As an Englishman I should try and extol the positives in what was another convincing victory for England against the Windies on Sunday, this time in the one day form of the game.
Stuart Broad utilized his tall stature to get pace and bounce, but his increasing maturity as bowler was shown by the high level of control and accuracy, allowing him to follow on from a successful test series by snatching 4-46. Jimmy Anderson, though wicket-less, was zippy, accurate and inexpensive yet again. The pair will prove pivotal in the rest of the summer so bear this in mind for your Ashes 2009 betting.
Batting-wise Ravi Bopara again impressed, knocking a speedy 43, while the recalled Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood finished things off in style. It is also important to point out that the win was acquired without Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, a trick the team will have to manage regularly if Flintoff’s injury problems continue.
But despite the win and impressive figures you have to consider this was a West Indies side looking particularly uninterested. They couldn’t blame the cold weather this time as the sun beamed down at Bristol, but even that didn’t inspire them into offering much resistance to England’s bowlers on what was pretty much a flat wicket.
Chris Gayle, who has hardly been a shining example for young potential captains out there recently, again set the tone for the West Indies innings, giving his wicket away with a lazy, sloppy shot that has seemingly summed up his commitment to this series. Paul Collingwood, while a steady bowler, is not really the type you would expect to rip through an international batting order. Yet he did, snaring the wickets of Bravo, Ramdin and Pollard to leave the tourists floundering on 150-8.
The players will do it all again on Tuesday at Edgbaston and Gayle has said he believes his side will carry more fight to England in the Midlands. But I can’t help but feel his spat with Andrew Strauss and his comments about the future of test cricket still resonate around the dressing room, and have had a direct impact on their half-hearted performances.
But with little under two weeks till their opening ICC World Twenty20 match with Australia they won’t have to put up with the irritance that is the longer form of the game for much longer.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they are counting down the days.