June 29, 2000

England v West Indies

England, one Test down in the five-match series, enjoyed quite a good start to the Second Test at Lord's, restricting the West Indies to 267 for nine by the close. This was particularly impressive considering that the West Indies were at one stage 175 for two and seemingly well-set for a match-winning total. Then England fought back with five wickets for 41 runs either side of tea, four of them falling to Dominic Cork, making a successful return to Test cricket. Darren Gough also bagged four wickets in the innings. Franklyn Rose briefly spoiled the plot, and bearing England's batting failures in mind it would be presumptuous to suggest at this point that they hold the upper hand.

England brought in three Yorkshiremen for the Second Test at Lord's to replace their injured captain Nasser Hussain, Andy Flintoff (also injured) and Ed Giddins. The men in question were Michael Vaughan, Craig White and Matthew Hoggard, the last-named making his Test debut, and Dominic Cork also replaced Robert Croft, as England opted for a five-man pace attack, all right-handers. The West Indies also played no recognized spinner, their only change being Adrian Griffith to open in place of Chris Gayle, as Shivnarine Chanderpaul reported fit to play.

It was an overcast morning, but without any sign of imminent rain, when Alec Stewart won the toss at Lord's and put the West Indies in to bat. The ground was 80% full at the start. As usual England left a gaping black hole on the third-man boundary and the opposition took full advantage, scoring each of their first four boundaries there. The first came in Gough's opening over, as Campbell steered the ball away between slips and gully. He cut Caddick, not very impressive in his opening spell, for another boundary and 14 runs came off the first two overs. 40 came off the first ten, assisted by some very good running between wickets.

Hoggard enjoyed a good maiden to Campbell for his first over in Test cricket, but was not at his fastest. He did not work up a full head of pace, keeping it in the lower eighties, according to the speed gun. Dominic Cork came on to bowl and off his second ball had Griffith dropped off a difficult chance at third slip by Craig White, who got a hand to a ball well to his left. The fifty came up in this the 14th over.

In the hour before lunch England managed to restrain the West Indian batsmen quite well, except for a brief spell when Campbell hit two back-foot fours on the off side off Hoggard to reach his fifty, off 72 balls. In between, though, a false stroke fell just short of the slips.

Craig White came on for Hoggard and actually bowled quicker than his predecessor, as fast and as well as anybody, causing the left-handed Griffith some concern. Caddick also came back to bowl more impressively and by lunch the West Indian openers were still there but unable to dominate as they had threatened. When, though, was the last time that an entire session of Test cricket or a total of 79 runs passed without an extra being recorded? Campbell was on 53 and Griffith on 26.

Griffith threw away his wicket with only the second ball after lunch. He turned Gough to long leg, where Caddick fielded, and decided he wanted two; a fine throw from the fielder found him just short of his crease and West Indies were 80 for one, Griffith out for 27. It was a foolish piece of cricket, especially so soon after an interval.

Gough greeted Wavell Hinds with a bouncer that he only just avoided. In his next over the England team nearly earned themselves an Oscar, although not a wicket, when a bouncer hit the ducking batsman on the forearm and the ball ballooned into the slips for a catch. After a delay that was a split second too long, the team celebrated uproariously but umpire John Hampshire was not to be fooled. Hinds exacted a measure of justice by getting off the mark with a superb hook for four, followed by an off-drive for three. In Gough's next over he drove him beautifully through extra cover for four. This brought up the hundred at the end of the 35th over.

Gough and Caddick bowled well in tandem for a while, keeping the game in the balance, before the batsmen regained the initiative. Hinds in particular played some superb drives through the off-side field, mainly in the extra-cover region, although he was beaten at times. Perhaps a little desperate, with his pacemen looking quite innocuous now against such quality batting, Stewart turned to Vaughan to bowl his flat off-breaks, and he began with a maiden over to Hinds, appealing for lbw off the first ball.

