Cricket / Second Test: Stewart struggles to stave off defeat: England in desperate straits after Ambrose knocks a huge hole in their survival prospects

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England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .322 and 119-4

West Indies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .556

RAYMOND Illingworth is watching this series via the satellite dish attached to his winter home in Torremolinos, and if the new chairman of selectors is not already starting to question whether he could have plumped for an easier job - such as managing the local pelota team - then he soon might be.

Unless Georgetown is visited by one of its regular monsoons tomorrow (and a couple of showers spared them nearly an hour of extra pain yesterday) England are about to go

2-0 down in this series. On an uneven pitch, but not quite as uneven as the contest between these two teams, England are still 115 runs away from making the West Indies bat again with six second innings wickets remaining in this second Test.

As if they did not have enough problems, it appears Mike Atherton's team are not quite as young as he thought when he decided to leave one or two of the older lags at home. Chris Lewis claims to be 26 (born 14 February 1968) while Georgetown's registrar of births is under the impression that he is actually 28, and was born on 10 February 1966.

Lewis certainly looks older than when he first arrived here (although his baldness is self- inflicted rather than an act of nature) and it would also explain why several of his performances on this tour have had the hallmark of someone closer to a pension book than anyone suspected.

Mike Smith, the tour manager, yesterday deflected inquiries by saying it was a 'personal and irrelevant' matter, which is true enough up to a point, but mysterious none the less. Lewis bowled pretty well yesterday, but it was largely to the West Indian tail, which is even more fragile than England's.

However, when you are operating from a position of 505 for 7, a fragile tail is more irrelevant that the writing on Lewis' birth certificate, and the West Indies final total of 556 was the highest ever made in a Test on this ground.

The West Indian tail had, in any event, the guiding influence at the other end of Jimmy Adams, who this time - unlike Jamaica - did not run out of partners before reaching his maiden Test century. England finally got Adams out yesterday after bowling at him for a combined two Test total of 12 hours and 39 minutes.

However, it was the manner of Adams' dismissal, lbw to a ball from Alan Igglesden that did not rise about shin height, that made one fear for England when they went in again. The ball that did for Adams was a near bouncer compared to the one that removed Mark Ramprakash, and Atherton, who provided Ambrose with his 200th Test wicket when he chopped the fourth ball of the innings on to his stumps, was also undone by one that failed to get up.

Even so, it was still a high- class spell of fast bowling from Curtly Ambrose that left England grimly placed at 30 for 2, and when Ambrose returned for another burst after tea, he promptly had Robin Smith edging to second slip.

Graeme Hick, taking his eye off a short one, was then hit on the elbow by Kenneth Benjamin, and it effectively got him out. Next ball, when Hick should have been looking to get forward, Benjamin speared one through his leaden-footed jab, and the ghosts that Hick may have thought he had exorcised in Jamaica, are queuing up to haunt him once again.

Only Alec Stewart (72 not out) is making a fight of it, and uplifting though some of his strokeplay has been, his aggressive style makes him more vulnerable than most to the awkward bounce. On one occasion, he was a fagpaper away from being lbw to a ball from Winston Benjamin that hit him just above the boot.

The thought occurred on Saturday, not for the first time on this tour, that the bonus side of watching England is being treated to some of the world's best batsmen smashing it to all parts. Brian Lara is certainly in that bracket now, and the only time he looked in any bother was when (such is his appetite for batting) he had a lunchtime knock-up against his own team- mates when he was 131 not out.

There was also something perturbing about watching the 19-year-old Shivnarine Chanderpaul (and as he looks about 14, the Georgetown registrar might soon be thumbing through his records again ) handling England's attack as though they were net bowlers.

Such is Chanderpaul's popularity here that had he gone on to make a century they would probably have renamed the pavilion after him. A century might also have made it a bit tricky to leave him out for the next Test in Trinidad, where riots are a distinct possibility if Phil Simmons is not reinstated, although the West Indian selectors can still get round that by dropping Junior Murray and giving the wicketkeeping gloves to Adams.

It will be interesting to see if both wicketkeepers survive this game. By his standards, Jack Russell had a horrible day on Saturday, including a couple of missed stumpings, one of them when Adams was on 96. Malcolm has to be accommodated, and you would not get generous odds at the moment on Russell being busier with his paints and easel than with cricket this time next week.

Now for the good news. Devon Malcolm has recovered from the knee cartilage trouble which forced him to fly home after the third Test, and will rejoin the team in Trinidad tomorrow night. Looking at the bowling figures since he went, it has now reached the stage when England will be picking Malcolm as an economy bowler.

SCOREBOARD

(Fourth day: West Indies won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings 322 (M A Atherton 144; C E L Ambrose 4-58).

