Collymore shows tourists how to avoid whitewash

As diligently as they tried, the West Indies could not compensate for the hole their habitually ineffective batting dug for them on the previous afternoon.

As diligently as they tried, the West Indies could not compensate for the hole their habitually ineffective batting dug for them on the previous afternoon.

They were appreciably keener and more committed throughout than at Lord's and Edgbaston. But it was unrealistic to expect an attack as inexperienced as the one at Brian Lara's disposal - which had twice conceded totals of over 500 in the series - to dismiss cocksure opponents for under 231.

Had the batsmen given them 100 more the day before, as they should have, England would have had more to think about.

As it was, England had convincing rehearsals for such a challenge twice before this summer. Set over 280 to get in the last innings by New Zealand they were 35 for at Lord's and romped home for the loss of only one more wicket. At Trent Bridge they were 16 for 2 and still won by four wickets.

They would have approached yesterday's lesser challenge with understandable optimism that they could claim their sixth consecutive Test victory.

They now go to The Oval on Thursday on the verge of avenging the whitewashes their predecessors sustained against the powerful teams of Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards. Unless the West Indies bat more consistently, they will complete it.

The West Indies began yesterday consumed by the disappointment of, yet again, spurning a favourable position.

To press England, they required all the luck that was going, every catch to stick, flawless out-cricket and Dave Mohammed, the first specialist spinner they have used in the series, to reproduce the threat posed by England's Ashley Giles on a worn pitch the day before. They were denied on all counts.

In the best exhibition of West Indies bowling in the series, Corey Collymore could have had more than one wicket as his reward. He breached Marcus Trescothick's defences with an ideal delivery and tormented Robert Key with out-swingers around off-stump, even when the unflappable Key was entrenched. Michael Vaughan won't endure an over more testing than Collymore's midway through the day.

When Key's outside edge was finally clipped and the catch flew to second slip, Sylvester Joseph parried it away. Key was on 58, England were then 71 away from their goal. It was the West Indies' last chance.

Collymore has made an impressive return after coming in as a replacement for the injured teenager, Ravi Rampaul. He was dropped after the home series against England in the spring for his lack of success but the selectors did not take into account the misfortune that followed him there as well.

His was not the only hard luck story. Vaughan's miscued hook off the pacy Fidel Edwards would have left England on 42 for 3 had the diving wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh been able to make the catch, but the ball fell a foot away from him.

When on 42, Key's tentative edge off Chris Gayle touched down a foot or so short of Lara at slip. There were a couple of close lbw decisions and there was more playing and missing by England than at Lord's and Edgbaston put together.

The proliferation of no balls - 14 in all - also hurt a team seeking to defend a modest target.

Perhaps the hardest part for the West Indies was believing they could do it. Their last victory overseas over opponents other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, the only two teams ranked below them by the International Cricket Council, was four years ago over England at Edgbaston.

It has generated a lack of conviction, evident once more in Lara's reversion to typically defensive mode as soon as Key and Vaughan got stuck in.

With England still more than 100 adrift, fields were spread far and wide. Key, Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff comfortably worked the ball into the spaces for singles and twos. It signalled a resignation to the outcome even before the game was up.

It will take all of the motivational skills of Lara, the coach, Gus Logie, and senior players to lift spirits sufficiently to avoid England's clean sweep. The portents are not encouraging.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks
tv

Regular cast member Ste Hay, played by Kieron Richardson, is about to test TV boundaries

Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
techPerils of 'text neck' revealed
News
i100
News
Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt
peopleStonewall boss says many fear it could ruin their careers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

How to shop politically

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits
The science of sex: What happens when science meets erotica

Sex on the brain

Fetishes, dominatrixes, kinks and erotica. They are subjects that should get the crowds flocking to a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection