May 27, 2000

West Indies: Cool hands steady ship

St. John's 'With the single-mindedness and diligent application on which their records and reputations are built, captain Jimmy Adams and Shivnarine Chanderpaul steered the West Indies out of potential crisis into a position of strength on the second day of the third Test here yesterday.

The two left-handers, the most experienced batsmen in a team temporarily without the commanding direction of Brian Lara, carried the score from an insecure 84 for three, 40 minutes after lunch, to 214 without being separated when fading light ended a day extended to 6:06 p.m. by the sluggish over-rate and a rain break.

Their unbroken partnership of 130 occupied the last hour and three-quarters and, already the highest for the West Indies in their two Tests against Pakistan at the ARG, has built the foundation for as sizeable a lead as the 145 in the second Test at Kensington last week.

The West Indies are within 55 of Pakistan's first innings that was swiftly wrapped up by the perennial Courtney Walsh.

Chanderpaul resumes this morning on 68, after desperately battling through a beginning as precarious as any he could have ever endured.

Adams is 60 and the state of the match is heavily dependent on how much further they can extend their stand.

After Wavell Hind's careless run out brought them together, they took the hour and 20 minutes to tea to unravel the mysteries of Mushtaq Ahmed.

They countered his flighted leg-breaks and googlies more with pad than bat and survived a succession of raucous appeals of varying authenticity for lbw and close catches.

Chanderpaul prodded his first ball, from Mushtaq, on the half-volley to short-leg and, at the opposite end, was relieved to gain the benefit of umpire Billy Doctrove's doubt on the closest decision of the day, an lbw against Wasim Akram when he had scored only a single.

Gradually, Chanderpaul's static feet began to chip down the pitch to drive with certainty and Adams found the purpose for which the bat is made.

Both cut with certainty, Adams revealing one so late off Saqlain Mushtaq that keeper and slip were standing when the ball flashed past them.

Adams reached out to drive two half-volleys to the cover boundary and Chanderpaul favoured drives through midwicket and mid-on.

They added 45 from 15 overs in the hour to drinks and after their flow was interrupted by a sharp shower that stopped play for 35 minutes, they resumed in similarly defiant mood to comfortably bat through the last 17 overs before the light meters, and a little coaxing from Adams brought proceedings to an end.

The West Indies' early troubles were created as much by the Pakistani bowling as their own careless cricket.

Sherwin Campbell rattled up 31 off 44 balls with five meaty boundaries, three off successive balls from Akram, and an all-run four into the vast leg-side. He then pulled Mushtaq's fifth ball into midwicket's lap.

After Campbell's left-handed partner Adrian Griffith's tortured 22, with two chances, was ended by Mushtaq's googly that bowled him round his legs, Hinds, the century-maker of the second Test, was again in fluent touch before he ran himself out for 26.

He was just settling in, lofting Mushtaq for an overhead four, when he pushed the leg-spinner into the off-side and set off for an unlikely run.

Chanderpaul correctly stood his ground at the non-striker's end and Hinds could not stop and turn in time to beat the bowler's pick-up and return to wicket-keeper Moin Khan.

As Adams passed his young Jamaican team-mate on the way to the middle, the West Indies' innings was at the crossroads.

Once again, the captain and Chanderpaul would draw on their well-established defiance to point it in the right direction.

The West Indies had to wait less than ten minutes of the start before they could return to the pavilion as Walsh the Wonder, Test cricket's oldest player, continued to defy the calendar.

He took only six balls to complete the Pakistan innings.

He despatched Waqar with a bouncer miscued to square-leg where Ramnaresh Sarwan expertly held a catch running backwards and Mushtaq Ahmed with a leg-cutter touched to the keeper.

It was the 17th time in his 117 Tests that Walsh had accounted for half the opposition or more.

His quick demolition left Yousuf Youhanna, who held Pakistan together on the first day with his second hundred in successive Tests, unbeaten with a chanceless 103 and unable to make any further impression.