Swann' s five leads England's charge
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 18th February 2009
Graeme Swann bowled with skill, stamina and verve to claim his maiden five-wicket haul in only his third Test, as England put their stamp over the Test. Despite bowling West Indies out for 285 in reply to their first-innings total of 566 for 9, England opted not to enforce the follow-on with 40 minutes of the day remaining and rightly so, for it was a weary outfit that trooped from the field. With Steve Harmison on and off the field through illness and Andrew Flintoff labouring with a hip injury, England's batsmen extended the advantage by a further 31 runs, for the loss of the captain, Andrew Strauss, for 14. Swann kept England's bid for victory firmly on course in a performance that made a mockery of Panesar's recent one-dimensional efforts.
Swann was tossed the ball to allow Harmison a change of ends but in the end he became their attacking option. He claimed their first wicket of the day with the first ball after the morning drinks break, when Devon Smith ruined the memory of an otherwise diligent 38 by slogging across the line, and Swann added his second with 15 minutes to go until lunch, when the nightwatchman, Daren Powell, was finally prised from the crease for an excellent 22 from 86 balls, well caught at slip after being deceived by extra bounce. Ramnaresh Sarwan produced the counterattacking innings of the day - an aggressive 94 from 133 balls as he took full toll of England's wayward lines. He added 70 in a stylish fourth-wicket stand with Ryan Hinds, and at 200 for 3 midway through the second session, England were beginning to look resigned to a long and fruitless day in the field. Harmison by this stage was really struggling and had to leave the field for treatment, and when Sarwan turned his attention on Swann by belting him out of the attack Strauss looked clueless.
Andrew Flintoff and Stuart Broad finally tempted a pair of indiscretions outside off stump and first to go was Hinds, who hanged his bat at a ball angled across him. Then, before he could settle, the main man Shivnarine Chanderpaul was gone as well. Stuart Broad persuaded him to flash outside off and Prior again took the catch. It could have been more had Broad in his follow through clung onto a fierce return drive when Sarwan had made 63. Instead Sarwan pushed on after the break as well, and with Brendan Nash providing some typically frill-free support, the pair added 50 runs in 14 overs before a terrible rush of blood gave England the chance to go for the kill. On 94 Sarwan went for the glory shot against Swann and picked out Flintoff at short mid-on. One ball later Denesh Ramdin tapped a loopy full-toss straight back into his hands, and at 251 for 7, the follow-on was beginning to loom. Nash hung around for 81 balls for his 18, an innings that finally ended when Flintoff returned for one last spell, and with his second delivery drew a loose flat-footed prod to Collingwood at second slip. Swann then claimed a deserved five-for when Benn was trapped before his stumps. Flintoff then ended an entertaining cameo from Jerome Taylor by running back to claim a skied return chance.
The English openers then set about extending the advantage, although Strauss - after his 169 in the first innings drew an edgy drive to second slip. Edwards' day could have finished on a high had Hinds clung onto a last-over chance when the nightwatchman Anderson flashed outside off, but the chance went down and England found themselves in a better position.