I know the weather has been making the papers in the UK but its got nothing on the coverage we received following our defeat in Kingston - and the criticism is nothing less than we deserve.
We won the toss but then made a total that was probably 70 or 80 runs short of what we should have scored. I thought we fought hard as a unit with the ball despite the start that the West Indies got, on a wicket that didn't offer too much in the way of encouragement. We got the last nine wickets for less than 200 which was encouraging and we must have bowled in decent areas, as the runs were scored at barely two runs an over.
Obviously our second innings was hugely disappointing. We went down very weakly without any apparent fight or commitment. It sometimes happens like that in cricket and I cannot begin to describe how gutted the dressing room was.
I suppose we have just got to take our medicine, apologise to the fans and move on to Antigua - where we have a chance to make up for it.
Putting aside what was, in the end, a poor result, I was pleased with my own performance. This was my first game back for England after being injured for a number of months and I was pretty happy with my performance with both bat and ball. I made an unbeaten 26 in the first innings and then batted for nearly an hour in the second innings, before being adjudged leg before.
I referred the decision, which was eventually upheld. I'd have to say, with the technology not being 100 per cent, we could be better off just leaving decisions solely to the umpires, until the technology becomes watertight and removes any reasonable doubt.
I bowled in decent areas but was maybe a bit down on pace. That will come though and I've been working hard in the nets, with my rhythm improving all the time and am now getting a bit more behind the ball.
I was gutted not to take a wicket - I always am - but was really chuffed for Stuart Broad, who got his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket. As bowlers, it's crucial we hunt as a pack and if we keep it tight and ask questions, at least one of us will be rewarded with wickets.
We've worked extremely hard in preparing for the second Test match and are doing everything possible to ensure that we are on the boil on Friday and ready to go.
It looks like being another decent wicket in Antigua - similar to the ones we have played at already in St Kitts and Jamaica. Having said that, Australia took six wickets for 40 runs with a ball that reverse swung in June last year, so there may be opportunities for the quicker bowlers.
There's been a lot written about the atmosphere in the dressing room but I can tell you that everyone gets on and there's been no falling out amongst the squad.
Maybe a weakness of us getting on so well, is that we might not always challenge each other over our performances, but there have been a few home truths since the Jamaica Test. We are well aware that recent Test results - losing to South Africa and India - are not good enough and we will do everything we can to turn it around.
Last night we ate out together as a team and were chatting about the match coming up and that kind of stuff. The boys are desperate to come back into the series and do the supporters over here and back home proud.
I hope you've not been too affected by the weather in the UK and be assured that we will be busting a gut in Antigua to provide some winter cheer for you.
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Dave Robbie says...
So this was a wake up call for England. That must be about the sixth or seventh wake up call over the last 3 years. However, as Paul Collingwood said, they showed their true character by beating New Zealand after losing the first test. Good for them. Of course they had those slight blips by losing series to Australia, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka, but hey you can't win them all. Also embarrasing performances in the World Cup and the 20/20 series but every team has an occasional dip in form. It just seems that England's seem to last for 3 years out of every 4. Obviously the fact that the same players have been involved in all these blips has nothing to do with it.....
Posted 12:29 12th February 2009
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