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August 18, 2000
Photos © CricInfo
This was as euphoric a day for England cricketers as they could have dreamed of. For West Indies it was humiliation heaped upon disaster throughout the second day as they surrendered in the most ignominious fashion to go down by an innings and 39 runs in the fourth Test.
To be one up in the series with just one Test to come, is a great position to be in. What is important for England is to maintain the momentum gained in this Test. They showed all the right qualities, there was application when it was required at the start of the day, a determination to win and aggression all through the latter half of the day when West Indies' batsmen were struggling to survive.
That inability to despatch an apparently stricken opponent that has prevailed so often, with England, in similar circumstances in the recent past, was not there this time as they, ruthlessly demolished the West Indies innings.
With the match much in the balance at the start of the day, after the tourists had dismissed half the England side for 96 on the previous evening and then removed the nightwatchman, England batsmen applied themselves to their task with diligence, realising the importance of a first innings lead. The one advantage they had was that they batted practically all the way down the order.
Man-of-the-match Michael Vaughan and Graeme Hick ensured that their side's eventual lead would be substantial, with an invaluable stand which ended just two short of a century.
After Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh had produced their customary spell of fine bowling, Vaughan and Hick took runs more freely from the others, although the two veteran fast bowlers also received some punishment in a later spell. West Indies fielding became ragged and catches went down, particularly an easy one from Dominic Cork that Wavell Hinds dropped and the ground fielding was appalling at times.
England were well in the lead - by fifty runs - by the time Hick, having reached his eighteenth Test century was dismissed. Vaughan's was the penultimate wicket to fall, his 76 was the result of a determined effort that immensly helped England to a vitally important hundred-run lead in such a low scoring match.
From half-way through the second session of play, it was the story of England's bowlers. Their ascendency was from the outset as they totally dominated the afternoon. Darren Gough struck two early blows, with consecutive balls he removed Adrian Griffith and Wavell Hinds, both without scoring. Then in his next over he had Brian Lara padding up to a ball for the second time in the match, to be dismissed for two.
Gough finally completed his haul of four wickets, having Sherwin Campbell caught at slip and West Indies, on 21 for 4, looked a beaten, thoroughly outplayed team and looked subdued. Jimmy Adams resisted for a brief period, taking the score to 49 before falling to Dominic Cork.
Therafter, it was Andy Caddick's turn to be in the limelight for the rest of the innings as he finished off, taking all the remaining five wickets. In an inspired fifteen ball-spell he took those five for five runs. It was remarkable bowling and England were unstoppable.
This was an extraordinary victory and the first time since 1912 that England had won a Test match in this country inside two days. It remains to be seen if West Indies have the strength to bounce back to square the series at the Oval.
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