The batsmen almost certainly did not know. Nor did the England chairman Ray Illingworth. "Is that the regulation?" he asked. "I hadn't looked that far ahead." Then he grinned, realising England would then go into tomorrow's game at The Oval unbeaten:"That'll do then," he added.
"We're in a tight spot. We were looking for 220-230 but there were a couple of silly run-outs and Ramps [Mark Ramprakash] was unlucky. One- day games can turn very quickly and they have a way to go. I know we'll push them all the way."
This 999th one-day international would have been remembered vividly by any old number by Ian Bishop. The 27-year-old Trinidadian, a born-again Christian, has spent much of the last four years wondering whether repeated stress fractures of the back would ever allow him to bowl fast again.
When he joined Derbyshire in 1989 he was regarded as the next world's No1. His prowess alone would have brought dressing-room respect; only genuine popularity could have won him an almost instant nickname, "Emily", after the saintly character in Coronation Street.
Last winter he returned to captain Trinidad and bowled well enough to be included in this touring party although his selection was generally attributed to a paucity of fast bowling candidates. But was it? Did Wes Hall and Andy Roberts, West Indies' manager and coach and both great fast bowlers in their time, sense that Bishop might be the ace in the hole?
He appeared as first change yesterday, after Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh had England 25 for 1 off 10 overs, and bowled seven overs for 23 runs from the Pavilion End. The first two overs were almost diffident, but by the end of that first spell he was attaining speed and keeping length and direction.
His second spell, four overs for seven runs and the wicket of Neil Fairbrother was impressive; he looked the part.
There may have been some significance, too, in the fact that Ambrose, still struggling for rhythm, was left with two overs unused although deteriorating light may also have been a factor, Keith Arthurton, left-arm spinner, delivering the last over. Bishop bowled his full allocation.
He will have won a few cheers from the TV audience in the Peak; they will see yesterday as the rover's return.Reuse content