Same score, same result, same old story. England were again 20 runs short of what they needed in scoring 280 yesterday, lost the match, this time by four wickets with 17 balls left, and must immediately have recognised that they had been down this path many times before.
They made it hard for the West Indies to take a 2-1 lead in the abbreviated Cable & Wireless Series but not hard enough. The blitzkrieg in the sixth match - but only the third finished - came at the beginning rather than at the end as it had in the fifth the day before, but come it did. And England were similarly impotent in its wake.
There were the consolations of a maiden half-century for one of their young guns, Andrew Strauss, and of blowing out the candles on Brian Lara's 35th birthday cake when he should have seen his team home. But they may not be sufficient to help Michael Vaughan to come back and tie the series in the final match on Wednesday. Home is getting closer with each passing hour: it took the tourists 65 days to lose their first match in the Caribbean and the next one followed in 24 hours.
On Saturday, the tourists might have expected that their 281 was enough to contain the opposition but when they fell a run short of that yesterday, they must equally have suspected what was to come. Once more, it arrived in a deluge to match the rain that had fallen wherever they had been in the Caribbean in the previous fortnight.
The electrifying pace of West Indies' second-wicket partnership immediately took the contest away from England. Ricardo Powell, the only top order batsman in the world who scores his runs at more than a run a ball, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who is succeeding admirably at getting up England's pipe in this series, shared 97 from 76 balls and England were reeling. It was the latter part of Saturday revisited with different tormentors.
England were wilting - that was more or less immediate déjà vu - and were clinging on to the old adage that two wickets would change everything. They got them in four balls by changing the bowling. First, Gareth Batty persuaded Powell to hole out to the substitute fielder Anthony McGrath at long on. Then Chanderpaul pulled Rikki Clarke's first ball, a long hop, straight to mid-wicket. It was difficult to tell who was the more surprised.
England could not be faulted for endavour and when Andrew Flintoff deceived Ramnaresh Sarwan with a slower ball and Dwayne Smith fell to a running catch on the boundary yesterday's heroes were no more.
The day had begun for Lara with a husky-voiced maiden singing Happy Birthday for him to the crowd. Shades of Marilyn Monroe and President John Kennedy, but this was Bernadette Saltibus, attaché to the governor general of St Lucia. When Lara bedded himself in for his 54th one-day fifty (there have been 18 hundreds as well) he seemed certain to secure the victory.
But yet again Steve Harmison was his undoing, this time somewhat less legitimately as a long hop went off an edge down Darren Gough's throat at square leg. It was a mere splutter.
Strauss made a highly proficient half-century after England lost the toss. He is known to his newish colleagues as Lord Brocket, which probably says more about them and their television viewing habits than him. Well-spoken chap, articulate, clever, top public school (Radley), proper university (Oxford), sunny disposition, must be a bit posh.
Strauss's innings in the sixth one-day international reflected his personality to a large extent. It was studious and considered but not afraid to show an occasional touch of mischief. Unfortunately, he got out when he should have been seeing out the innings. But it was a calm occupation, without a touch of jungle fever, from which he can learn much. There did not seem to be a great deal in common with Lord Brocket.
Vaughan also made 67, from 71 balls when he took a madcap single and was run out. Ridiculously, he awaits his first one-day century. The question of whether either innings was enough for England's purposes was swiftly answered.
West Indies won toss
M E Trescothick b Rampaul 29
M P Vaughan run out (Powell TV replay) 67
A J Strauss lbw b Gayle 67
A Flintoff c Chanderpaul b Bradshaw 43
P D Collingwood c Sarwan b Powell 38
C M W Read run out (Jacobs-Dillon) 11
R Clarke b Dillon 6
G J Batty b Gayle 1
D Gough not out 3
S J Harmison not out 0
Extras (lb3, w10, nb2) 15
Total (for 8, 215 mins, 50 overs) 280
Fall: 1-57 (Trescothick), 2-141 (Vaughan), 3-199 (Strauss), 4-251 (Flintoff), 5-258 (Collingwood), 6-273 (Read), 7-276 (Clarke), 8-276 (Batty).
Did not bat: J M Anderson
Bowling: Rampaul 8-0-54-1 (nb1,w2) (6-0-34-1, 2-0-20-0); Dillon 10-0-59-1 (nb1, w3) (7-0-31-0, 1-0-14-0, 2-0-14-1), Bradshaw 10-0-61-1 (w2) (4-0-23-0, 6-0-38-1), Bravo 5-0-25-0 (w1), Smith 5-0-30-0 (one spell each); Gayle 10-0-39-2 (w1) (9-0-36-1, 1-0-3-1), Powell 2-0-9-1 (w1) (one spell).
Progress: 50: 43 min, 57 balls. 15 overs score: 73-1. 100: 90 min, 118 balls. 150: 126 min, 172 balls. 200: 163 min, 230 balls. 250: 187 min, 270 balls.
Vaughan's 50: 96 min, 58 balls, 6 fours. Strauss's 50: 81 min, 63 balls, 5 fours.
C H Gayle lbw b Gough 9
S Chanderpaul c Batty b Clarke 63
R L Powell c sub (A McGrath) b Batty 38
R R Sarwan b Flintoff 28
B C Lara c Gough b Harmison 57
D R Smith c Strauss b Batty 18
D D J Bravo not out 33
R D Jacobs not out 19
Extras (lb6, w11) 17
Total (for 6, 211 mins, 47.1overs) 282
Fall: 1-15 (Gayle), 2-112 (Powell), 3-113 (Chanderpaul), 4-185 (Sarwan), 5-206 (Smith), 6-244 (Lara).
Did not bat: I D R Bradshaw, M Dillon, R Rampaul.
Bowling: Gough 8.1-0-67-1 (w2) (4-0-31-1 1-0-7-0 2-0-18-0 1.1-0-11-0); Harmison 10-0-52-1 (w3) (3-0-20-0 4-0-16-0 3-0-16-1); Anderson 4-0-27-0 (one spell); Flintoff 9-0-55-1 (w1) (4-0-32-0 2-0-14-1 3-0-9-0); Batty 9-0-40-2 (w3) (5-0-23-1 3-0-13-1 1-0-4-0); Clarke 7-0-35-1 (w2) (6-0-27-1 1-0-8-0).
Progress: 50: 31 min, 41 balls. 100: 66 min, 85 balls. 150: 108 min, 143 balls. 200: 128 min, 197 balls. 250: 165 min, 250 balls.
Chanderpaul 50: 52 min, 42 balls, 6 fours, 1 six. Lara 50: 89 min, 62 balls, 4 fours.
Result: West Indies won by four wickets
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak) and E A Nicholls (WI).
TV replay umpire: B R Doctrove (WI).
Match referee: J J Crowe (NZ).Reuse content