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    home >> caribbean cricket >>brian lara >>Test Match news

CARIBBEAN - cricket

Wednesday 14, April-2004

by Philip Spooner

Antigua Recreation GroundPacers kept at bay England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff driving beautifully through the covers en route to his 102 not out in England’s first innings yesterday.

West Indies 751-5 dec.; England 285 and 145-0

AT ANTIGUA RECREATION GROUND – West Indies fast bowlers worked with purpose for the first four hours yesterday to breath life into this match. But their Herculean efforts to get life out of this docile surface were thwarted as England’s openers showed broad bats.

They provided the afternoon entertainment package with a high-class bugler in the West Indies Oil Stand, who gave wonderful renditions of Draw Me Nearer, Girl From Ipenema, and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. He was having great fun and the Barmy Army joined with their deafening chants, but out in the centre it was no fun for the Windies bowlers.

Going into today’s final day, Michael Vaughan sits on 64 and with him Marcus Trescothick perched on 74, both looking for individual landmarks. Nothing in the region of 400, but half that, or even quarter, would more than satisfy the average bloke.

They were cautious in the initial stages as England were made to follow on 466 behind the homeside’s first innings total. If these two break the individual century barrier today, it would bring to five the number of tons in the match, following Brian Lara’s epic 400 not out, Ridley Jacobs’ 107 not out, and Andrew Flintoff’s unbeaten 102.

And who knows, someone else might follow.

It could have been oh so different had Darrell Hair, the giant Australian umpire, upheld a confident caught-behind shout from Tino Best, who was fired-up and rampaging, and as he has done throughout the tour, troubled the laden-footed Trescothick.

With the score on one the big left-hander gloved a lifter directed at his rib cage into the gloves of Ridley Jacobs. Best sprinted down the pitch in jubilation and turned to bellow his appeal, only to hear Hair, a man twice his height and double his size say: “not out”. Television replays ruled the verdict incorrect.

It was the second innings momentum the West Indies were looking for just before tea, but after that set-back and with Pedro Collins in the pavilion nursing a sore back, it was going to be tough going.

The let-off prompted Trescothick to take stock and he quickly jumped into rhythm, pouncing on anything remotely loose. He unleashed a series of crisp off-side strokes among his eight fours. Vaughan, free-scoring and polished, looked at ease nailing six boundaries.

Both needed long and fruitful innings as much for themselves as for the team. Trescothick has been on a barren run with scores of 7, 6 not out, 1, 4, 2, 42 and 16. Vaughan had gone little better with returns of just 15, 11, 0, 23, 17, 32 and 7, so yesterday afternoon was time to cash in.


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  And so it proved as they took their leads from Flintoff, who batted with steely resolve to record his third Test century earlier in the day. It was he who stood up and prevented West Indies from dismantling the middle and lower order.

Known as a cavalier hitter who does not like to be pinned down, he changed his game completely and crafted an innings in which he grew in stature and further enhanced his status as the “ Botham”.

His unfinished innings, which he said was one of the most important of his career, contained 13 fours and a six that came in 272 minutes off 209 balls. What was also admirable was the manner in which he guided the tail as the last four wickets added 103 runs. Of those Flintoff’s contribution was 68.

He was fortunate to get so far and made the West Indies pay for the three chances they handed him. On the previous evening Brian Lara bungled a slip catch and yesterday Ricardo Powell missed an offering diving full stretch to his left at slip off Collins, who was in the middle of an inspired spell from the south.

Moments later Collins himself was the guilty party as he failed to clutch the ball as Flintoff, at 72, attempted a powerful, straight hit.

Though troubled by no-balls, sending down 14, Collins was the West Indies best with four for 76, and his absence hampered the efforts in the second innings. It is not sure if he will be in the attack today, but his ability to trouble the batsmen with each-way movement will be needed today.

One of his victims was Matthew Hoggard, who provided ’keeper Jacobs with the 200th dismissal in his career. Only Jeff Dujon (272) had more among West Indians.

Fidel Edwards, again the fastest on show, also demonstrated the ability to get reverse swing and he was delighted when he knocked over the stumps of ’keeper Geraint Jones in the morning exchanges.

Best stoked a fire in the afternoon when he rattled the England bowlers with his pace. The Barmy Army didn’t take kindly to his assault on Simon Jones with the ball, but Best is not known to back down and he let everyone have it. The reward for his hard work was three for 37, but it was a mystery why he only sent down 10.3 overs.

He frequently had the ball around the batsmen’s ear and it was clear they were troubled. The bowlers, as they have done throughout this series, proved their worth, and have given real hope that progress is being made in this department.

Today’s test could be more challenging. It doesn’t appear as if there is much left in the match, but a stellar bowling effort could win a few hearts, and maybe even the match.


Weather: hot and sunny; Pitch: placid; Outfield: fast in parts

West Indies 1st innings 751-5 dec

(Lara 400 not out, Jacobs 107 not out,Sarwan 91

England 1st innings (overnight 171-5)

M. Trescothick c wk Jacobs b Best 16

M. Vaughan c wk Jacobs b Collins 7

M. Butcher b Collins 52

N. Hussain b Best 3

G. Thorpe c Collins b Edwards 10

A. Flintoff not out 102

G. Jones b Edwards 38

G. Batty c Gayle b Collins 8

M. Hoggard c Jacobs b Collins 1

S. Jones lbw b Hinds 11

S. Harmison b Best 5

Extras (b1, lb5, w4, nb22) 32

Total (all out, 99 overs) 285

Wkts fell at: 1-8 (Vaughan, 4.3 overs), 2-45 (Trescothick, 14.2), 3-54 (Hussain, 18.5), 4-98 (Butcher, 29.1), 5-98 (Thorpe, 30.2), 6-182 (G Jones, 59.3), 7-205 (Batty, 69.3), 8-229 (Hoggard, 79.4), 9-283 (Harmison, 96.1), 10-285 (S Jones, 98.6).NB. S Jones retired hurt at 8-269 resumed at 9-283

Bowling: Collins 26-4-76-4 (14nb, 3w), Edwards 18-3-70-2 (5nb, 1w), Collymore 19-5-45-0 (1nb), Best 10.3-3-37-3 (1nb), Hinds 17.3-7-29-1 (1nb), Sarwan 7-0-18-0, Gayle 1-0-4-0. England 2nd innings (follow-on)

M Trescothick not out 74

M Vaughan not out 61

Extras (lb1, w2, nb7) 10

Total (without loss, 48 overs) 145

Bowling: Best 8-1-20-0 (w1), Edwards 9-2-29-0 (nb3, w1), Collymore 7-2-22-0, Powell 3-0-17-0, Hinds 13-1-37-0 (nb2), Gayle 7-1-19-0 (nb2), Sarwan 1-1-0-0

Umpires: Darrell Hair (Australia), Aleem Dar (Pakistan); Television umpire: Billy Doctrove (Dominica); Reserve: Clancy Mack (Antigua); Match referee: Mike Procter (South Africa)

Compliments of the Nation News


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