Third Cornhill Test

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1991

David Norrie

Toss: England.Test debuts: England - R.K.Illingworth.

England's out-of-form batting, camouflaged by Gooch's match-winning innings at Headingley, Smith's match-saving defiance at Lord's and solid late-order support in both Tests, was exposed at Trent Bridge as the tourists drew level in the series. The disappointment felt by England was all the more acute because they had made an ideal start on a placid pitch after Gooch had won an important toss, going to lunch on the first day with an unbeaten century opening stand already posted. But that was England's best session of the match; Ambrose upset England's calm in the first innings and induced panic in the second. West Indies, on the other hand, batted sensibly throughout after England had threatened an early breakthrough.

England made one change from their squad at Lord's, Reeve of Warwickshire replacing Watkin. However, another Glamorgan player, Morris, was later added as a precaution because of concern about Atherton and Smith. Atherton's problem was a groin strain, while Smith was still feeling the effect of the Ambrose full toss which hit him on the right index finger during the tourists' game at Southampton. That was the finger which Walsh had broken during the final Test, in Antigua, of the 1989-90 series. Botham was again ruled out of contention because of his continuing hamstring trouble. On the Monday between the Tests, Malcolm recorded his best bowling of the season, five for 45 against the county leaders, Warwickshire, but it was not enough to save his place after seventeen consecutive matches for England and 60 Test wickets in just over sixteen months. Instead Lawrence was recalled, nearly three years after winning his first cap, and Illingworth, twelfth man at Headingley and Lord's, came in to make his début. West Indies stayed with their Lord's XI after Patterson failed to last the match against Hampshire.

Ambrose destroyed England's solid start in two bursts, after lunch and tea. Gooch and Atherton's sixth century opening stand in 22 innings also took the England captain to 2,000 runs against West Indies when he reached 58, a feat previously achieved by S. M. Gavaskar and G. Boycott, but both openers went early in the afternoon session. And although England were still in reasonable shape at tea, with the score 175 for three, Ambrose then removed Ramprakash and Hick, giving him figures of four for 30 from sixteen overs in his two spells since lunch. Hick had remained for two and a half hours for his 43, but his immobility resulted in his being hit twice on the helmet. Only Smith offered any meaningful resistance, but he ran out of partners, as at Lord's, suggesting his talents were being wasted at No. 6. In his last three innings against the tourists, for England and Hampshire, Smith had scored 274 runs without being dismissed.

With Illingworth and Lawrence each supporting him for about an hour, Smith had at least helped England reach 300. But between an opening stand of 108, and the final two wickets adding 72, England had wasted a great opportunity of batting West Indies out of the game. The tourists did not make the same mistake, although they stumbled to 45 for three early on Friday afternoon before Richardson, Richards and Logie dug in to make England toil. Illingworth, in his first Test, had a mixed afternoon. On the stroke of lunch he became the eleventh bowler, the first since December 1959, to take a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, and late in the day he removed Richards when the West Indies captain looked set for a century. Otherwise, the left-arm spinner bowled a negative leg-side line that frustrated the spectators even more than the batsmen. Nor was it effective; at one time Illingworth, like Lawrence, was going for 5 runs an over.

Richards departed with both umpires giving him out. Hampshire, at the bowler's end, gave him out bowled off his pads, while Kitchen answered the stumping appeal off Russell's pads in the affirmative. The television replay only added to the confusion, although Hampshire's decision was the official verdict. Richards was unfortunately and unnecessarily jeered by the crowd for departing rather slowly, but his confusion was understandable, especially as Russell had scurried to gather the ball after it had hit the stumps. And when Richards looked for the square-leg umpire's decision, Kitchen was actually signalling from cover, where he had moved because of the sun.

Marshall was England's tormentor on Saturday as West Indies took a first-innings lead of 97, but the performance of the day belonged to the Trent Bridge groundstaff. A violent thunderstorm flooded the ground before play, but an immaculate mopping-up operation meant that only half an hour was lost. Although Logie went early on, Marshall found support from the late order and kept England in the field until after tea. England knew those final twenty overs of batting would be crucial, and Marshall and Ambrose made them terminal with the wickets of Atherton, Hick and Gooch before Lamb and Ramprakash stopped the collapse for the day. England's score left them in no position to enjoy the only rest day of the series; with seven wickets left, they trailed by 43 runs.

When England slumped to 115 for eight on Monday, their lead was only 18. But Defreitas, Illingworth and Lawrence then conspired to take the match into the final day, with the crowd responding to the enterprising last-wicket stand which brought Defreitas his maiden Test fifty after 36 attempts and nearly five years. Lawrence showed that his batting, unlike his bowling, had plenty of grace and style, and after his dismissal he wasted no time when he got the new ball in his hand, removing Simmons with his second delivery. The West Indians, needing 115 for victory, closed at 20 for one, but Haynes and Richardson ensured there were no further setbacks and levelled the series on the stroke of lunch on the final day.

Man of the Match: C. E. L. Ambrose. Attendance: 33,417; receipts £540,115.

Close of the play: First day, England 269-8 ( R. A. Smith 40*, R. K. Illingworth 13*); Second day, West Indies 262-5 ( A. L. Logie 72*, P. J. L. Dujon 3*); Third Day, England 54-3 ( A. J. Lamb 25*, M. R. Ramprakash 7*); Fourth day, West Indies 20-1 ( D. L. Haynes 8*, R. B. Richardson 10*).

© John Wisden & Co
 
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