Taylor rips England apart
England were blown away in sensational fashion as they careered to defeat in the opening Test against West Indies at Sabina Park.
Faced with a first-innings deficit of 74 after bowling West Indies out for 392 this morning, the tourists managed a meagre 51 second time around.
It was their third lowest total in Test history, and not only left them nursing an innings-and-23-run loss inside four days, but also facing the challenge of lifting the spirits of a team so comprehensively outplayed today.
Jerome Taylor was the architect behind England’s demise - he ripped the heart out of the top and middle order with astonishing figures of 5-11 from nine faultless overs - while Sulieman Benn administered the last rites to finish with 4-31 and eight wickets in the match.
Only Andrew Flintoff, who made 24, managed double figures as England were hustled out in little more than 33 overs on a day that evoked painful memories of their humbling for 46 by the same opponents in Trinidad 15 years ago.
While West Indies - and the devastating Taylor, in particular - deserve high praise for a display that touched greatness this afternoon, the outcome in Jamaica represented a miserable start to Andrew Strauss’ permanent reign as England captain.
Little went wrong for West Indies today, who were grateful for some more lower-order resistance as they added 40 to their overnight total of 352 for seven, despite Stuart Broad registering his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests.
The story of the day, though, was written when England began their second innings - and it made miserable reading for the travelling fans.
Bowling full and fast, and moving the new ball both ways in the air and off the seam, Taylor claimed five wickets either side of lunch to reduce England to a scarcely believable 26 for seven on a surface that was far from perilous.
England never recovered from losing Alastair Cook to the first ball of Taylor’s second over, caught by a juggling Devon Smith at second slip as he aimed a flat-footed prod at a delivery of full length.
Ian Bell, attempting to cut Benn, fell to what proved to be the last ball before lunch, but perhaps the most telling blow arrived immediately after the interval.
The immaculate Taylor was, almost inevitably, responsible, producing as good an outswinger as you are likely to see in this or any other series to send Kevin Pietersen’s off stump cartwheeling.
Strauss, Paul Collingwood and Matt Prior succumbed in the space of 10 balls from Taylor, the stands swelling with every wicket as news spread around Kingston of a mauling in the making.
Taylor found Strauss’ edge as he pushed forward, bowled Collingwood courtesy of an inside edge, and produced a superb off-cutter to bowl Prior through the gate.
By the time a shell-shocked England lost Broad without scoring - he turned Benn straight to Xavier Marshall at short-leg - thoughts had long since shifted towards avoiding their lowest Test total, the 45 they mustered against Australia in Sydney in 1887.
Flintoff, accompanied by Ryan Sidebottom, spared the tourists that embarrassment during a doughty eighth-wicket alliance, but it was a measure of the tourists’ travails that the first boundary did not arrive until the 28th over.
A miscued swat over mid-on from Flintoff, a stroke which smacked of frustration, carried England beyond the 46 they managed at Port of Spain in 1994, but success was relative on a throughly dispiriting day for the tourists.
Sidebottom failed with a referral after being adjudged leg before playing back to Benn, Flintoff perished aiming an ugly heave across the line at Fidel Edwards, and Steve Harmison was bowled sweeping to give the left-arm spinner match figures of 8-108.
Benn had earlier made a useful contribution with the bat, extending his eighth-wicket stand with Brendan Nash, who made 55, to 30.
They both fell victim to Broad, whose 5-85 return bettered his previous Test-best of 3-44 - against South Africa at the Brit Oval last August - and Daren Powell hung around briefly before he was adjudged caught down the leg side off Harmison, despite a referral and replays suggesting otherwise.
Taylor ensured it mattered little in the grand scheme of things.