WEST INDIES - First Innings

(Overnight Friday: 152 for 1)

D L Haynes c Russell b Salisbury. . . . . . . . . . . 63 (212 min, 135 balls, 6 fours) B C Lara c Atherton b Lewis. . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 (256 min, 210 balls, 25 fours, 2 sixes) K L T Arthurton c Thorpe b Salisbury. . . . . . . . . .5 (29 min, 16 balls, 1 four) J C Adams lbw b Iggesden. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137 (414 min, 262 balls, 21 fours) S Chanderpaul b Salisbury. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62 (163 min, 135 balls, 9 fours) J C Murray lbw b Salisbury. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 (1 min, 1 ball) W K M Benjamin b Fraser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 (59 min, 53 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) C E L Ambrose c Russell b Lewis. . . . . . . . . . . .10 (21 min, 14 balls, 1 four) K C G Benjamin c Russell b Lewis. . . . . . . . . . . .1 (17 min, 15 balls) C A Walsh not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 (28 min, 10 balls) Extras (b2 lb6 w1 nb13). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Total (659 min, 153.3 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . .556

Fall (cont): 2-177 (Haynes), 3-203 (Arthurton), 4-315 (Lara), 5-441 (Chanderpaul), 6-441 (Murray), 7-505 (W Benjamin), 8-520 (Ambrose),

9-532 (K Benjamin), 10-556 (Adams).

Bowling: Lewis 28-1-110-3 (nb9) (5-0-14-0, 4- 0-19-0, 6-0-28-1, 4-1-9-0, 9-0-40-2); Igglesden 24.3-3-94-1 (5-0-16-0, 5-3-13-0, 4-0-26-0, 4-0- 13-0, 3-0-14-0, 3.3-0-12-1); Fraser 29-5-85-2 (nb4) (9-2-22-1, 6-0-19-0, 5-1-18-0, 3-0-13-0, 6- 2-13-1); Salisbury 37-4-163-4 (11-2-36-0, 11-2- 55-2, 5-0-26-0, 10-0-46-2); Hick 20-1-61-0 (4-0- 12-0, 9-1-30-0, 7-0-19-0); Ramprakash 15-1-35- 0 (nb3, w1) (7-1-20-0, 8-0-15-0).

Progress (third day): 200: 239 min, 56.2 overs. 250: 294 min, 69.4 overs. Lunch: 263-3 (Lara 131, Adams 19) 76 overs. New ball: 80 overs, 286-3. 300: 333 min, 81.2 overs. 350: 400 min, 94.3 overs. Tea: 374-4 (Adams 58, Chanderpaul 32) 102 overs. 400: 472 min, 112.1 overs. 450: 37 min, 127.5 overs. Close: 487-6 (Adams 102, W Benjamin 37) 135 overs. Fourth day: 500: 579 min, 138.2 overs. Rain stopped play: 11.03-11.15, 528-8 (Adams 123, K Benjamin 1) 146.5 overs. 550: 648 min, 152 overs. Innings closed: 11.52am.

Haynes' 50: 162 min, 95 balls, 5 fours.

Lara's 50: 76 min, 67 balls, 8 fours. 100: 161 min, 124 balls, 16 fours. 150: 222 min, 190 balls, 24 fours, 1 six.

Adams' 50: 151 min, 102 balls, 9 fours. 100: 302 min, 196 balls, 16 fours.

Chanderpaul's 50: 124 min, 104 balls, 8 fours.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

* M A Atherton b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 (5 min, 4 balls) A J Stewart not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 (196 min, 125 balls, 12 fours) M R Ramprakash b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 (41 min, 27 balls) R A Smith c Richardson b Ambrose. . . . . . . . . .24 (84 min, 52 balls, 2 fours) G A Hick b K Benjamin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 (7 min, 5 balls, 1 four) G P Thorpe not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 (51 min, 30 balls, 2 fours) Extras (lb2 nb1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Total (for 4, 196 min, 40.2 overs). . . . . . . . 119

Fall: 1-0 (Atherton), 2-30 (Ramprakash), 3-91 (Smith), 4-96 (Hick).

To bat: R C Russell, C C Lewis, I D K Salisbury, A R C Fraser, A P Igglesden.

Bowling (to date): Ambrose 12-2-25-3 (7-2- 19-2, 5-0-6-1); Walsh 12-2-42-0 (4-0-11-0, 4-1- 15-0, 4-1-16-0); W Benjamin 6-0-32-0; K Benjamin 10-5-18-1 (one spell each).

Progress: Rain delayed restart before and after lunch until 1.01pm. 50: 67 min, 14.0 overs. Tea: 79-2 (Stewart 51, Smith 22) 22 overs. 100: 146 min, 29.5 overs. Bad light stopped play: 4.35pm.

Stewart's 50: 97 min, 63 balls, 9 fours.

Umpires: C R Duncan and S Venkataraghavan.

Match Referee: J R Reid.

(Photograph omitted)

South Africa collapse,

Srinath in command, page 30

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