May 9, 2000

Fourth day's play washed out

Georgetown (Guyana), May 8: A tropical downpour flooded large parts of the Bourda pitch on Monday and washed out the fourth day of the first Test between West Indies and Pakistan.

It had been raining all through the night after play on the third day had been called off before time with West Indies on 222 for seven in their first innings in reply to Pakistan's 288.

Umpires Steve Bucknor of the West Indies and his South African colleague did not even bother to step out on to the ground on th fourth morning as rain continued to pour down.

From the steps of the pavilion balcony Koertzen signalled to the media box the decision of the umpires that play will not be possible at all.

It will be a miracle even on the final day tomorrow (Tuesday) if any play gets under way with more rain forecast in the next 24 hours and the field increasingly waterlogged.

Like most of Georgetown, which is protected from the Atlantic ocean by a wall, the Bourda pitch lies one metre below sea level and is notoriously slow to drain.

The teams also did not appear at the ground, realizing well that it will be nigh impossible for the opening Test to restart.

When Pakistan captain Moin Khan was contacted he obviously showed his disappointment saying that his side had a fair chance of going into the second Test at Barbados with a 1-0 lead.

"I think we could have bowled them out on the fourth morning gaining at least a 30-run lead which in the end could have mattered a lot after we had batted second time and set West Indies a target," he said.

West Indies fought back from a poor start to reach 222 for seven in their first innings on a curtailed third day's play on Sunday. The home side are still 66 runs short of Pakistan's score of 288.

Their recovery was brought about by a record seventh wicket partnership of 74 between the obdurate Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Nixon McLean after Pakistan had reduced them to 139 for six.

West Indies lost skipper Jimmy Adams to the fourth ball of the day when Mushtaq had him nicely held low at slip by Younis Khan for 20. Television umpire Colin Alfred was called in to adjudicate after Adams stood his ground.

Chris Gayle, one of the seven left-handers in the West Indies line-up, hit a couple of lusty blows but holed out to Wasim Akram at wide mid-on off Mushtaq. He made 13.

Wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs was run out for six in a terrible mix-up with Chanderpaul. Wajahatullah Wasti's return to Mushtaq at the bowler's end left Jacobs stranded by miles.

But then Chanderpaul and fellow left-hander McLean combined together to take West Indies at tea at 174 for six. After the interval, McLean, by far the more aggressive of the two batsmen, improved his previous best score of 39 against South Africa at Cape Town last season before the second new ball was claimed by Moin Khan.

With his score on 46, McLean was taken at second slip by Inzamam-ul-Haq inches off Waqar Younis. The 74-run partnership in 133 minutes had erased the previous best against Pakistan for the seventh wicket of 70 between Clive Lloyd and Joel Garner at Bridgetown in 1976-77. McLean's 95-ball innings contained eight boundaries.

Chanderpaul's 46 off 172 balls at stumps had already occupied the crease for just over four hours. He hit three fours.

Curtly Ambrose survived some anxious moments against Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis to remain unbeaten on two.