August 4, 2000

Walsh prevents England from pressing home advantage

Cornhill Insurance

Old Trafford, tea: West Indies 157 all out, England 47/3 (Stewart 8 Trescothick 24)

England did well to dismiss West Indies for 157 just after lunch on the second day, but once again the pace bowling of veterans Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh set them back as they sought to capitalise on their advantage.

Most of the early running came from Ramnaresh Sarwan, against bowling by Darren Gough and Andy Caddick that was not quite as accurate or as threatening as on the first day. Jimmy Adams seemed to have set his sights on survival but, when still on his overnight 16, he enjoyed the most fortuitous of escapes when he played Caddick hard on to his stumps without dislodging a bail.

The first wicket finally came with the first ball after the drinks break, Sarwan moving across his stumps to be lbw to Dominic Cork for a valuable 36. West Indies were 118 for five, and this was to prove the turning point of the innings. Jacobs (5) was deceived and bowled by a yorker from Caddick, while Adam's dogged vigil came to an end on 24 when he snicked White low to Thorpe at third slip, the fielder^Òs third catch of the innings. At 130 for seven, West Indies had only their bowlers left.

Caddick struck again when Ambrose let fly, only for Hussain at mid-on to pull down a brilliant overhead catch. With some positive strokes from Rose, West Indies went in to lunch on 148 for eight. After the interval two lbw decisions in favour of Cork ended the innings for 157. Cork took four wickets for 23 runs, Caddick three and Gough two. The last six wickets fell in 86 balls for 39 runs. It was a fine performance by England, but that score would be put in its proper perspective by the quality of the English batting. The start of the England innings would be crucial.

Ambrose and Walsh applied full pressure from the start, giving nothing away. An uncomfortable Mike Atherton (1) was caught low down at second slip by Sherwin Campbell off Walsh, and so superb was the bowling that Marcus Trescothick and Nasser Hussain must have wondered where their next run was coming from. After ten overs the score was three, one of them a leg-bye. When Ambrose rested, the pressure relaxed somewhat, but Walsh was still bowling, and he had Hussain (10) caught by Adams in the gully off a flier; England 17 for two. Then Thorpe, first ball, was deceived and trapped lbw by Walsh's slower ball and England's worst fears were being realised. Walsh did not in fact concede a run until his eighth over. Trescothick, fighting gallantly on his debut, and Stewart weathered the storm until tea, when England were 47 for three.