Carnival time may be approaching in these parts but no one was celebrating Black Friday like Andrew Caddick and Angus Fraser were yesterday when they shared all 10 wickets between them to dismiss the West Indies for 159. But, as so often happens against these opponents, retribution was swift and England were soon two wickets down, losing their captain and John Crawley to a fiery opening spell from Curtly Ambrose.
It is one of the better know facts in world cricket that the West Indies are capable of quite spectacular self-destruction, but this was remarkable even by their own standards.
It was Caddick's spell of 4 for 4 after tea, preceded by an earlier one of 3 for 9 from Fraser, that saved Michael Atherton from embarrassment after he'd won the toss and put the West Indies in to bat on a pitch that did about as much as a sleeping tortoise.
When Angus Fraser, whose 5 for 40 included the priceless wickets of Brian Lara and Carl Hooper, isn't busy trying to win Test matches for England, he seems to spend his time helping to wipe the egg off Atherton's face.
But before anyone cries foul and points to the scoreboard as justification of Atherton's decision to field first - which was bold to the point of foolhardiness - it must be pointed out that at tea, Jimmy Adams and Shivnarine Chanderpaul were batting without helmets to a ring of fielders: a sure sign that the pitch is flat.
Quite simply England got lucky and a combination of some extremely loose strokeplay against some steady and occasionally inspired bowling saw the home side collapse from 93 for 1 to 159 all out in just over three hours.
Perhaps even more remarkable, though, was the performance of Caddick, who up until tea had done little to give the impression that last Monday had been a rare off-day. Pilloried for that poor performance by the England coach David Lloyd - he took 0 for 99 in the match - Caddick must be given credit for eventually bouncing back with a decisive spell of fast bowling.
Having taken the only wicket to fall in the morning session, when Stuart Williams edged him to Graham Thorpe at first slip, Caddick, whose first over after lunch was savaged for 19 runs, had a quiet post-lunch session.
With the ball 60 overs old when he next bowled, not much was expected until Adams, batting slowly but surely, drove a wide half-volley to Atherton at short extra cover.
It was the wicket that opened the floodgates and transformed Caddick, who proceeded to remove David Williams first ball with a perfect yorker. Two overs later Ambrose and Kenny Benjamin followed before Fraser mopped up by getting Chanderpaul lbw and Nixon McLean caught by Dean Headley at mid-off.
If Caddick had redeemed himself, Fraser was no less impressive, his perseverance on another hot day just four days after his previous efforts, was a testament to his gritty character.
Following Caddick's first post-lunch over, that fell foul to a combination of stunning Lara shots and help yourself half-volleys, Fraser's probing length found the edge of Campbell's bat. As he had done earlier with Stuart Williams, Thorpe neatly took the catch low down at first slip.
At that stage, with the score 93 for 2, Atherton's decision to field first was looking distinctly unwise. However, the complexion of a Test match has a habit of turning on its head when the key players are removed.
Which is precisely what happened when Fraser, once again bowling from the Pavilion End, dismissed Hooper and Lara in the space of four overs. Well though he is bowling however, the Middlesex seamer would be the first to admit to the debt he owed to Mark Butcher - playing instead of his injured Surrey team- mate Adam Hollioake who failed a fitness test on a sore back - whose brilliant one-handed catch is unlikely to be bettered in the series.
But if Hooper would have been reward enough, the jewel in the crown followed an over later. Lara may never scored a Test century on his home ground here but this time the portents were looking ominous, particularly after the brief punishment he meted out on Caddick.
Having played quite beautifully he aimed an ambitious pull at Fraser, which took the bottom-edge on its way to Jack Russell, who took a tumbling catch.
With Lara standing his ground, and questioning whether or not the ball had carried to Russell, the catch was referred to the third umpire. After watching TV replay, and much to the jubilation of England's fielders, Lara was given out. It was the third time in the series that Fraser has dismissed the West Indies captain.
Fraser tends to bring out the worst in Lara and there is an animosity between the pair that stems from the West Indies tour of England two years ago. Then the pair were involved in a slanging match on the pitch during the final two Tests, an episode that continued when Lara refused to shake the bowler's hand at the end of the series.
At this level of cricket, confidence is everything and while Caddick appears to have refound his confidence, Fraser, from his 11 wickets on the neighbouring pitch, appears to be overdosing on the stuff and he once again used it to fuel yet another five-wicket haul.
Queen's Park Oval Scoreboard
First day; England won toss
WEST INDIES - First Innings
S L Campbell c Thorpe b Fraser 28
(128 min, 88 balls, 4 fours)
S C Williams c Thorpe b Caddick 24
(68 min, 48 balls, 2 fours)
*B C Lara c Russell b Fraser 42
(91 min, 53 balls, 7 fours)
C L Hooper c Butcher b Fraser 1
(12 min, 11 balls)
S Chanderpaul lbw b Fraser 28
(158 min, 111 balls, 1 four)
J C Adams c Atherton b Caddick 11
(109 min, 71 balls)
D Williams b Caddick 0
(1 min, 1 ball)
C E L Ambrose b Caddick 4
(8 min, 3 balls, 1 four)
K C G Benjamin lbw b Caddick 0
(3 min, 2 balls)
N A M McLean c Headley b Fraser 11
(30 min, 13 balls)
C A Walsh not out 5
(16 min, 9 balls)
Extras (nb5) 5
Total (317 min, 67.4 overs) 159
Fall: 1-36 (S C Williams), 2-93 (Campbell), 3-95 (Hooper), 4-100 (Lara), 5-132 (Adams), 6-132 (D Williams), 7-140 (Ambrose), 8-140 (Benjamin), 9-150 (Chanderpaul).
Bowling: Headley 14-0-40-0 (nb2) (5-0-18-0, 3-0-11-0, 6-0-11-0); Caddick 22-7-67-5 (4-2-9-0, 5-1-13-1, 5-2-22-0, 2-1-4-0, 6-1-19-4); Fraser 20.4- 8-40-5 (nb2) (7-2-18-0, 7-4-9-3, 6.4-2-13-2); Tufnell 9-5-11-0 (nb1) (3- 2-3-0, 6-3-8-0); Butcher 2-1-1-0 (1-1-0-0, 1-0-1-0).
Progress: First day: 50: 93 min, 21.3 overs. Lunch: 72-1 (S Williams 21, Lara 25) 28 overs. 100: 151 min, 33.4 overs. Tea: 127-4 (Chanderpaul 18, Adams 10) 55 overs. 150: 298 min, 64.5 overs. Innings closed: 4.22.
ENGLAND - First Innings
*M A Atherton lbw b Walsh 2
(15 min, 11 balls)
A J Stewart not out 16
(64 min, 41 balls, 1 four)
J P Crawley b Ambrose 1
(29 min, 13 balls)
D W Headley not out 1
(18 min, 13 balls)
Extras (lb1, nb1) 2
Total (for 2, 64 min, 10.2 overs) 22
Fall: 1-5 (Atherton); 2-15 (Crawley).
To bat: N Hussain, G P Thorpe, M A Butcher, R C Russell, A R Caddick, A R C Fraser, P C R Tufnell.
Bowling: Walsh 7-1-17-0; Ambrose 6.2-3-4-2 (one spell each).
Progress: Bad light stopped play: 5.38.
Umpires: E Nicholls (WI) and D B Hair (Aus).Reuse content