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‘They bowled fantastically well’ – Moeen Ali rues England collapse

Moeen Ali Joe Root
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Moeen Ali, the England all-rounder, lamented England’s batting collapse on day two of the first Test against West Indies, where they were bundled out for 77 in the first innings.

The West Indies pacers, particularly Kemar Roach, ran through the England batting line-up. The hosts then posted 126-6 to extend their lead to 339 at stumps on the second day.

“It was a disappointing day,” said Ali after play on Thursday, January 24. “There are always going to be guys who played a bad shot or who took the wrong option. Even when 40-odd for four, we always think we have the batting and that someone will put their hand up. Today wasn’t the day. They bowled fantastically well with good pace and managed to get us out.”

Many were surprised by Joe Root’s decision to leave out Stuart Broad from the XI and play Sam Curran along with the spin duo of Ali and Adil Rashid instead. The ploy hasn’t worked so far, with 85 per cent of the wickets falling to pacers.

Should England have dropped a spinner for Broad? “That’s a tough question but as a player, you go with what is selected – you can’t afford to look back,” Ali said.

“Everyone will have their opinion. I would have played two spinners looking at that pitch. But no matter what the team is, as players you have to go out there and perform.”

Roach, on the other hand, was delighted with his performance on the day: the pacer returned 5-17 to claim his eighth five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

“We had good plans. The guys out there hit the nail on the head. Today was my day, but second innings could be someone else’s. The guys have been very, very disciplined,” he said.

“I’m happy with my performance today, and to restrict the English to as low as possible and give ourselves a big lead. Proud of my achievement. I have been around for a while, and to be able to take my first fifer at home, is a special feeling.”

The pacer believes that a 400-run target will be difficult for England to chase in the final innings on a pitch that’s “jumpy and uneven”.

“A lead of 300 is good going into the third day,” Roach added. “But the pitch has toughened up a little bit for the batsmen, so we just need to put runs on the board. It’s a bit jumpy, a bit uneven, some balls are keeping a bit low. I think the aim is just to make the batsmen play as much as possible.

“You can go fuller [on this pitch] and bring them forward, that’s most important, and create some chances and put the batsmen under a lot of pressure. The aim [was] not to bat last on this pitch. It’s a tough one, and 400 runs on the board is going to be tough for the English.”

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