Cricket: Caddick's shin splints cast cloud over victory: England make heavy weather of wrapping up second tour win amid fears over strike bowler

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Leeward Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . .181 and 173

England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .312 and 44-3

England win by seven wickets

HAVING thus far proved themselves to be reasonably proficient at rabbit shooting, England have yet to provide convincing evidence that they pack the ammunition for the big-game hunting that lies ahead. Victory over a much depleted Leeward Islands here yesterday made it two wins out of three in their four-match warm-up programme, although the anticipated last-day doddle ultimately resulted in a minor dip on the confidence graph.

England had bowled well enough on Saturday for the Leewards to enter the final day still requiring a couple of runs from their last two wickets to avoid an innings defeat. However, some not very intelligent bowling yesterday left them with a victory target of 44, which was then, thanks to shedding three wickets in the space of 10 deliveries, delayed until after lunch.

On top of this, their best bowler so far, Andrew Caddick, is suffering from a shin splint problem, which may yet prove to be serious enough to put his tour in jeopardy, and Chris Lewis's input on this trip continues to vary between the modest and non-existent.

Having missed the opening game through shaving his head and getting sunstroke, he is now having problems with no-balls, and on Saturday was taken off after bowling five of them in two overs.

Caddick went for X-rays after limping off the field after five overs yesterday, and although they were negative, a stress fracture, as opposed to soreness, cannot yet be ruled out. The physiotherapist, Dave Roberts, said: 'The result of the X-ray was encouraging, but not necessarily conclusive.

'A fracture could still be there, but we're hoping to find a scanner when we get to Barbados that will provide more accurate, computerised pictures.' Caddick will now be rested for the four-day match against Barbados starting on Thursday, England's final fixture before their first one-day international against the West Indies in Jamaica on Wednesday week.

As for Lewis's no-balls, even in Micky Stewart's day as team manager, England have had a curious approach to this problem. It largely involves allowing bowlers to deliver from wherever they please in the nets, and Lewis barely bowled a legitimate delivery during the week's practice in Portugal in December.

Yesterday's solution was for Keith Fletcher to invite Derek Pringle out of the press box for a coaching seminar, which is not unlike consulting Billy Bunter on a dieting programme. Pringle's front foot has spent so much of its career over the crease that Lewis may never bowl a pukka ball again.

Apart from Lewis, all of England's bowlers have performed well so far, and Ian Salisbury took four more wickets in the Leewards' second innings on Saturday to take his tally to 13. However, while Fletcher duly praised Salisbury's bowling here, he is far from convinced that the West Indies can be reeled in with flight, twiddle and twirl.

Fletcher knows that few Caribbean pitches take spin as generously as this one did, and he also knows that most of them (as he was quick to point out about the one here) are so inconsistent in bounce that - unless you have a Shane Warne in your side - seamers are more likely to win you a Test.

Mike Atherton, who has been appearing in the local newspapers under a picture of Alec Stewart bearing the caption 'England captain Mike Arthurton', is unlikely to share a widely differing view from Fletcher after yesterday, when a shortish ball from Vaughn Walsh scuttled along the ground like a startled lizard and struck the base of his off stump.

England might not have had to bat at all had Caddick and Lewis not decided to bowl short at the Leewards' tail, Lewis exceeding his quota to the extent that the umpire strode over to Atherton to issue an official warning. When Caddick finally pitched one up, he immediately had Walsh lbw, and Lewis had the same result against John Maynard to finish off the innings.

Mark Ramprakash was a bit unlucky yesterday, caught in the gully at the second attempt off a meaty square cut, but Graham Thorpe offered a limp return catch to Walsh, and in terms of offering a clear picture, England's batting line-up currently resembles a Caddick X-ray.

(Final day of four; Leewards won toss)

LEEWARD ISLANDS - First Innings 181 (C W Walwyn 65).

ENGLAND - First Innings 312 (M A Atherton 77, R C Russell 56).

LEEWARD ISLANDS - Second Innings

(Overnight: 129 for 8)

W D Phillip not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 V A Walsh lbw b Caddick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 J C Maynard lbw b Lewis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Extras (lb3 nb13) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173

Fall cont: 9-139.

Bowling: Caddick 19-6-32-3; Watkin 12-2-30-1; Lewis 4.4-0-29-1; Salisbury 28-7-59-4; Hick 5-0-20-1.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

* M A Atherton b Walsh . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 M R Ramprakash c Phillip b Maynard . . . . . . .4 G P Thorpe c & b Walsh . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 G A Hick not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 N Hussain not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Extras (lb1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Total (for 3). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Fall: 1-12 2-16 3-20.

Did not bat: M P Maynard, R C Russell, C C Lewis, I D K Salisbury, A R Caddick, S L Watkin.

Bowling: Walsh 5-0-23-2; Maynard 4-0-16-1; Phillip 0.4-0-4-0.

Umpires: P Whyte and J Stevens.

(Photograph omitted)

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