Cricket / Fifth Test: Lewis makes his late contribution in a flat finale: Series ends with whimper and a chuckle as 22 de-mob happy players wind down with impersonations by Ramprakash and Stewart

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The Independent Online
West Indies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .593-5 dec and 43-0

England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .593

Match drawn

THE pitch upon which Brian Lara planted an emotional kiss on Monday is the same pitch beneath which most of the bowlers in this match would gladly have planted a bomb. It was far too good for a competitive game of cricket, and an absorbing series ultimately ended in a whimper here yesterday.

England's captain, Mike Atherton, described it as 'the flattest pitch I've ever played on', and so it was, although not half as flat as the final-day atmosphere. After 12 for 2 in the opening half-hour, the rest of the five days yielded 1,217 for 13, and 22 de-mob happy players yesterday did little more than quietly escort the game to its inevitable draw.

If it had been a one-innings match, it would have been a tie at 593 apiece, but the second innings did not even get under way until tea- time on the last day. England might not have batted as though they had a plane to catch, which indeed they did, but for the game to have played until someone won, they would have arrived back at Gatwick just in time for the Benson and Hedges Cup final as opposed to this morning.

England's first total over 500 since their 580 for 9 declared in Christchurch two winters ago was laudable enough, although any semblance of pressure evaporated once they were past the follow-on mark on the third day. Therefore, while it might seem a little hard on a No 8 batsman who has made 75 not out, Chris Lewis did not do a great deal more than confirm his reputation as a player who rises to the small occasion.

The last instance of Lewis, as a batsman, doing it when it did not matter was in Madras last winter when he made 117, and this was his first Test fifty since. In his other eight Test innings on tour, when the runs would have counted for rather more, Lewis has made only 95.

The West Indian pace attack also expended roughly the same amount of energy as they might have done taking the dog for a walk, and the serious nature of yesterday's cricket was illustrated when Curtly Ambrose decided to field a ball at mid-off by kicking it to Lara at cover.

This was the cue for giggles all round, and Lara himself was generally getting in the mood for last night's flight back to Trinidad, where he was due to be hugged, kissed and feted to within an inch of his life.

England resumed yesterday morning on 442 for 6, with Lewis and Russell at the crease, and, unbeknown to them, about to become the subject of some unflattering remarks from the new chairman of selectors, Raymond Illingworth.

The irony for Russell is that at the moment England under Atherton have re-established the principle of specialist wicketkeeping, his own high standards in this department have gone down. Russell missed 13 consecutive Tests before this series while England fiddled around with part-timers, and maybe this has made him concentrate so hard on his batting that the keeping has suffered.

Yesterday, in that uniquely ugly style of his - the stance is a cross between the foetal position and a ski jumper's just before take-off - Russell made his first Test half-century since the Barbados match here four years ago. The umpire took a long time to give him out caught behind, and the inference from Illingworth is that Russell may be in for a similarly long wait between this Test and his next one.

Russell and Lewis put on 118 together, comfortably a ground record for the seventh wicket, and although Lewis was fortunate to survive a chance to the wicketkeeper when 52, he eventually ran out of partners. Andrew Caddick miscued to cover, Angus Fraser was bowled sweeping, and Phil Tufnell last out lbw.

When the West Indies went in again, Atherton swiftly whistled up the spinners and occasional bowlers, a change that owed more to financial (over-rate) considerations than tactical. The urge to amuse themselves also came into it, but although Mark Ramprakash and Alec Stewart trundled their way through various bowler impersonations, the crowd was by then too busy dozing off to notice.