Cork exposed a possible weakness in Hinds' armour, twice bowling leg-side bouncers at which the batsman swung but failed to connect, and then had him ducking to another bouncer. When facing Vaughan again, though, he lofted him easily over mid-off for four and then played a more rustic heave wide of mid-on for another boundary, to reach his fifty off 87 balls. Cork's short ball, though, was to do the trick against Campbell (82), who hooked him in the air down to long leg, where Hoggard took a straightforward catch. The West Indies were 162 for two, both batsmen out having pressed the self-destruct button. By tea they had reached 170 (Hinds 55, Lara 2).

Lara was soon under way after the break, lashing a ball from Gough backward of point for four, although his timing was not perfect. It was not to be his day, as with only 6 to his credit he drove mightily at a full-length ball from Gough some distance outside the off stump and snicked a straightforward catch to the keeper. West Indies were 175 for three.

Chanderpaul was off the mark easily, guiding a ball for four through the black hole at third man, which had earlier been plugged for a while. Hinds, though, nearly committed suicide in the same way as Griffith by running himself out, taking an unnecessary quick single to White at mid-off and only just beating the direct hit on the stumps, thanks to the extra coating on the foot of his bat. The gloom was closing in, though, and the umpires perhaps rather generously offered the light to the batsmen, who decided to depart on 181 for three (Hinds 57, Chanderpaul 5). A gradual improvement meant that play was scheduled to restart at 5 p.m.

Some tight bowling by Gough and Cork tied the West Indians down when play resumed. Hinds moved to 59 when he drove rather loosely at a ball from Cork outside the off stump, to be given out caught at the wicket from a fine edge, umpire Venkataraghavan giving the decision. West Indies were 185 for four, and it was Cork's 100th Test wicket. No record has been kept of how many appeals it took to get him there.

Jimmy Adams perhaps unwisely padded up to his first ball, but Venkataraghavan turned down an impassioned and close lbw appeal. He took a single, faced up to Gough and was promptly given out lbw by umpire Hampshire, the ball pitching on leg stump and appearing destined for middle and off. Suddenly the West Indies were struggling at 186 for five.

Ridley Jacobs struggled for a while, but suddenly played a superb hook for four off Hoggard. It proved to be his downfall against Cork, though, as he hooked wildly at a ball swinging down leg side and deflected it to Stewart behind the stumps. He scored 10, and West Indies were 207 for six, with Chanderpaul as the last recognized batsman and joined by Curtly Ambrose.

Ambrose got off the mark in his own unique way, swishing at a bouncer form Cork and slicing the ball over the head of Atherton at first slip for four. The tall paceman did not seem to have set his sights on supporting his senior partner as he had done so well at Edgbaston, as he played several speculative swishes and was clearly living dangerously. Sure enough, he pushed a bat-pad catch off Cork straight into the hands of Ramprakash at short leg for 5; West Indies 216 for seven.

Franklyn Rose looked as though he might provide sterner resistance, although he looked none too comfortable at first against several bouncers sent down at him. He did, however, come up with the perfect reply, swatting a bouncer from Hoggard over midwicket for six and then swinging a full-pitched delivery between the two deep leg fielders for four next ball. Then came a two and another pull for four, 16 leg-side runs coming off the over.

The second new ball was taken after that, for the 84th over, but Rose quickly slammed two more fours. Next ball, though, he was on his way for 29, moving too far across his stumps, hitting across the line and being clearly lbw; West Indies 253 for eight.

Reon King scored a four off the inside edge before Chanderpaul (22), playing defensively at Gough to a ball just outside his off stump, failed to move fully across, got an inside edge and played the ball on to his stumps. West Indies were now 258 for nine.

Courteney Walsh scrambled a single past the bowler, while King drove Gough to the midwicket boundary with probably some help from a thick inside edge, and then managed to nudge an attempted leg-stump yorker to the fine-leg boundary. Then, after two balls of the final over of the day, extra time being taken to make up for the time lost, the umpires offered the batsmen the light, and the last two West Indians lived to fight another day. King was unbeaten on 12 and Walsh on 1.