June 29, 2000

England finish on a high

Dominic Cork and Darren Gough left West Indies reeling at Lord's today after taking six wickets with a ferocious late afternoon spell of pace bowling.

Both finished the first day's play of the Cornhill Test with four wickets a piece after a day that started poorly for England and finished on an unexpected high.

West Indies had dominated proceedings from the first over of the morning, progressing easily to 180 for three at tea but the progress slowed noticeably in the last 20 overs in which England's seamers, who had bowled loosely for most of the day, suddenly discovered untapped resources of energy, pace and aggression.

They were led by Cork, who was recalled to England for this Test after an 18 month absence from the international scene. He set the ball rolling following a half hour delay for bad light which seemed to have the effect of buoying England's confidence.

For two and a half hours, right hander Hinds entertained with his natural timing and powerfully struck cover drives but on 59, he edged a delivery from Cork and the catch was taken by Stewart.

It was Cork's 100th Test wicket and a reminder of the form that earned him career best figures of 7-43 on his debut against West Indies at Lord's in 1995. He then swept away Ridley Jacobs, caught behind for ten and Curtly Ambrose, who was snapped up by Mark Ramprakash at short leg and by the close, his figures were 4-39 from 24 overs.

Amid this clatter of wickets, Darren Gough was also finding his rhythm after an indifferent spell this morning. He tempted Lara into chasing a delivery veering down the off-side and then trapped Jimmy Adams, the West Indian skipper who made 98 at Edgbaston, lbw for a single.

A menacing looking Franklyn Rose, who's fitness had been in doubt for this Test, frustrated the bowlers towards the close with some big-hitting and young Matthew Hoggard was dealt a blow when Rose lifted him high into the Mound Stand for six in an over that yielded an expensive 16 runs.

There were another four boundaries as the Jamaican bowler made a quickfire 29 from 30 deliveries until Gough applied the brakes with a ball that thudded hard into his pads and was plum.

When Rose went with the score 253 for eight, West Indies had lost six wickets for 78 runs and with them, the strong position so industriously secured earlier in the day. That position looked even less tenuous in the penultimate over the day when Gough picked up his fourth wicket, from an inswinger to Shivnarine Chanderpaul that was played on.

Chanderpaul had been trying to play the anchor role while the mayhem went on around him, and made just 22 runs from 61 balls over two hours before Gough brought his innings to a close, the score 258 for nine. Two balls before the scheduled close, umpires once again offered the batsmen the light and with the score 267 for nine, the players came off.