Cricket / Fifth Test: Weary England left to play out the epilogue: Ramprakash fails again as Atherton's team are made to work hard in following a class act in the fifth Test

Click to follow
The Independent Online
West Indies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .593-5 dec

England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .185-2

IN the general euphoria of a historic innings, it was easy to forget there were 21 other players involved here yesterday, not to mention a Test match going on. As far as England are concerned, it is now a match they can do little more than save, and at 185 for 2 they are at least making a decent fist of it.

It made a welcome change to see Robin Smith scoring runs again, briskly too, and given that the situation gives him licence to bat for as long as Brian Lara did, his record may only last until Thursday. However, going into today's rest day in the fifth Test, Smith and Michael Atherton are only still batting - in an unbroken partnership of 115 - thanks to a large helping of luck.

Smith (68 not out) has already been caught at mid-off off a Courtney Walsh no-ball and dropped in the covers off the left- arm spin of Jimmy Adams, while Atherton (63 not out) has been dropped in the slips off a Walsh no- ball and put down at silly-point off a legitimate delivery from Adams.

England's immediate target in the aftermath of the West Indies' 593 for 5 was to make 394 to avoid the follow-on, and while the pitch is playing easily enough, batting is never quite straightforward after you have spent the thick end of two and a half days chasing cricket balls in sauna-bath heat.

England might have lost a wicket to the first ball of their innings, when Atherton was perilously close to leg before against Curtly Ambrose, but the England captain and Alec Stewart then went along with their customary elan until the partnership was worth 40.

At that point Stewart, still pumping adrenalin after his two hundreds in Barbados, went for the hook against Kenneth Benjamin, got a top edge, and Ambrose took a well-judged catch running sideways from deepish square leg.

Mark Ramprakash, like Atherton, survived a confident lbw appeal before he had scored, but Ramprakash's disappointing series continued when he was lbw offering no stroke to a ball from Benjamin that was too close to off stump to guard against the delivery (as this one turned out to be) that nips back into the right-hander off the seam.

In danger of getting lost in the wash yesterday amid Lara's 375 was Shivnarine Chanderpaul's 75 not out, his fourth half-century of the series. However, in three of those innings he has profited from a dropped slip catch, and Graeme Hick's hands currently look less like buckets than eggcups.

Chanderpaul had just completed his 50 when he edged the next ball from Andrew Caddick slightly to Hick's left at second slip, and Hick duly dropped his sixth consecutive Test match catch in that area. All of them have been off left-handers, and if Hick has a weakness against people batting the wrong way round, he is fielding in the wrong series. Between the eighth over of the West Indian innings and the 181st, England were bowling to nothing but left-handers.

Before the first Test, the spread betting firm Sporting Index correctly forecast that Lara would make 375 runs, although this was a quote for the series rather than a single innings. Ergo, anyone who bet (at pounds 1 per run) above that figure is currently pounds 423 better off. As the firm are talking about six-figure losses, plenty of people apparently did.

(Third day; West Indies won toss)

WEST INDIES - First Innings

(Overnight: 502 for 4)

B C Lara c Russell b Caddick. . . . . . . . . . . .375

(766 min, 538 balls, 45 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).

Progress (third day): New ball taken after 159 overs (76 with second new ball) at 508-4. 550: 736 min, 178.1 overs. Innings closed at lunch at 12.03pm.

Adams' 50: 203 min, 127 balls, 1 four, 2 sixes.

Chanderpaul's 50: 176 min, 138 balls, 7 fours.

ENGLAND - First Innings

* M A Atherton not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63

(249 min, 178 balls, 6 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 not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

(156 min, 120 balls, 12 fours, 1 six)

Extras (b2 lb3 nb6). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Total (for 2, 249 min, 60 overs) . . . . . . . . .185

Fall: 1-40 (Stewart) 2-70 (Ramprakash).

To bat: G A Hick, G P Thorpe, R C Russell, C C Lewis, A R Caddick, A R C Fraser, P C R Tufnell.

Bowling (to date): Ambrose 12-3-20-0 (5-0-9-0, 7-3-11-0); Walsh 12-2-54-0 (nb5) (5-0-23-0, 7-2-31- 0); W Benjamin 13-5-33-0 (nb1) (8-3-22-0, 5-2-11- 0); K Benjamin 13-4-34-2 (nb2) (8-2-25-2, 3-2-1-0, 2-0-8-0); Chanderpaul 5-1-22-0 (1-0-6-0, 2-1-8-0, 2-0-8-0).

Progress: 50: 64 min, 13.4 overs. Tea: 87-2 (Atherton 31, Smith 10) 27 overs. 100: 136 min, 30.2 overs. 150: 225 min, 52.2 overs.

Atherton's 50: 229 min, 157 balls, 5 fours.

Smith's 50: 132 min, 98 balls, 9 fours, 1 six.

Umpires: D B Hair and S A Bucknor.

Comments