Cricket: Reminder of missed chance in Trinidad

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The Independent Online
IT was perhaps appropriate that the Queen's Park Oval was the venue for the final match of this tour as it had been the pivotal ground for the recent Test series and therefore for the tour as a whole.

The crucial moment came on the fourth and fifth days of the second Test back in February. After the fiasco over the pitch in Jamaica and the abandonment of the Test at Sabina Park, which England must have lost had it been played out, two Test matches were played in Port of Spain, England and the West Indies winning one each.

England's last six second innings wickets had fallen for only 30 runs and the West Indies needed to make 282, the highest score of the match to win. After 44 overs they were 124 for 5 when David Williams, the wicketkeeper, joined Carl Hooper. Suddenly, England's bowling and fielding fell apart.

The bowlers lost their control, the fielding grew worse and on the last morning two catches were dropped. The England players pointed to bad umpiring. None the less, in spite of the umpiring, England should still have won comfortably. For the first, and by no means the last, time on this tour the bowlers wilted under the pressure.

If England had won this Test match and had left Port of Spain 2-0 up, the pattern of the series would have been very different with the West Indies committed to playing catch-up cricket. At worst, England would have drawn the series, 2-2 and might easily have won it.

In this last meaningless one- day international only three of the side who played in that second Test were on the field, Alex Stewart, Angus Fraser and Adam Hollioake - four, if you count Mike Atherton, who came out cheerfully but a touch humiliatingly with the water cart at the drink intervals.

It was Fraser who took us back to those two Test matches where he picked up 20 wickets. On this last day of the tour he bowled 10 impeccable overs for 28 runs. Once again, he showed how to bowl at Brian Lara, just short of a length on and outside the off stump. Andy Caddick and Dean Headley should have held their heads in shame.

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