Bishop's timely return

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The Independent Online
BY TONY COZIER

The overdue reintroduction of Ian Bishop was always eagerly anticipated by a West Indies team who have missed his pace, quality and enthusiasm for the past two and a half years. The significance of his return was immediately evident.

He has shown patience and courage in altering his classical side-on action into a more front-on delivery to ease the pressure on a backbone fragile only in the physical sense. He has struggled to come to terms with the transformation, and his first two overs yesterday emphasised the frustration. Once he was switched to the Kirkstall Lane End he became more confident, fluent and effective.

While he has remodelled his method, he can still bowl late outswingers at pace, and these were the balls that brought the West Indies back into the match in the nick of time, with the dismissals of Graham Thorpe and Michael Atherton.

Bishop had troubled Thorpe by swinging into his legs, but he then adjusted the angle, came around the wicket and earned an lbw by making the ball straighten on pitching. Two minutes later he found the perfect length and line with one that found the edge of Atherton's bat. The England captain had middled almost every one of the 145 deliveries he had faced.

The West Indies showed the resolve missing in the disastrous series against Australia. There was much to depress them but they never dropped their heads. Richie Richardson's decision to bowl first after he had won the toss for the eighth consecutive time in Tests was potentially undermined by a couple of dropped catches by fielders usually with velcro hands in the slips: Carl Hooper and the captain himself. Such setbacks can often deflate teams seeking to re-establish themselves - it was heartening that the West Indies stuck to their task.

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