July 1, 2000

English Weather Holds Up England

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Lord's, lunchtime: West Indies 267 and 54; England 134 and 13 for one.

Mike Atherton
Atherton gets
challenge underway

Photo © CricInfo

Cornhill Insurance

England, facing a none too easy target of 188 to win the Lord's Test match against the West Indies, were severely handicapped by their own weather on the third morning. Only 11 overs could be bowled, during which period they scored 13 runs for the loss of Mark Ramprakash's wicket, but more importantly the breaks due to the weather will both prevent their own batsmen from settling in and also allow the key West Indian bowlers Curtly Ambrose and Courteney Walsh to retain their freshness.

A steady drizzle greeted those optimistic enough to turn up for the third day's play, and by 10.40 large areas of the outfield were in the process of being laboriously covered. However, the rain soon stopped and play eventually started at 11.50.

Ramprakash nudged Walsh to third man for two to avoid his pair, but the England plan was obviously once again to block out Walsh and Ambrose and hope to take easier runs off their back-ups. It hadn't worked before, but only those with skill, confidence and technique can hope to attack the ageing pace pair and get away with it. Ramprakash, on today's and this season's showings, does not have all the necessary attributes - but few have. He had not added to his two when he tried to force Walsh off the back foot and chopped the ball on to his stumps via the inside edge. His career as an England opener may be over. England were three for one, and after eight overs it had progressed no further, with Mike Atherton still to score.

    Atherton gets England's challenge underway

Finally a jab off Ambrose past short leg to the vacant mid-on position brought Atherton his first run, off his 23rd ball. The first boundary came in the tenth over as Atherton played a fine forcing stroke backward of point off Walsh; two overs later he had the confidence to hook a no-ball Walsh for another boundary to fine leg. But before another ball could be bowled Jupiter Pluvius returned, the drizzle came down and the players went off with England 13 for one (Atherton 9, Vaughan 0).

The West Indies, for their part, would not be too disappointed as the unscheduled break would allow Ambrose and Walsh to return later fully refreshed. Ambrose, despite his lack of a wicket, was sitting on the remarkable figures of six overs for one run. An early lunch was taken, with play due to resume at 1.30 - weather permitting.