September 1, 2000

West Indies fight back

Cornhill Insurance

The first session of the second day at The Oval was almost a microcosm of the first day's play. For most of the time the batsmen who started the day laboured long and hard to build an advantage for England. Then, two-thirds of the way through, West Indies broke through and immediately regained control with some quick wickets. At the lunch interval England were struggling at 255 for eight, with all their specialist batsmen out.

The morning began with a quiet half-hour before the predicted rain brought the players off. Thorpe and Hick had added nine runs to their overnight 221 for five, handling the second new ball capably and biding their time. After a fifteen-minute break, West Indies had to wait until after 12.30 before Ambrose finally broke through to move a ball sharply in to Hick and have him adjudged lbw by umpire Shepherd. Hick had scored 17, with scarcely an attacking stroke as he concentrated on seeing off the veteran pacemen.

In the next over Thorpe (40) was so comprehensively beaten by a slower ball from Walsh that he actually walked before being given out lbw by umpire Harper, almost a replay of his dismissal at Old Trafford; England were now 254 for eight. Cork never looked happy and failed to score before playing inside a ball from McLean and departing to another lbw decision, this by umpire Shepherd. Rain returned on the point of lunch with White (1) and Caddick (0) still there but struggling to lay bat on ball.

After lunch, only one run was scored, by White, off 11 deliveries in seven minutes before a downpour again chased the players off the field. Intermittent rain meant that no more play was possible before tea.