On the Front Foot: England’s ship still afloat but Rec record is hard to fathom

After the great Test at the Rec, also known as the Antigua Recreation Ground, England no doubt felt miffed and robbed. They will hardly be consoled – especially as the match was never meant to be played – that they have extended the venue’s record as England’s least successful ever. There have now been seven Test matches between West Indies and England at the dilapidated but enduringly charming arena, of which the touring team have won none. At no other ground have they been quite so unrewarded. Wherever they have played a minimum of five matches, England have won at least one. It took until their seventh Test to win at the National Stadium, Karachi, a feat they came so close to equalling at the ARG. It was only the fourth match in which England have been denied victory for want of a single wicket, following those against India at Old Trafford in 1946 and at Lord’s in 2007, and against Australia at Old Trafford in 2005. For West Indies, who have lost three of their 22 Tests at the Rec, it was their second successive draw there with only one wicket in hand. Fidel Edwards, a last-wicket hero against India in 2006 when he batted for 57 minutes and faced 36 balls, was undefeated this time after 26 balls in 34 minutes. He is the only player in history to have three times been part of a last-wicket stand to save a Test match, his first being at Harare in 2003 when he batted for 32 minutes and successfully negotiated 33 balls. When he walked out at the Rec he must have thought the draw was in the bag.

Boycs startles Shepherd

That great stalwart of Kent, John Shepherd, was in Antigua and will be in Barbados for the Test match. Still living in the county he represented so nobly as an overseas all-rounder for 15 years in 303 first-class and 250 one-day matches, he played only five Tests for West Indies. The selectors, rather more spoiled for choice then, were still misguided. Shepherd remains a popular figure wherever he goes and bumped into Geoff Boycott at the Antigua Test. The pair shook hands and Shepherd said how good it was to meet Boycott again. Without so much as a hello, Boycott merely responded: “That lbw at Old Trafford wasn’t out. It were going down the leg side. I don’t know what that silly old fool Charlie Elliott was thinking.” Shepherd was somewhat taken aback. The innings to which Boycott referred was played for England against West Indies in the First Test, Shepherd’s debut, 40 years ago. He had 128 at the time.

Close call with Sir Allen

Phew, what a narrow escape. When the Second Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium was abandoned, immediate efforts were made to salvage the situation by starting a new match elsewhere in Antigua. Mike Haysman, the director of cricket operations for Sir Allen Stanford, offered the use of the Stanford Cricket Ground which stands next to the airport. It was politely declined, partly because it would have taken five days to prepare a pitch at the ground. Stanford was accused of the $8bn fraud on the third day of the match.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor