England embarrasses West Indies by innings and 209 runs

 20 Aug 2017 - 11:30

England embarrasses West Indies by innings and 209 runs
England players celebrate their win after the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

AP

BIRMINGHAM, England: England took 19 wickets in a day to send West Indies tumbling to a humbling defeat by an innings and 209 runs in the first test on Saturday, setting the scene for what could be a painful series for the tourists.

England won with time to spare on Day 3 of the day-night test at Edgbaston, taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match contest in the most commanding fashion.

The loss was the sixth heaviest ever for the West Indies in its once-proud test history. West Indies, resuming on 44-1, was all out for 168 in its first innings after lunch and, asked to follow on, all out again for 137 in the third session.

England bowled West Indies out twice in less than 100 overs in total, and the tourists were miles short of England's first-innings of 514-8 declared.

England's rampant performance was full of significant moments, not just because it was the first day-night test to be played in England or involving England.

Making the pink ball game look easy, Alastair Cook scored a fourth double-century and passed 11,500 career runs in England's innings. Joe Root's 136 saw him become just the sixth man to make a half-century in 11 straight tests. He's in prime position to equal AB de Villiers' outright record of 50s in 12 consecutive tests in the second match starting on Friday in Leeds.

And Stuart Broad overtook Ian Botham to become England's second-highest test wicket-taker with 384. Broad's spell under floodlights near the end, of three wickets for four runs in 11 balls — including two wickets in two deliveries — took him past Botham, who was at the ground as a TV commentator.

"They add up pretty quickly," Broad said. "There's been some great memories along the way, certainly. You don't really remember the wickets you take, you remember the test matches you win."

Significantly for England with the Ashes in Australia looming at the end of the year, both of its leading test wicket-takers of all time are still playing. Broad's new-ball partner, James Anderson, is England's top test bowler on 492 wickets and could become the sixth player to reach 500 in this series.

Broad and Anderson took five wickets each in the match as the West Indies capitulated. Toby Roland-Jones, the new man in the seam attack, finished it off when he forced an outside edge from Alzarri Joseph. Underlining England's clinical display, Ben Stokes snapped up the tough, low catch to his right in the slips.

England still has questions over a new and unproven top order, but that didn't matter one bit.

Pre-series predictions were that the West Indies would struggle, but maybe not to the extent of their showing in the three days of play at Edgbaston. England's dominance was so complete that the much-hyped task of batting under floodlights wasn't a factor, save for Broad's late spell.

England is a tough task for any team right now, but the result will focus cricket followers again on the demise of the five-day game in the Caribbean. The West Indians were the kings of test cricket in the 1970s and 80s, and have produced lasting greats like Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards and, more recently, Brian Lara, as well as a once-endless supply of world-beating fast bowlers.

At Edgbaston, the West Indies quick bowlers were wayward and unfocused, allowing Cook and Root to score at will. And the batsmen were fragile, save only for Jermaine Blackwood, who hit 79 not out off 76 balls in the first innings in an entertaining but ultimately inconsequential innings. West Indies' best partnership of either innings was 45.

West Indies still hasn't won a test in England since 2000. Despite having a reasonable record at home against the English, they have been outclassed on tour, losing their last four series in England 4-0, 3-0, 2-0 and 2-0. This series looks like it might be completely one-sided too.

The margin of the West Indies' defeat was the biggest in tests for two years, with the last on this scale also involving the West Indies, when they lost by an innings and 212 runs in Australia in December 2015.

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