Hoggard and the history men hog it

Third Test: Yorkshire's yeoman takes first hat-trick for England since Gough in 1999 and inspires series clean sweep
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The Independent Online

With an irresistible momentum that not so long ago was beyond contemplation, England swept aside West Indies yesterday. In doing so they won the Third Test, the Cable and Wireless Series, and left the Caribbean and its former heroes in a state of shock that will not be easily dissipated.

With an irresistible momentum that not so long ago was beyond contemplation, England swept aside West Indies yesterday. In doing so they won the Third Test, the Cable and Wireless Series, and left the Caribbean and its former heroes in a state of shock that will not be easily dissipated.

For the third successive match the home side's batting folded with all the resistance of a palm tree in a hurricane. On this occasion, their top order batting was utterly undermined by Matthew Hoggard who thus lent a whole new dimension to England's practice of the rotation policy.

He took the first hat-trick for England since Darren Gough, his fellow Yorkshireman, against Australia in early 1999. The vital difference on this occasion was that England were anticipating glorious victory, instead of seeking consolation amid the wreckage.

That task fell to the home side, whose 94 was their lowest total at Bridgetown. It left England with 92 to win and although they lost their captain, Michael Vaughan, on the 19-over dash to the tape, his lack of form is a question for another day. The measure of redemption achieved by his first-wicket partner, Marcus Trescothick, was also, abbreviated when he was out for 42 with two wanted. An eight-wicket victory was still a hammering.

There is one match left in the series, starting in Antigua next Saturday, but even if West Indies somehow pick themselves off the floor to win, it will be meaningless. They are in disarray, lacking gumption and, dare it be mentioned, spirit.

Their captain Brian Lara, was battered and bruised in every sense. Before this series began it was being promulgated that they were ready to rumble, since when they have spent most of their time ensuring that letter C is etched at the start of the third word.

Perhaps not too much should be made of England's performance - compare and contrast their effort late last year in Sri Lanka to the recent all-devouring endeavours there of Australia - but nor should it be belittled. England spent an unfathomably long period being cannon fodder for various West Indian pace attacks but now England have found an attack of their own, appearing together, let it not be forgotten, for the first time.

So far in this one-sided rubber, Hoggard has bowled, usually without swing, in the shadow of the three other seamers in the attack, all of whom, with their various approaches, had taken five-wicket hauls. Hoggard still has not, but arguably has something more precious. He was probably encouraged on waking to be greeted with overcast skies and a humid atmosphere. In those conditions the steady plugger gets more swing than Duke Ellington.

He took a little time to discover his rhythm and when he hit Lara on the arm (after Stephen Harmison had struck the first, heavy blow on the batsman's left elbow), only to see the ball roll excruciatingly past the leg stump, he might have feared the worst. But eventually he shaped one away from Daren Ganga, already the recipient of some generous umpiring for a catch behind, that was edged to third slip.

That was merely the warm-up act before the show. In his eighth over of the morning, Hoggard had Ramnaresh Sarwan, who had looked loose from the start, edging a forward prod to Ashley Giles at first slip. Shivnarine Chanderpaul missed one that swung into him and was out to the sort of lbw for which batsmen walk before the appeal.

At this point, the Barmy Army, who had presumably been coming round slowly after the rum punches of the night before, woke up. Truly, there was something inevitable about Hoggard's hat-trick ball. The noise was cacophonous. Hoggard, trudging back with his farmer's unwieldy gait, gave the ball a rub down his flannels, and although he never quite roars in, this was pretty close to it.

The worst nightmares of the local boy, Ryan Hinds, came true. The ball was on target, he was squared up and edged to second slip where the bucket-like hands of Andrew Flintoff wrapped themselves casually round the ball. Lara's face was a picture of bewildered despair. He had been helpless at the other end when Dominic Cork had achieved a hat-trick at Old Trafford in 1995. But then West Indies were still, just about, cocks of the walk. Now he had it all do again and a few feet kept being added to the Everest in front of him.

There were three breaks for rain. None helped. Ridley Jacobs went before the first, gloving to slip and the minor recovery effected by Lara and Tino Best was ended when Best ballooned to slip the ball after the second rain break.

Lara stood for 35 overs, the lone boy on the burning deck, but there was to be no repeat of previous heroics. He was rapped again, on the right wrist, by Flintoff, and again the physio came on. It seemed to signal that enough was enough. Two balls later he called for a quick single and Pedro Collins was run out by Hussain. Lara was ninth out pulling one from outside the off-stump and Fidel Edwards gave Harmison a second wicket. It was West Indies' fourth double-figure score against England in the last seven Tests. It was abject.

England deserve all that has come their way, but only Graham Thorpe's unforgettable innings had kept them in contention. His unbeaten 119 on Friday was not commanding in terms of its dominant strokeplay, as the 220 balls from which it was scored clearly indicate. But his calmness and assurance, when all around him were losing their heads and therefore their wickets, was masterful. England did not waste it.

Bridgetown scoreboard

England won toss; third day of five

West Indies - First Innings 224 (R R Sarwan 63, S Chanderpaul 50; A Flintoff 5-58)

England - First Innings 226 (G P Thorpe 119*; F H Edwards 4-70)

West Indies - Second Innings (Overnight 21-1)
D Ganga c Thorpe b Hoggard 11
B C Lara c Vaughan b Harmison 33
R R Sarwan c Giles b Hoggard 5
S Chanderpaul lbw b Hoggard 0
R O Hinds c Flintoff b Hoggard 0
R D Jacobs c Butcher b Flintoff 1
T L Best c Trescothick b Flintoff 12
P T Collins run out (Hussain) 1
C D Collymore not out 6
F H Edwards c Nussain b Harmison 2
Extras (lb 5 nb3) 8
Total (42.1 overs) 94

Fall (cont): 2-34 (Ganga), 3-45 (Sarwan), 4-45 (Chanderpaul), 5-45 (Hinds), 6-48 (Jacobs), 7-80 (Best), 8-81 (Collins), 9-85 (Lara).

Bowling: Hoggard 14-4-35-4 (1nb), Harmison 15.1-5-34-3, Flintoff 13-4-20-2 (1nb).

England - Second Innings

M E Trescothick c Jacobs b Collymore 42
M P Vaughan c Jacobs b Collymore 32
M A Butcher not out 13
N Hussain not out 0
Extras (lb3, w1, nb2) 6
Total (for 2, 20 overs) 93

Fall: 1-57 (Vaughan), 2-91 (Trescothick).

Did not bat: G P Thorpe, A Flintoff, C M W Read, A F Giles, M J Hoggard, S P Jones, S J Harmison

Bowling: Edwards 6-0-32-0; Best 3-0-18-0 (1w); Collymore 7-2-24-2; Collins 4-0-16-0 (2nb).

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and R E Koertzen (SA).

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