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There was total chaos in the press amidst West Indies‘ horror showing in the first Test versus England. While many stated the series to be a ‘one-sided’ affair and England’s ideal preparation for Ashes 2017-18, Curtly Ambrose and coach Stuart Law came out with heavy words as well. Ambrose referred to the current West Indies Test line-up as “pathetic”; Law admitted the series to be a ‘mismatch’. Former England skipper Nasser Hussain was also disappointed with visitors’ performance at Edgbaston, but hoped they would get their basics right in the second encounter. Guess what, at 19 for 1 (trailing England by 239 runs), West Indies haven’t done bad so far. They made England work hard for their runs, and folded their innings before stumps on Day One.

In his coloumn for DNA, Nasser stated, “That was a lot better from West Indies, especially in the first two sessions. I wrote on Friday that they had to stick to the basics and not worry about comparisons with their great sides of the past. They did that pretty well. Things did not begin too promisingly, it must be said, when only nine players managed to get into the team huddle at the start of the day. But after that they were good, not least in the way Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach bowled to Alastair Cook. The plans for Cook are not exactly rocket science: aim outside off stump and get him coming forward. But West Indies failed to do that at Edgbaston so it was clear they’d gone away and thought about how to improve.”

Complimenting Gabriel and Jason Holder, Nasser wrote, “He in particular provided them with some of the firepower missing during the first Test. He gives them that aura they have been lacking a big, strong West Indian pounding in and touching 90mph. And with the leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo coming into the attack, they had a bit of variation after looking a bit one-dimensional in the first Test. I also liked the way Holder used his bowlers.”

Despite bundling England for 258, West Indies conceded 142 runs overall by dropping Joe Root and Ben Stokes. Nasser pointed out Holder’s captaincy, but lamented the dropped chances hurt West Indies. “He (Holder) rotated them well, and made sure Gabriel or (Kemar) Roach were in the attack whenever a new batsman came to the crease. Roach seemed to be tiring at the end of his first spell, but Holder gave him another over and he got rid of Mark Stoneman. Holder himself bowled pretty well, too, as their third seamer. In my book your No. 8 batsman should not be your fourth seamer, so it was important he stepped up. He even found some lateral movement, having looked a bit gun-barrel straight at Edgbaston, which you cannot be at his pace. But the captain was let down by his fielders, which hurt West Indies as the day wore on”, stated Nasser.

Nasser concluded by saying, “But, in general, this was a better effort from them in the field, not least because England had chosen to bat first. What they must now do is back up their performance for more than a session or two. Their chances of getting something out of this series depend on it.”