Cricket: Refined Caddick gets a sniff of the action

England 351 Trinidad & Tobago 217-6
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The Independent Online
It was England's pace bowlers who, following the example of the batsmen the day before, yesterday sampled the bitter taste of success at Guaracara Park. But, if there was a lump at the back of their throats, it was not so much caused by tears of joy than by the fact that this was a working day at the oil refinery next door, where more crude simply meant more smell.

England's bowling on the other hand was a lot more refined and, apart from tepid spells from Robert Croft and Adam Hollioake, the latter's first of the tour, they troubled their opponents for most of the day. Only a 115 partnership between Phil Simmons and Lincoln Roberts after lunch, when the ball had softened, prevented the visitors' total domination on this sluggish pitch.

Andy Caddick, in particular, looked far more threatening than he had at Chedwin Park - the game before the ill-fated match at Sabina Park - and his aggressive opening spell was exactly what his captain will be looking for when this Test series finally gets under way in a few days' time.

With his long limbs finding the easy rhythm that eluded him on the previous evening, he found some disconcerting bounce and swing from the Southern End. Coping with steep bounce tends to force batsmen into playing back when they should be coming forward, a mistake Suraj Ragoonath later made when Caddick had him lbw, half forward.

In Caddick's next over, the steep bounce again bore dividends and Denis Rampersad had little option than to glove a wicked rising delivery to short-leg, where John Crawley took a comfortable catch.

When the Somerset paceman rested, Dean Headley and Angus Fraser continued to push for wickets, which fell regularly until lunch after which Trinidad retrenched with a captain's contribution from Simmons and a fine 60 from Lincoln.

Knowing that choice of ends is not a luxury likely to befall him too often on this tour, Fraser opted to trundle into the breeze. Success came with his second ball, as the teenage Darren Ganga fell lbw, trying to hoist the ball over the pavilion.

Headley, now with the wind at his back, was even more successful, removing Richard Smith and David Williams to leave the home side reeling at 92 for 5 and in real danger of being made to follow on, the deficit in two- day cricket being 100 runs and not the 150-run margin used in three and four day games.

However, with the pitch quieter than it had been in the morning, Trinidad clawed their way out of danger, the tall Lincoln combining well with his captain before being caught at slip in Caddick's second spell, half an hour before tea, which give the bowler a third wicket.

The hysteria over pitches in this part of the world refuses to die down, and many who have yet to see the two Test pitches being prepared at the Queen's Park Oval have begun to pronounce on them.

For some reason, the fact that the pitches lined up for the Tests are side by side, a juxtaposition demanded by television and not the ground authorities, has been made to sound like a serious offence.

The facts of the matter are far more mundane, and TV has long dictated pitch position and the fact that potentially the best strip is not being used because it compromises camera positions is neither here nor there. Without TV rights and coverage, none of the current sponsors would be involved, and cricket here and elsewhere would be in a far worse financial state.

There is nothing worse for cricket than slow placid pitches that produce draws, which is why the West Indies Cricket Board has decided to re-lay many of its Test match squares. That is not to say, however, that adjacent pitches are an ideal way to play back-to-back Tests at the same venue, and the groundstaff will no doubt have to work harder than normal to minimise the scuffing up of the second pitch.

But if this is being made out to be unsatisfactory, any damage that occurs - from the bowler's follow through and short-leg's scrapings - is likely to occur on a spinner's length. So far only England have any to select.

l The former West Indies fast bowler Colin Croft has called on the West Indies Cricket Board to resign after the pitch for the first Test against England was ruled unfit for play.


England won toss

ENGLAND - First Innings

*M A Atherton c Francis b Ramnarine 61

A J Stewart b Ramnarine 73

J P Crawley b Rampersad 33

N Hussain c Ramnarine b Samaroo 66

G P Thorpe c Roberts b Ramnarine 0

A J Hollioake c Raganooth b Ramnarine 0

R C Russell c Raganooth b Samaroo 77

R B D Croft lbw b Samaroo 13

A R Caddick not out 2

D W Headley c Raganooth b Ramnarine 0

A R C Fraser lbw b Samaroo 3

Extras (b4 lb3 w5 nb11) 23

Total (86 overs) 351

Fall: 1-131 2-157 3-196 4-197 5-205 6-291 7-329 8-344 9-348.

Bowling: Francis 13-3-68-0; Bishop 10-0-54-0; Simmons 4-1-10-0; Ramnarine 30-3-72-5; Samaroo 31-3-91-4; Rampersad 8-0-49-1.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - First Innings

(Overnight: 22 for 0)

S Raganooth lbw b Caddick 15

D Ganga lbw b Fraser 41

B Rampersad c Crawley b Caddick 0

R Smith lbw b Headley 22

L Roberts c Thorpe b Caddick 60

D Williams c Hussain b Headley 0

*P V Simmons not out 46

A Samaroo not out 3

Extras (b4 lb12 nb14) 30

Total (for 6, 64 overs) 217

Fall: 1-30 2-39 3-90 4-90 5-92 6-207.

To bat: N B Francis, I R Bishop, D Ramnarine.

Bowling (to date): Caddick 12-1-38-3; Headley 12-3-34-2; Croft 21-5-71- 0; Fraser 10-0-27-1; Hollioake 9-0-31-0.

Umpires: T Birbal and E Ali.