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Bat And Bawl
Sunday 04, April-2004
For the English, however, it’s a comedy.
They are laughing at West Indies in their thousands from the South Coast to the West of Barbados after the West Indies endured yet another astounding collapse to hand England a third successive Test victory and their first Caribbean series triumph since 1968.
The mighty Barmy Army and other British fans partied in the streets of Bridgetown into the wee hours of the morning – drinking beer and rum – all 10 000 of them celebrating one of modern sports’ major achievement.
In other corners, West Indies fans were bawling . . . some out of anger, others out of pain.
At the post-match media conference, West Indies captain Brian Lara tried to look upbeat, but could not hide his disappointment. He was beaten and disgraced.
On a typically murky English day with heavy overcast conditions, Michael Vaughan’s men achieved their famous victory inside three days as the West Indies once more cemented their name in the record books for the wrong reasons.
With the brittleness of a cardboard box, they folded for 94, their lowest total in 41 Tests at Kensington Oval, and it was their third straight defeat on a ground where they once won 12 consecutive Tests.
The match had been effectively decided in the morning sunshine with Matthew Hoggard’s hat-trick that ripped the heart out of the West Indies’ middle order.
The blond bombshell removed Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ryan Hinds in successive balls to trigger massive celebrations among the 11 Englishmen on the field and those bellowing support from beyond the boundary.
The celebrations were even more massive after England reached their target of 93 at 5:38 p.m. and they would have done so a lot earlier had there not been four stoppages for rain that accounted for a loss of just under two hours.
When it was achieved, the England players joined hands on the balcony of the Sir Garfield Sobers Pavilion, engaged in a team dance, and climaxed it with a lap of honour in which they saluted chanting supporters.
“Lead actor” Brian Lara, who watched helplessly from the other end the ineptness of his batsmen, wasn’t entirely comfortable during the three hours he spent in compiling the topscore of 33.
The West Indies captain took a number of painful body blows, but at least he showed the guts, courage and skill his teammates lacked.
Compliments of the Nation News
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