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09 Mar 2009 11:38
England’s Stuart Broad launched into a tirade about the docile nature of the pitches in the Caribbean, after another long, hard day for England in the field against West Indies in the fifth and final Test on Sunday.
England trail in the series 0-1, following an innings and 23-run defeat in the opening Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica.
After the second Test at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua was aborted because of an unsuitable outfield, England have encountered flat pitches in the third Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground and the fourth Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Both Tests ended in draws, leaving England desperate for a victory at the Queen’s Park Oval to level the series and retain the Wisden Trophy, symbol of Test supremacy between the two sides.
But the Oval has produced another featherbed, and the beanpole Broad feels frustrated that there has not been enough in the surfaces to provide genuine contests between bat and ball.
“I think the pitches have been terrible to be quite honest,” he said.
“Throughout the series, it’s not been a fair battle between bat and ball.
“I don’t know the exact stats, but it must be nearly 20 hundreds and four five wicket hauls, which hardly creates fair, exciting cricket.”
West Indies captain Chris Gayle’s 10th Test hundred on Sunday, an even, undefeated 100, before he was forced to immediately retire hurt after reaching the milestone carried the tally to 14 hundreds in the series.
Broad snared the first five-wicket haul in the series in Jamaica, where Jerome Taylor’s incisive spell routed England for their third-lowest Test total of 51 before their off-spinner Graeme Swann distinguished himself with two hauls of five wickets.
“You’ve got youngsters watching,” Broad said. I remember watching the [Mike] Atherton-[Allan] Donald battles and such, and you don’t get fair battles like that on pitches like this.
“But that’s what we’re dealt, and it’s probably our fault for getting rolled in Jamaica that they’ve created such flat pitches.
Broad added: “But we’re playing for our country, we’re always going to run in and try to get wickets, but it’s disheartening when the ball is not doing anything and it’s so good for batsmen.
“But that seems to be the way Test cricket is going and hopefully we’ll realise soon that we need to have some balance between bat and ball.”
Broad remained confident that England could still gain the upper hand, particularly if they can make inroads into West Indies’ batting early on the penultimate day.
“It was quite a frustrating day with quite a few chances not going to hand and landing short and a few poor umpiring decisions, but it’s one of those days,” he said.
“Hopefully, [on Monday] we can come in and hit them hard before lunch and knock them over.”—Sapa-AFP
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