10th over: England 89-0 (Bairstow 53, Hales 34) Hales backs away to give himself room, Nurse spots his movement and chases him, but Hales still gets enough on it to send the ball square for four. And for England the over improves from there: a dot, a couple more fours and then a mighty bosh over midwicket for six! What a start England are making here, rocking along at 1.48 runs a ball.
9th over: England 70-0 (Bairstow 53, Hales 15) Carlos Brathwaite has a bowl. After a couple of early singles Bairstow finds an impressive variety of ways to pick out a fielder. “At the risk of prolonging the debate (who am I kidding) on Alistair’s trousers, I agree with Dan,” writes Matt Emerson. “No self-respecting person wears a morning suit that has belt loops. I’m assuming that his trousers have a fishtail back and as such will have side buckles plus brace buttons. It’s pretty clear our new knight of the realm isn’t wearing braces, which would help, but his waistband would have to be north of his navel and heading towards Simon Cowell country in order to give the trouser a gentle break on the shoe. Just because Chef is now a gentleman farmer, there’s really no need to dress like one when he’s in Town. And that before we get started on his attempt at a Windsor knot.”
8th over: England 68-0 (Bairstow 52, Hales 14) Nurse comes up with a bit of medicine for West Indies, delivering four dots and a couple of singles.
7th over: England 66-0 (Bairstow 51, Hales 13) A double helping of spin, with Devendra Bishoo into the action, and he feeds Bairstow a couple of sugar lumps. Bairstow heaves the first over cow corner and into the stand, and heaves the second over corner and even further into the stand! This prompts the bowler to go a bit fuller, which Bairstow doesn’t mind at all, slogging it over midwicket. Though it might have gone a little closer to the fielder in the deep than he would have liked, it’s another maximum!
6th over: England 47-0 (Bairstow 33, Hales 12) A change of pace with Ashley Nurse, and after four deliveries Bairstow goes for the big heave-ho, needing to do little more than plant his front foot and swing his bat, and it goes all the way!
5th over: England 39-0 (Bairstow 25, Hales 12) Bairstow drives through cover but Holder gets his fingers to it a few inches before the rope and the batsmen run three, and then Hales nicks one gently towards slip, but it gets nowhere near carrying and Gayle blocks it with his wrist. The final delivery is pulled mightily into the stands for a maximum!. “Slightly surprised by Cooky’s trouser problem,” says Robin Hazlehurst. “Assuming he has done what any of us would when popping down to the palace and just grabbed his old school trousers, it’s not surprising they don’t fit. But that’s normally because they’re too tight, not too loose – who retires from international sport and loses weight?!”
4th over: England 28-0 (Bairstow 20, Hales 6) Womp! Holder pitches one a bit short and Bairstow thumps it over midwicket for four! Then he cracks the next square for another! And then the one after that goes back over the bowler’s head with just enough pace to roll to the rope!
3rd over: England 13-0 (Bairstow 5, Hales 6) Just a single run from Cottrell’s second over. “Putting aside the length of Cook’s Moss Bros bags, what on Earth is he wearing on his feet? Overshoes?” boggles Paul Ward. They look pretty shoeish to me, but then my fashion sense is basically nonexistent.
2nd over: England 12-0 (Bairstow 4, Hales 6) A trio of twos here for Hales, the second of which could probably have been cut off at cover but the fielder dives over the ball.
1st over: England 5-0 (Bairstow 4, Hales 0) Sheldon Cottrell’s first delivery goes down the leg side for a wide, but the over improves from there, with a fine yorker, well dealt with by Bairstow, the highlight. He again lets himself down with the final ball, though, which is a little straight and clipped away for four.. “I agree with Matt Emerson’s view that Sir Alistair’s trousers are too low, but not that he needs a belt,” insists Dan Hemming. “The picture isn’t clear but it is much more likely that morning suit trousers would have side buckles rather than belt loops. And if they don’t do the job he should be wearing braces. But, y’know, 12,472 test runs and all that.”
We’re still waiting, while some important sightscreen-related work is undertaken.
Important sartorial news: “It’s not that Cook’s trousers are too long,” writes Matthew Grant, “it’s that they are sitting too low. You can see his waistband below his waistcoat. They need a yank up, and he needs a belt!”
Sky’s big pre-match interview was with Andre Russell, called back from Pakistan after Kemar Roach’s injury, it was assumed that after all that effort he would be in the team. But he isn’t.
Alex Hales will open for England, which he has done plenty of times but not for a while. It’s a chance for some pre-World Cup stake-claiming.
“I yield to no man in my admiration for Alistair Cook’s abilities as Test match cricketer,” writes Matt Emerson, “but for the love of God could he not find a pair of sponge bag trousers that weren’t four inches too long for him? Where did he go, High & Mighty?”
For England, Ben Stokes replaces Jason Roy, who has “picked up a niggle”. Eoin Morgan says:
Obviously with the rained off game the other day there was a lot of toing and froing. Today should be different on what looks a really good wicket.
West Indies win the toss and will field
They have gone with the same team that beat England in game two. Jason Holder says:
It seems a pretty good surface. There seems to be a bit of moisture and hopefully our fast bowlers can get something from that, and when we come to bat it should be a better wicket.
Ali Martin has watched England’s warm-ups, and thinks they have given him a clue or two about their team selection:
I’m still waiting for the first pictures from Grenada to drop into our system, but I do have some action shots of one English cricketer from yesterday:
First things first: it is unlikely to rain in Grenada today, so we will be spared successive wash-outs. The series is as well balanced as it could possibly be at 1-1, after two excellent matches and one dull drizzlefest, and with two to play whoever wins this one will take with it control of the series. Another excellent encounter can be confidently expected, in front of a Grenadan crowd that has not had any international cricket to cheer for four years. So, in short, I am excited. Welcome!