September 2, 2000

England on way to first series victory in 1969

Cornhill Insurance

In a superb morning's cricket for English supporters, the home side again shattered the West Indian batting, reducing the tourists to 86 for eight by the lunch interval. The breaking of the opening partnership was equivalent to the Dutch boy removing his finger from the dyke, as the middle order collapsed spectacularly to the four-pronged English pace attack. If the weather holds, England are well on their way now to achieving their first series victory over West Indies since 1969.

Gough and Caddick, opening the bowling for England, were not quite as impressive as they had been the previous evening, but they did give Campbell and Griffith some early scares before the former began to find his touch. No sooner had he begun to look good than he was gone, though, for 20 as he drove at Cork outside off stump and played the ball on to his stumps. West Indies were 32 for one, and Griffith's good fortune came to an end on 6 before another run was added: driving at White, he snicked a catch to Hick at second slip. Perhaps the removal of the two opening bowlers had led to a subconscious relaxation on the part of the batsmen.

Then came the real shock as Lara, first ball, moved too far across his stumps to a full-length ball from White and lost his leg stump, to a roar of astonishment from the almost capacity crowd. Adams kept out the hat-trick ball, while Hinds got off the mark with 2, only to fall lbw to a ball from Cork that straightened. At 34 for four, West Indies suddenly needed to fight to save the follow-on.

Sarwan (5) came out prepared to play boldly but, slashing at White, was superbly held low down by the diving Trescothick in a second gully position. Five wickets had fallen for seven runs in 22 balls. Adams and Jacobs briefly threatened to make a stand, but the former had only 5 to his credit when he uncharacteristically dabbed at Cork outside off stump and was caught by Hick at second slip; West Indies 51 for six. The anguish on his face as he left the field was quite evident.

The debutant Nagamootoo looked, if anything, the best batsman of the day, playing some confident off-side strokes. He rattled up 18 before an edged back-foot drive off Gough gave Trescothick another sharp catch in the second gully position, and West Indies were 74 for seven, eight still needed to avoid the follow-on.

Ambrose, in his intended final Test match, failed to score, swinging across a straight ball from Caddick to be lbw, but McLean safely saw his team past the 82 needed to avoid the possibility of following on.