Cricket: West Indies hand out a short lesson

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND were beaten in the third one-day international here at Arnos Vale yesterday after a motley assortment of spin bowlers had kept their score to 209. A half-century by the ever reliable Carl Hooper steered the West Indies to victory by five wickets after England had managed to arrest the progress of the innings in midstream as the West Indies threatened to walk away with it. But England's efforts were ultimately in vain as Keith Arthurton and Phil Simmons comfortably reached the target with 11 balls to spare and the West Indies now lead the five-match series 2-1.

If the reliance on spin was almost unconstitutional by modern West Indian standards, a thumping start by the home side's openers ensured that not all Caribbean habits had been shelved. Later, when the hardness had gone from the ball and scoring had slowed to a steady trickle, it was Hooper who marshalled proceedings, before being crudely run out while cruising down the final straight.

The contrast between him and some of the earlier batsmen was marked and Clayton Lambert, before Angus Fraser removed him, was brutal in his treatment of Dougie Brown, who he belted for five boundaries. Soon after, Brian Lara also joined the party, the West Indies captain smiting a mighty six off Mark Ealham, an act the bowler later avenged when he had Lara caught at mid-on.

Fraser's scalp was his first for nearly three years in a one day match for England, a statement which said more about the selectors than Fraser, who with his white strip of warpaint perhaps looks more like Adam Ant than a modern multi-dimensional limited overs cricketer.

However, fashion statements aside, what you get with Fraser is 100 per cent on the spot consistency. His 10 overs, bowled on the reel, cost just 35 runs.

For someone who deals with cricket balls the way Arnold Schwarzenegger deals with baddies, Wallace was strangely subdued. With the airport runway 50 yards beyond the boundary to the north, and the sea 50 yards over the other to the south, there was every chance the big hitting opener was going to be a danger to aircraft as well as shipping. Instead he dropped anchor, a move which put his side into deep water, particularly after he was bowled by Matthew Fleming for 33 in the 24th over.

Occupation of the crease is one thing, but when two players are doing it - Hooper was also biding his time at this stage --the pressure on those coming in is immense. England know this and with Robert Croft applying his usual tourniquet to the middle of the innings, something had to give. It did and with the score on 125-3, Stuart Williams chipped a tame catch to mid-wicket.

The effectiveness of spin however, after England had won the toss and batted, was undeniable. In fact if you consider the gentle cutters and slower balls of Phil Simmons as part of the guild, the spinners bowled all but 12 overs and took seven of the eight England wickets to fall.

Batting was not any easier against the new ball either, the extra pace and bounce in the pitch forcing batsmen on to the back foot. For that reason, scoring was as free flowing as it had been in Barbados and Nick Knight, a brace of sumptuous innings behind him already, was forced to seek new ways in which to score his runs. It proved to be his downfall, and while trying to loft Curtly Ambrose over the infield, he was well caught by Wallace running back from mid-off.

Unfazed, Stewart, dropped by Rawl Lewis when on eight, combined with Ben Hollioake, who sensing that big shots were probably not the way forward, dabbed singles instead. Of course when the ball was pitched up he still gave it a hearty thump, and one straight drive off McLean was simply perfection.

Looking comfortable, the pair had added 58 when Hollioake, already dropped by Keith Arthurton at deep square leg, took on Phil Simmons and holed out at deep mid-wicket. With the field now back, it was a careless piece of cricket, and one that had more serious repercussions when Stewart and Mark Ramprakash followed him back to the pavilion in rapid succession.

Stewart's departure, after a period of inertia against the slower bowling of Simmons and Carl Hooper, was equally negligent, and his leg-side casual clip to Arthurton, playing instead of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, did not befit an experienced player. Mind you, neither did the shot Ramprakash played, and the Middlesex captain had faced just seven balls, when he attempted to cut Hooper's off-spin, and was bowled off a bottom edge.

A score of 91 for 4, is not the ideal situation to greet a captain, when he comes to the wicket. But greet it Hollioake senior did, though his customary aggressive style had to be put on hold while he and Graeme Hick went about urgent repairs.

Nevertheless, England's one-day captain is rarely constrained for long, and while Hick went about accumulating bits and bobs like a thrifty spinster, Hollioake girded his loins and caste an eye to the boundary's edge. An immensely strong man, Hollioake's change of approach was obvious the moment he swung Simmons high over the mid-wicket fence for six, with no more than a short-arm swat.

Sadly for England, all further attempts were either mishit or missed and he was later bowled of an inside edge as he shaped to drill Lewis through the covers. Bemused, but not becalmed, Hick continued to pick off singles, until hitting out at Arthurton he holed out at long- on. A route Mark Ealham followed to the man, as the England innings fizzled out.

Scoreboard

England won toss

England

N V Knight c Wallace b Ambrose 15

(27 min, 24 balls, 2 fours)

A J Stewart c Arthurton b Simmons 33

(93 min, 61 balls, 3 fours)

B C Hollioake c Wallace b Simmons 35

(53 min, 43 balls, 3 fours)

G A Hick c Williams b Arthurton 45

(89 min, 85 balls, 1 six)

M R Ramprakash b Hooper 1

(4 min, 7 balls)

*A J Hollioake b Lewis s 31

(56 min, 49 balls, 2 fours)

M A Ealham st Jacobs b Lewis 23

(28 min, 24 balls, 1 four)

M V Fleming c Williams b Arthurton 7

(5 min, 5 balls)

D R Brown not out 2

(8 min, 3 balls)

R D B Croft not out 1

(1 min, 2 balls)

Extras (lb7, w6, nb3) 16

Total (for 8, 186 min, 50 overs) 209

Fall: 1-26 (Knight), 2-84 (B Hollioake), 3-90 (Stewart), 4-91 (Ramprakash), 5-166 (A Hollioake), 6-184 (Hick), 7-195 (Fleming), 8-208 (Ealham).

Did not bat: A R C Fraser.

Bowling: Ambrose 5-0-12-1 (one spell), McLean 7-0-33-0 (4-0-20-0 3-0- 13-0), Lewis 10-0-51-2 (nb3,w1) (5-0-29-0 4-0-18-1 1-0-4-1), Simmons 10- 0-45-2 (w3) (8-0-29-2 2-0-16-0), Hooper 10-2-30-1 (w1) (5-1-8-1 3-1-8- 0 2-0-14-0), Arthurton 8-0-31-2 (w1) (1-0-4-0 2-0-5-0 5-0-22-2).

Progress: 50: 52 min, 75 balls. 100: 107 min, 164 balls. 150: 143 min, 232 balls. 200: 180 min, 295 balls.

West Indies

C B Lambert c Stewart b Fraser 22

P A Wallace b Fleming 33

*B C Lara c A Hollioake b Ealham 21

C L Hooper run out 50

S C Williams c Knight b Croft 4

K L T Arthurton not out 35

P V Simmons not out 23

Extras 25

Total (for 5, 48.1 overs) 213

Fall: 1-33 (Lambert), 2-71 (Lara), 3-112 (Wallace), 4-125 (Williams), 5-173 (Hooper)

To bat: R D Jacobs, R N Lewis, N A M McLean, C E L Ambrose.

Umpires: S A Bucknor and B Doctrove.

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