Cricket: Oval delights in wet spectacle

Fifth Test: Tourists take some consolation from last-day disappointment
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IF THEY had been his invention, Heath Robinson would have been immensely proud of the covering arrangements at the Kensington Oval. About 15 huge tarpaulins were pulled on and off the pitch as the first serious rain to hit Barbados for three months frustrated everyone.

When it eventually stopped, three small padded garden rollers, each pushed by one man, sopped up the water lying on the tarpaulins. They had just finished the job when it rained again and so the rollers had to re-sop.

The problem was that the only receptacles for the water collected by the rollers were two small metal wheelbarrows. Each roller had to be lifted up by two men and emptied into one of them. The inevitable result was that half the water was spilled back on to the tarpaulins.

Then, when the rain stopped again and the sopping-up was completed, each cover had to be pulled away by an army of chaps in yellow raincoats. They were pulled off folded double so that any remaining water could be ditched well away from the pitch.

Then the cover was returned to its original position where a complicated folding process was carried out. Then, with due ceremony, the long sausage which it had formed was dragged to the boundary where it waited for the rain to restart. Then we went through it all over again.

It provided grand entertainment. In the Test Match Special radio box we regretted that John Arlott is no longer among those present because he would have loved it and his description of the toings and froings would have been infinitely memorable.

Of course it was sad that such a wonderfully poised match should have been ruined by rain. It is not often that a Test comes into the last day when all three results are possible.

The second onslaught of the match by the West Indies openers, Clayton Lambert and Philo Wallace, had left the locals happy with the thought that the West Indies were about to make the highest score they would ever have made in the fourth innings to win a Test match.

Lambert and Wallace again showed up the inconsistency of Dean Headley and Andy Caddick. They bowled atrociously last Friday evening, splendidly on Saturday afternoon, and miserably again on Sunday evening. It is inexplicable.