Cricket: Hussain hits century to complicate the equation: Lewis injury creates more problems for England

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England. . . . . . . . . . . . .308-2 dec & 170-1 dec

Board President's XI . . . . . .181-7 dec & 170-3

Match drawn

A BOAT is often the best form of transport around Georgetown and just when Nasser Hussain was beginning to think he had missed it on this tour, his first century for his country yesterday provided the England selectors with a happy complication before Thursday's Test match.

Having slipped over on a greasy tennis court and broken his wrist here in 1990, when the only alternative form of recreation was to sit on a hotel bed and count the raindrops dripping down the window, Hussain did not have especially fond memories of the Guyanese capital even before he returned last week.

So when, after eight innings on tour with a top score of 16, he watched his last chance apparently disappearing - along with several hundred gallons of rainwater - down the Bourda Oval's drains during the Friday wash-out that effectively condemned this match to a draw, his thoughts on Georgetown were probably close to unprintable.

However, a break in the weather, a couple of declarations, and promotion to open the batting in the second innings, gave Hussain an unexpected opportunity to find some form against modest bowling on a friendly pitch. The fact that he took it, with a three- hour unbeaten 103, says something about his temperament, and a Test match top six with Hussain and Mark Ramprakash looks a better bet than one with Graham Thorpe and Matthew Maynard that England opted for in Jamaica.

Hussain's England career went into limbo after the 1990 tour here, despite making two decent scores in the final Test in Antigua, after he had politely declined to drop out with his wrist injury in order to accommodate Allan Lamb's idea of promoting David Gower from press box to dressing- room.

He was not picked again until the third Ashes Test of last summer, and 64 runs in his last six innings of that series made him a marginal choice for this tour. However, a combination of yesterday's innings, and the fact that a racy evening in Georgetown would be learning how to build an ark at night school, ought to keep the selectors in their room even longer than usual tomorrow night.

They are already guaranteed a longish session discussing their bowling options. Angus Fraser has bowled well in this match, as has Ian Salisbury, but if the omission of Philip Tufnell here was hard to fathom even before the game, the 'shoot-out' between the seamers has turned out to be water pistols at 20 paces.

Steve Watkin, sadly, currently looks as though he would get taken to the cleaners in the Newport and District League, and Andrew Caddick has twice been flogged around at above six runs an over. As for the attempt to turn Chris Lewis into a tearaway strike bowler operating in short spells, one part of the plan (the short spells bit) has worked a treat.

Lewis bowled four overs and three on Saturday before hobbling off, neither did he take the field yesterday. He is apparently OK, but will be examined by an orthorpedic specialist today for a problem between heel and ankle. The suspicion of a longer-term problem, between the ears, still lingers.

(Final day of four: England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings 308 for 2 dec (M R Ramprakash 154no, G P Thorpe 84).

WEST INDIES BOARD PRESIDENT'S XI - First Innings 181 for 7 dec (K F Semple 76). Bowling: Lewis 7-2-11-1; Caddick 12-1-61-1; Fraser 10-4-18- 2; Salisbury 21-6-52-3; Watkin 10-1-36-0.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

* R A Smith c Semple b Perry. . . . . . . . . .43 N Hussain not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .103 R C Russell not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Extras (lb4 nb9). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Total (for 1 dec)li. . . . . . . . . . . . . .170

Fall: 1-121.

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

Bowling: Cuffy 8-1-28-0; Browne 6-1-30-0; Hooper 11-1-48-0; Perry 14-3-22-1; Dhanraj 9.5-0-37- 0; Chanderpaul 1-0-1-0.

BOARD PRESIDENT'S XI - Second Innings

D A Joseph c Maynard b Salisbury. . . . . .45 R G Samuels b Fraser. . . . . . . . . . . .56 K F Semple not out. . . . . . . . . . . . .29 S Chanderpaul c Russell b Ramaprakash. . . 28 Extras (lb8 nb4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Total (for 3). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170

Fall: 1-78 2-132 3-170.

Did not bat: * C L Hooper, K Mason, N O Perry, K A Wong, R Dhanraj, C E Cuffy, B St A Browne.

Bowling: Caddick 8-0-46-0; Watkin 11-0-72-0; Fraser 8-4-16-1; Salisbury 10-1-26-1; Ramprakash 1.2-0-2-1.

Umpires: L Barker and D P Murray.

Photograph, page 29

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