----------------------------------------------------------------- FULL SCOREBOARD FROM ANTIGUA ----------------------------------------------------------------- (West Indies won toss) WEST INDIES - First Innings ----------------------------------------------------------------- P V Simmons lbw b Caddick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 (33 min, 27 balls) S C Williams c Caddick b Fraser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 (26 min, 17 balls) B C Lara c Russell b Caddick. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .375 (766 min, 538 balls, 45 fours) J C Adams c sub (Hussain) b Fraser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 (247 min, 164 balls, 2 fours, 2 sixes) K L T Arthurton c Russell b Caddick. . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 (246 min, 184 balls, 5 fours) S Chanderpaul not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75 (264 min, 182 balls, 10 fours) Extras (lb3 nb23). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Total (for 5 dec, 796 min, 180.2 overs). . . . . . . . . . .593 Fall: 1-11 (Williams), 2-12 (Simmons), 3-191 (Adams), 4-374, (Arthurton), 5-593 (Lara). Did not bat: J R Murray, W K M Benjamin, C E L Ambrose, K C G Benjamin, * C A Walsh. Bowling: Fraser 43-4-121-2 (nb14) (8-2-12-1, 6-0-23-0, 6-0-17-1, 8-2-20-0, 8-0-31-0, 7-0-18- 0); Caddick 47.2-8-158-3 (nb2) (8-4-12-1, 5-0- 15-0, 5-0-15-0, 11-4-25-0, 4-0-27-1, 6-0-20-0, 5- 0-26-0, 3.2-0-18-1); Tufnell 39-8-110-0 (nb2) (10-4-16-0, 5-1-13-0, 8-3-29-0, 2-0-5-0, 11-0-38- 0, 3-0-9-0); Lewis 33-1-140-0 (nb11) (6-0-18-0, 4-0-29-0, 4-0-18-0, 5-1-21-0, 5-0-22-0, 3-0-9-0, 6-0-23-0); Hick 18-3-61-0 (6-1-33-0, 2-1-2-0, 7-0-20-0, 3-1-61-0). ----------------------------------------------------------------- ENGLAND - First Innings ----------------------------------------------------------------- (Overnight: 442 for 6) * M A Atherton c Murray b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135 (539 min, 383 balls, 13 fours) A J Stewart c Ambrose b K Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24 (55 min, 41 balls, 4 fours) M R Ramprakash lbw b K Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 (34 min, 29 balls, 3 fours) R A Smith lbw b K Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 (418 min, 315 balls, 26 fours, 3 sixes) G A Hick b K Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 (42 min, 28 balls, 4 fours) G P Thorpe c Adams b Chanderpaul. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 (53 min, 30 balls) R C Russell c Murray b W Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 (180 min, 161 balls, 5 fours) C C Lewis not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 (264 min, 175 balls, 7 fours) A R Caddick c W Benjamin b Adams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 (86 min, 83 balls, 2 fours) A R C Fraser b Adams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 (14 min, 9 balls) P C R Tufnell lbw b W Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 (14 min, 9 balls) Extras (b9 lb20 nb23). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Total (860 min, 206.1 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 593

Fall: 1-40 (Stewart), 2-70 (Ramprakash), 3-373 (Smith), 4-393 (Atherton), 5-401 (Hick), 6-417 (Thorpe), 7-535 (Russell), 8-585 (Caddick), 9-589 (Fraser), 10-593 (Tufnell). Bowling: Ambrose 40-18-66-1 (5-0-9-0, 7-3- 11-0, 6-2-15-0, 9-5-15-1, 6-3-9-0, 7-5-7-0); Walsh 40-9-123-0 (nb15) (5-0-23-0, 7-2-31-0, 6-1-15-0, 10-4-15-0, 5-0-22-0, 7-2-17-0); W Benjamin 41.1-15-93-2 (nb3) (8-3-22-0, 5-2- 11-0, 5-2-8-0, 8-1-27-0, 4-1-5-0, 2-0-12-0, 9-6- 8-1, 0.1-0-0-1); K Benjamin 37-7-110-4 (nb2) (8-2-25-2, 3-2-1-0, 2-0-8-0, 5-1-21-0, 14-2-34- 2, 5-0-21-0); Chanderpaul 24-1-94-1 (nb6) (1-0-6-0, 2-1-8-0, 2-0-8-0, 5-0-22-0, 7-0-25-1, 7-0-25-0); Adams 22-4-74-0 (5-0-17-0, 3-0- 19-0, 1-0-8-0, 3-0-16-0, 2-1-1-0, 8-3-13-0); Arthurton 2-1-4-0 (one spell).

Progress (final day): 450: 641 min, 153.1 overs. New ball: 155 overs (80 overs with second new ball) 466-6. 500: 696 min, 165.1 overs. Lunch: 541-7 (Lewis 54, Caddick 0) 179 overs. 550: 770 min, 184.4 overs. Innings closed: 2.37 - tea taken. Russell's 50: 151 min, 132 balls, 4 fours. Lewis's 50: 137 min, 93 balls, 5 fours.

----------------------------------------------------------------- WEST INDIES - Second Innings ----------------------------------------------------------------- P V Simmons not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 (61 min, 71 balls, 3 fours) S C Williams not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 (61 min, 73 balls, 3 fours) Extras. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 Total (for 0, 61 min, 24 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Bowling: Fraser 2-1-2-0; Caddick 2-1-11-0; Tufnell 6-4-5-0; Hick 8-2-11-0; Ramprakash 3-1-5- 0; Thorpe 2-1-1-0; Stewart 1-0-8-0. Progress: Innings closed 3.59. Umpires: S A Bucknor and D B Hair. Match referee: J R Reid. Man of the match: B C Lara. Adjudicator: P Evanson. Man of the series: C E L Ambrose. Adjudicators: J Pereira, K W R Fletcher, R B Kanhai. -----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------- FIRST TEST ----------------------------------------------------------------- Kingston, Jamaica West Indies won by eight wickets SECOND TEST Georgetown, Guyana West Indies won by an innings and 44 runs THIRD TEST Port of Spain, Trinidad West Indies won by 147 runs FOURTH TEST Bridgetown, Barbados England won by 208 runs FIFTH TEST St John's, Antigua Match Drawn WEST INDIES WIN SERIES 3-1 -----------------------------------------------------------------

Patient Bicknell, Scoreboard, page 39

(Photograph omitted)

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