacular in recent years, but the West Indies hold a special place in the sport's history. Therefore, it can be disheartening to see so few people attend games there.
The 2007 Cricket World Cup was held in the West Indies with many new grounds being built. Since, and even at, the World Cup these marvellous arenas are left somewhat barren thanks to a lack of fans going to see matches.
Currently, times are hard on the economic front, so to would be naïve to expect sell outs on every day of competition. Nevertheless, with the West Indies taking apart a good test side it would be wonderful to think that the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, venue for the second test, will be over-flowing with jubilant fans.
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