August 5, 2000

West Indies fightback should ensure close contest

Cornhill Insurance

Old Trafford, close of play: West Indies 157 & 131/1; England 303

In a fascinating day's cricket, the balance swung from one side to the other almost from beginning to end. England lost three quick wickets, but some sound batting down the order eventually enabled them to recover and total 303, a lead of 146. West Indies fought back again, however, showing much more application with the bat second time round, and had scored 131 of these for the loss of only Sherwin Campbell by the close. With two days to play and England to bat last, the match is now wide open.

England resumed at their overnight score of 196 for three, but were soon to lose both overnight batsmen. Alec Stewart (105) fished at Curtly Ambrose's second ball, just outside off stump, and snicked a regulation catch to keeper Ridley Jacobs, while Trescothick (66) was unluckily bowled off the pad by Walsh. When King bowled White (6) through the gate, England were 210 for six, and Michael Vaughan needed to consolidate with Dominic Cork.

When Ambrose took the second new ball just before lunch, he soon had Cork (16) caught at the wicket in similar fashion to Stewart; England 251 for seven.

After the interval Croft went for his strokes impressively, but Vaughan's stabilising innings came to an end at 29, driving at Ambrose to be caught by Lara at first slip; England 275 for eight. Caddick (3) was adjudged lbw to Ambrose, then Croft (27 not out) and Gough (12) batted breezily for the last wicket before the latter swung at King and the thick outside edge was caught by Ambrose at third man. Ambrose and Walsh, not unexpectedly, had taken four wickets each.

England began the West Indian second innings with some purposeful bowling, but Sherwin Campbell and Adrian Griffith were not to be cowed. They had put on 35 by tea, and survived thereafter until the score reached 96, with Campbell (55) much the dominant partner. He fell to a flier from White, with Cork in the gully picking up a good diving catch off his glove.

Wavell Hinds soon announced himself with some powerful leg-side strokes and at the close was still there with 20, partnered by the dour Griffith (41). West Indies were now only 15 runs behind with nine second-innings wickets in hand, and the match is right back in the melting pot.