Cricket: Fractured finger raises fears about Fraser: Tourists' preparations for the first Test against West Indies dealt a blow by injury to another bowler as Caddick rests sore shins

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Barbados. . . . . . . . . . . .348 and 192-5 dec

England . . . . . . . . . . . .302 and 48-0

Match drawn

THE ear-jarring backcloth of banging, hammering and drilling throughout England's drawn match with Barbados has provided a constant reminder that the Kensington Oval is not yet ready to stage a Test match, a situation that, sadly, also applies to the England cricket team.

If there is a difference, it is that the ground has until April to build its new stand. Mike Atherton's tourists have less than a week before the first Test in Jamaica to sort out problems that include a runless middle order batting line-up, and injuries to Angus Fraser and Andrew Caddick that would seriously diminish their competitiveness should they be ruled out of the first Test, starting at Sabina Park on Saturday.

With Caddick already doubtful because of sore shins, the last thing England needed over the weekend was for Fraser to get himself damaged. However, the projected linchpin of England's Test attack was hit on the hand while batting by the Barbados fast bowler Vasbert Drakes on Saturday, and X-rays have shown up two fractures below the index finger knuckle on his left hand.

The good news, if such it can be called, is that they are small hairline cracks, and although Fraser - as is Caddick - is definitely out of the first one-day international here on Wednesday, there is still a modicum of optimism in the camp about him taking the field in the Test.

Dave Roberts, the physiotherpist who is at short odds to be the most quoted member of the England party on this tour, said yesterday: 'The fractures are small, away from the joint, and stable. Hopefully, the healing process will be fast enough for Gus to play on Saturday, but that's up to the player and the management. I will, of course, be giving my own opinion when the time comes.'

Rather less good news, however, is Roberts's admission that another bang on the hand during the Test could rule Fraser out for a considerably longer period of time ('three to four weeks, I'd say') and the inevitable process against this opposition of having a less than fully fit squad to pick from has begun even before England have faced their first West Indian Test bowler.

Fraser will have further X-rays on Wednesday, while Caddick will have a practice bowl in the nets before the first one-dayer. England have not considered sending for a bowling replacement, and if their guarded optimism proves unfounded, it will certainly mean an early release from the doghouse for Chris Lewis.

If Fraser does play, he will have to take the field with a hefty amount of protection around his damaged hand, although there are precedents for this, notably when Malcolm Marshall both bowled and batted (one-handed) against England when he broke his left wrist in the 1984 Test at Headingley. The fact that his hand was encased in plaster did not seem much of a handicap to Marshall, who took a then career-best 7 for 53.

Fraser said yesterday that he did not think that the injury would affect his bowling, 'just my batting and fielding'. However, as Fraser's fielding in this game was close to a contravention of the Trades Description Act, one shudders to think of him lumbering around with a disabled sticker, and England do not often have much success against the West Indies with 11 batsmen, never mind 10.

Neither was it particularly reassuring to see Devon Malcolm, for all his seven-wicket success in the first innings, bowling yesterday as though he had hairline fractures in both legs - listless, and more or less going through the motions. Despite another England batting collapse on Saturday, there was no prospect of a result when Barbados resumed with a first-innings lead of 46, although Phil Tufnell was again impressive enough to suggest England should not succumb to the temptation to go into the Test without him.

Alec Stewart kept wicket in preparation for his one-day role in Wednesday's match, while Jack Russell took one of his more unusual catches, a skier, without the gloves, at mid-on. After Barbados' academic tea-time declaration, Mike Atherton did not feel the need for further batting practice after his near six-hour century, which, laudable though his decision was, came as much of a relief to the spectators as the bowlers.

(Final day of four: Barbados won toss)

BARBADOS - First Innings 348 (P A Wallace 57, S G Campbell 83, R I C Holder 85; D E Malcolm 7-134).

ENGLAND - First Innings 302 (M A Atherton 108, R A Smith 59; O D Gibson 5-87).

BARBADOS - Second Innings

D L Haynes b Igglesden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

P A Wallace lbw b Igglesden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

S G Campbell c Russell b Tufnell. . . . . . . . . . .54

* R I C Holder c Stewart b Hick. . . . . . . . . . . .43

L K Puckerin lbw b Tufnell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

C O Browne not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

V C Drakes not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

Extras (b5 lb3 nb8). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Total (for 5 dec). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .192

Fall: 1-3 2-22 3-99 4-129 5-130.

Did not bat: W E Reid, O D Gibson, S M Skeete, D M Maynard.

Bowling: Malcolm 13-1-67-0; Igglesden 7-1-13-2; Tufnell 24-7-51-2; Hick 16-3-48-1; Thorpe 2-0-5-0.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

R A Smith not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

M R Ramprakash not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

Extras (nb2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Total (for 0). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

Bowling: Gibson 6-1-12-0; Maynard 5-2-16-0; Reid 7-3-11-0; Haynes 3-1-6-0; Campbell 2-1-3-0.

Umpires: H Moore and D Holder.

Pakistan win, Hooper hurt, page 31

(Photograph omitted)

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