West Indies v England: Jonny Bairstow is one of the best players in the country

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BUMBLE ON THE TEST: I hope the penny has FINALLY dropped that Jonny Bairstow is one of the best players in England… while West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite batted like he had a nosebleed before lunch

  • Jonny Bairstow is the one England mess about, now he’s got eight Test hundreds
  • It was great to hear Gareth Batty talk about job as Surrey’s interim head coach
  • Chris Woakes kicked off with opening spell of 3-0-23-0 and was all over the oche
  • It was perfect from Mark Wood and Ben Stokes to take the pitch out of equation
  • REPORT – Jason Holder holds firm for West Indies after England fightback

England’s opening Test match in West Indies is tantalisingly poised after an even second day in Antigua.

The tourists were bowled out for 311 before starting poorly with the ball, only to then fight back with four wickets in the afternoon session. But Jason Holder and Nkrumah Bonner then showed resilience in a rain-affected final session.

Sportsmail‘s DAVID LLOYD offers his views and insights after another enthralling day’s play at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Time to let Bairstow cash in 

Jonny Bairstow, what can I say. He’s always the one England mess about, yet he’s now got eight Test match hundreds. 

He’s been in and out, behind the stumps, then not, and has batted from one to seven. 

Hopefully, the penny’s finally dropped that he is one of the best players in the country. Stop messing him about — and let him cash in.

England must stop messing about with Jonny Bairstow, who at 32 is in his prime

England must stop messing about with Jonny Bairstow, who at 32 is in his prime

Surrey’s Batty talks the talk

It was fascinating on Wednesday lunchtime to hear Gareth Batty talk about his new job as Surrey’s interim head coach and accepting how the game changed so rapidly in his 25 years as a player. 

I first knew him as an England Under 19 cricketer. He could be quite volatile back then but here he sounded very level and promised to be proactive in his new role. 

With it being Surrey, he will be expected to win a pot or two and I hope he does because that might get him the job permanently.

Kraigg goes run crazy

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite batted like he had a nosebleed on Wednesday. 

It’s normally like watching a fire go out when he plays but there he was rocking along at a run-a-ball before lunch. 

Turns out he’s partial to a few gentle leg-side half-volleys. Aren’t we all!

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was rocking along at a run-a-ball before lunch

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was rocking along at a run-a-ball before lunch

Vinnie is a right fox terror!

My fox terriers Scrappy and Spot are settling in nicely, as is the local builder Charlie’s seven-month-old Vinnie. 

The way he behaves, you’d think he was named after the former Crazy Gang footballer Vinnie Jones. He’s already been red carded from one local dog groomers and cautioned, and warned about his future conduct, at a second. 

He is also very amorous. He’s got his eyes on our Spot. Heaven help us if we get a litter of Vinnies running about!

Nonsense to snub Wood for Woakes

Yet another cunning plan from England! You have a bowler that generates speeds of 93mph but throw the new ball to someone who sends it down at 80 because you want to keep it tight. 

Chris Woakes kicked off with an opening spell of 3-0-23-0. He was all over the oche. Overlooking Mark Wood was like ignoring Fred Trueman for Trevor Bailey or Devon Malcolm for Mark Ealham. 

Steve Harmison used to get similar treatment, unfortunately. Don’t forget when Wood was in the West Indies last time, he really put the wind up them.

Chris Woakes kicked off with an opening spell of 3-0-23-0 and was all over the oche

Chris Woakes kicked off with an opening spell of 3-0-23-0 and was all over the oche

Bowler tactics hit mark

The surface will change as the match goes on and the spinners will come into it as the cracks open but, given its slowness on day two, it was perfect tactically from Mark Wood and Ben Stokes to take the pitch out of the equation by bowling very full and looking for reverse swing. 

If you position mid-on and mid-off straight, the batsman is encouraged to play across the ball and that invites danger.

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