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England v West Indies 2020: Never mind flourish, Dominic Sibley gets the job done

Dom Sibley is proving to be England
Dom Sibley is proving to be England's rock.
Aryan Surana
ANALYST
Modified 17 Jul 2020
Feature

The video editors who compile the daily post-game highlights package might well be forgiven for scratching their heads. Dominic Sibley accumulated an unbeaten 86 to ensure England claim the honors on the opening day, but heck, only four balls that left his phlegmatic willow reached the fence.

To compound matters, the first two of those elusive boundaries came off gawky leading edges hurtling down the third-man region. The flicks through mid-wicket off Kemar Roach were the lone strokes during his marathon-effort worthy of any distinction. The remainder of Sibley's vigil was pure graft, one that could put the master of the trade, South Africa's Dean Elgar, to shame.

Sibley blockathon frustrated West Indies

His mechanisms may have defied flair but yielded tremendous results. Despite the pacemen spraying the brand-new cherry all over the place in the morning session, Sibley not just curbed the instinct to flash his blade at the plethora of tempters but also displayed admirable restraint outside the off-stump.

When the odd one misbehaved from the seven-meter length, his nimble defensive technique prevented the nicks from carrying through to the slip cordon. He was able to stay out of harm's way when Jason Holder probed in the 'corridor of uncertainty,' even if it meant having to shoulder arms at the last minute with his balance going haywire.

Sibley joined forces with Stokes for a century partnership.
Sibley joined forces with Stokes for a century partnership.

Sibley's knock was of paramount importance from England's perspective given the pitch had begun lurking demons of appreciable grip and turn rather prematurely. To everybody's surprise, Roston Chase drew first blood trapping Rory Burns plumb before having Zac Crawley nabbed at leg slip.

Sibley's tackling of the off-spinner fundamentally revolved around using his wrists to nurdle the ball into the vacant pockets between mid-wicket and backward square leg, his most productive scoring area.

That dots were coming at a premium off Chase's bowling prompted Holder to employ his fast bowlers from both ends earlier than they'd anticipated. Taking into account that Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel were struggling to find rhythm, it was imperative that Sibley marched out of his self-imposed leash.

Cautiously indeed, he began to exercise greater authority henceforward with reference to maneuvering the gaps and infusing more purpose into his shot-making.

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By no means was Sibley's innings devoid of indiscretions though. In fact, he enjoyed the rub of the green twice. For starters, he pounced back and clipped Chase straight to forward short leg where Shamarh Brooks spilled the facile chance.

He was reprieved again after accomplishing his half-century when Holder at second slip gobbled up what many term an absolute sitter. The benevolent visitors should be wary of the notion that Sibley boasts a reputation of churning out obdurate daddy hundreds once he crosses the fifty-run landmark.

Sibley has, with that bull-headed modus operandi of his, furnished the calming influence so desperately needed to terminate the musical chairs of England's top-order. He's not a crowd-puller by any stretch of the imagination, but when the chips are down, Sibley can be trusted upon to deliver the goods.

Published 17 Jul 2020, 09:44 IST
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