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March 23, 2004
England 319 and 99 for 3 (Butcher 46*) beat West Indies 208 and 209 by 7 wickets and lead the series 2-0
It didn't take long: inside half-an-hour England had knocked off the 28 runs they needed to secure victory, a 2-0 series lead, and retention of the Wisden Trophy. The last rites came with stunning speed, as Mark Butcher cracked consecutive fours off Adam Sanford, one through the covers, and the winning one straight down the ground.
England will have had one eye on the skies when they woke up this morning, after the umpires controversially took the players off last night. But it dawned fine in Port-of-Spain, meaning it was only a matter of time.
Nonetheless England, so assured in the gloaming last night, made a hesitant start in the bright sunshine. Nasser Hussain survived a close leg-before shout off Sanford's first ball of the day, then nicked his second and was caught behind for 5 (71 for 3). It could have been worse. Before he'd scored, Graham Thorpe edged Sanford, but this time Ridley Jacobs tried to take the regulation chance one-handed, and floored it.
Thorpe wasn't in the mood to hang about, cracking three fours in Sanford's next over, and Butcher was as busy as he had been last night. Brian Lara's trial on the field was mercifully short. But the recriminations around the Caribbean aren't over yet. Already Ricky Skerritt, West Indies' manager, is throwing in the towel. Lara might not be far behind.
Andy Ganteaume - famous for scoring a century in his only Test innings, in 1947-48 - gave the Man of the Match award to Stephen Harmison, for the vital first-innings spell that wrenched back the initiative England's way after Chris Gayle and Devon Smith had kicked the match off with a century partnership.
Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo.
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