July 15, 2000

Skill, Accuracy, Mastery - It's England!

Mullally and Gough
Mullally and Gough - West Indians cannot break potent mixture
Photo © CricInfo

Riverside, lunchtime: West Indies 169/8 (50 overs); England to bat

Fine control by the English bowlers restricted the West Indian total to a mere 169 for eight wickets. They combined skill and accuracy in such a potent mixture that none of the West Indian batsmen were able to dominate them, and even Lara was forced to play a restrained innings.

NatWest Series

Mullally was again in the forefront, returning the fine figures of three for 27 in his ten overs, while none of England's five main bowlers conceded as many as four runs an over. It was a superb performance in the field, and all that remains now is for their batsmen to ensure that they complete a relatively simple task.

Pressure breaks West Indies' resolve

As the total reached 100 with three wickets down in the 31st over, the match was in the balance. England were still applying the pressure with fine bowling, but with Lara and Hinds established at the crease they appeared set to take control and build a possibly match-winning partnership for the West Indies.

It was West Indies who broke. Lara fell for 54 just after the West Indian hundred came up; trying to pull Ealham, he skyed a catch to mid-off where Flintoff took the catch comfortably running round from mid-on. West Indies were 104 for four. Then, in Caddick's next over and without a run added, Hinds (26) drove powerfully, only for Thorpe at extra cover to dive to his left and take a brilliant low catch.

Frustration forces batting errors

Thorpe missed a chance of inflicting further damage on the tourists when, with the score still on 104, Powell attempted a risky single into covers, was sent back, and Thorpe's shy missed the stumps with the batsman still out of his ground. Powell and Jacobs had to rebuild the innings starting from scratch, under pressure of time. They batted well for a while but were unable to dominate. Powell selected his shots well at first but grew frustrated, eventually pulling Mullally high to deep square leg where Trescothick took a good running catch. He made 15; West Indies 134 for six.

Mullally's fielding was not quite on a par with his bowling, as Jacobs skyed White high to long-off and he misjudged it completely. It was not to prove expensive, however, as next ball Jacobs (25) swung at a ball down the leg side and touched it to the keeper; 162 for seven in the 49th over. In the final over Rose (18) skyed Mullally to Flintoff et extra cover; McLean finished unbeaten on 3, but England's control had never wavered.