Cricket: Lewis delivers all-round hint: England put up an unimpressive display against modest spinners

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The Independent Online
England . . . . . . . . .308-6 dec and 184-7 dec

St Kitts & Nevis. . . . .258 and 22-4

Match drawn

CONTRARY to popular opinion, searching for slow bowlers in the West Indies is not quite the equivalent of taking the sonar equipment out on to Loch Ness and the one consolation about England's not terribly successful encounter with a couple of modest off-spinners here yesterday was that it has precious little relevance to the more serious business ahead.

In a match already dying on its feet when the final day got under way 40 minutes late because of damp footholds, and which had long since been destined for a draw despite St Kitts tossing away second-innings wickets with a bout of bat- swishing largely induced by boredom, Ronald Powell and Lenny Lake twiddled out England's top order for 118. The only real excuse, apart from a collective bout of ennui at the inevitability of a draw, was the fact that England's top order had a distinctly unusual look.

England's anxiety to give out-of-practice and out-of-form players a knock produced an opening partnership of Chris Lewis and Nasser Hussain, with Jack Russell at No 3 and Robin Smith at No 8.

The home team, trailing by 52 with two first-innings wickets in hand, chose to bat on for reasons best known to themselves and were all out in 15 deliveries for the addition of a priceless two runs. From that moment on England, not surprisingly, approached the rest of the day as a practice net.

One batsman who needed it more than most, after two zeroes and 13 not out in his previous three innings, was Nasser Hussain. But he made only 11 in 55 minutes before he was bowled sweeping after lunch.

Lewis, who has already come under pressure from Andrew Caddick for the all-rounders' position, would be under no such thing were it not for his propensity to go ill or infirm just before a match, or to turn invisible during it. However, he remains a class act and he made a flawless 65 in two and a quarter hours before falling to a bat-pad catch.

Russell, Mark Ramprakash, and Mike Atherton also fell to the spinners and this is not the first time that England have arrived in the Caribbean expecting hand grenades only to be knocked over by snowballs.

Meanwhile, the subject of Philip Tufnell's behaviour on Sunday was put to the captain yesterday morning, Atherton dismissing it, as had the tour manager, Mike Smith, as 'acceptable aggression'. If he also holds this view in private, it is something of a worry.

(Final day; England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings 308 for 6 dec (M R Ramprakash 136, R A Smith 71, A J Stewart 67).

ST KITTS AND NEVIS - First Innings

(Overnight: 256 for 8)

> ] R Phillip not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 J C Maynard lbw b Fraser. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 M Mills b Malcolm. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 Extras (b10 lb6 w3 nb24). . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258

Fall (cont): 9-256.

Bowling: Malcolm 16.3-4-43-1; Fraser 16-2- 39-3; Tufnell 28-9-58-3; Lewis 20-4-66-2; Ramprakash 12-3-36-0.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

N Hussain b Powell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 C C Lewis c Phillip b Lake. . . . . . . . . . .65 ] R C Russell c Phillip b Lake. . . . . . . . . 1 M R Ramprakash c and b Powel. . . . . . . . . .17 * M A Atherton c Phillip b Powell. . . . . . . 29 A R C Fraser b Mills. . . . . . . . . . . . . .28 A J Stewart lbw b Maynard. . . . . . . . . . . 21 R A Smith not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 P C R Tufnell not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Extras (b5 lb6 w1 nb1). . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Total (for 7 dec). . . . . . . . . . . . . . .184

Fall: 1-48 2-57 3-72 4-112 5-118 6-174 7-176.

Did not bat: M P Maynard, D E Malcolm.

Bowling: Maynard 7-1-35-1; Mills 10-3-13-1; Powell 19-7-39-3; Lake 21-3-84-2; Cannonier 1-0-2-0.

ST KITTS AND NEVIS - Second Innings

M Liburd c Russell b Malcolm. . . . . . . . .4 B Thompson c Atherton b Fraser. . . . . . . .9 J Mitcham c Russell b Malcolm. . . . . . . . 1 C Cannonier lbw b Tufnell. . . . . . . . . . 1 H Williams not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 R Powell not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Extras (nb 5). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Total (for 4) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Fall: 1-6, 2-17, 3-17 4-18.

Did not bat: L Lake, * C Tuckett, R Phillip, J C Maynard, M Mills.

Bowling: Malcolm 6-2-8-2; Fraser 5-2-9-1; Lewis 4-3-1-0; Tufnell 3.4-2-4-1.

Umpires: A Weekes and I Merchant.

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