Cricket: Bishop makes all the right moves

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THIS was more like it. After their lethargy of the third day that allowed England back into a match they might already have lost, the West Indies' effort was full of purpose and commitment yesterday.

The initiative and psychological advantage were regained, first, by the solid, common sense cricket notable by its absence the day before. There is no more intelligent, level-headed individual in the team than Ian Bishop and he simply applied the basics in masterminding the record last-wicket partnership with the left-handed Dinanath Ramnarine.

That finally put the contest completely out of England's reach, deflated their spirit and set up the afternoon for a typical opening salvo from Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.

Bishop is an accomplished enough batsman to have two first-class hundreds to his name. His bat is straight, his head steady, he is conscious of his limitations and plays within them. If his more illustrious team-mates were to follow his example, the West Indies would not have to rely so much on him and the lower order to drag them out of holes. Ramnarine has been a team mate on the Trinidad & Tobago team for four seasons and Bishop knew he was more capable than his No11 position suggested.

There has been no fast bowling in the series more effective than Ambrose in his opening burst, none more probing than Walsh's in support. Batsmen were late on their strokes, Mark Butcher took a couple of fearful blows, Nasser Hussain popped a catch to short leg with an apprehensive stab and edges were found.

Not the least most impressive feature was that the 34-year-old Ambrose kept it up for 10 consecutive overs, the 35-year-old Walsh for eight. And to think there were doubts before this series over Ambrose's physical condition and Walsh's frame of mind once he had been replaced as captain by Brian Lara.

Things would have been so different without them.