Cricket: Lewis doubt for Test

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The Independent Online
WITH the effects of Thursday evening's deluge of near biblical proportions still making the going soggy underfoot, England's match against the President's XI finally resumed after lunch yesterday. After declaring at their Thursday night total of 308 for two, England should have delivered the knockout blow when the opposition were reeling at 48 for four but once the ball had lost its hardness, Keith Semple and Keno Mason put on 91 for the fifth wicket and the President's men were 181 for seven at the close.

Opening with Chris Lewis and Andy Caddick, Robin Smith was immediately faced with his first bit of innovative captaincy. Once it had become apparent that Dawnley Joseph - whose footwork made Mark Lathwell's shuffle look like giant strides in comparison - worked more than 90 per cent of his deliveries to leg. His placement of Salisbury behind square on the leg-side immediately paid dividends when Lewis trapped him there as the batsman flicked at a ball delivered at near medium pace.

Lewis then hobbled off with a suspected bruised heel. As it is unlikely that his four overs of less than blistering pace brought this on, the reason is more likely to be his boots. He returned later and even bowled a second spell. But after his second departure from the field, the England management admitted Lewis had been suffering from a heel and ankle problem for some time. Lewis will not know until today whether or not he can play in Thursday's Test match here. If his absence is enforced, then Phil Tufnell must surely play.

Caddick also had his troubles, and although he had Robert Samuels lbw for 12, he still has a habit of bowling one rank half-volley an over, and several times he was put away off the front foot. One such boundary came soon after Carl Hooper had come to the crease, the batsman latching on to a sumptuous straight drive as Caddick once again pitched one up.

Hooper was definitely the man that the sparse crowd had come to see, but one that nipped back from Fraser soon put paid to any potential excitement. However, Hooper and his supporters will have been cheered by the news that he has replaced Roger Harper in the West Indies' squad for the Second Test, which begins here on Thursday.

Salisbury settled for accuracy over turn and was rewarded with the wicket of ShivnarineChanderpaul, caught by Smith at silly point. He had ample opportunity to get more wickets, as Smith kept him wheeling away for 16 overs, but Semple, being Guyanese and therefore well-versed in the wiles of spin due to the sheer amount this pitch normally demands, was harder to pin down. With neat placement and some crisp drives he moved past 50 with a boundary off Salisbury that was misfielded by Thorpe.

With the rare sight of the sun sinking below the horizon, the double return of Fraser and Salisbury removed both Mason and Semple to give England's efforts some credibility. Beyond that, Mike Atherton and his selectors would be better off risking an underbowled Tufnell for Thursday, or at least learning the local rain dance.

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

WEST INDIES BOARD PRESIDENT'S XI

D A Joseph c Salisbury b Lewis 7 R G Samuels lbw b Caddick 12 K F Semple c Russell b Salisbury 76 C L Hooper lbw b Fraser 7 S Chanderpaul c Smith b Salisbury 3 K Mason b Fraser 29 N O Perry c & b Salisbury 32 K A Wong not out 9 R Dhanraj not out 1 Extras 5 Total (for 7) 181

Fall: 1-15 2-26 3-37 4-48 5-139 6-143 7-180.

To bat: C E Cuffy, B St A Browne.

Umpires: L Barker and D P Murray

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