Swan strikes aid England's hopes

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The Independent Online

Graeme Swann claimed a double strike before lunch as England pressed for a further advantage in the third Test.

Off-spinner Swann removed overnight duo Devon Smith and Daren Powell during a fine spell from the pavilion end as West Indies closed the morning session on 132 for three at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

Following a fallow first hour, Swann struck with just the second delivery after drinks when left-hander Smith was bowled attempting to heave to the leg-side.

Having been preferred to spin rival Monty Panesar for this hastily-arranged third Test, Swann then celebrated another success with a classical off-spinner's dismissal.

Powell lunged forward at one which did not spin as much as some of its predecessors and Paul Collingwood snapped up the outside edge, tumbling to his left at slip.

England, and Swann, believed they had claimed a third wicket of the day with the very next ball but umpire Daryl Harper turned down leg-before appeals against left-hander Ryan Hinds.

It proved a struggle for reward for England's pacemen, however, on a benign surface which nevertheless offers variable bounce from a ridge at one end.

Fast bowler Steve Harmison was forced off the field with illness midway through the session after feeling sick during a short spell of bowling.

Harmison initially continued after being visited at fine leg by team doctor Mike Stone but departed temporarily following a burst of 4-1-14-0 this morning.

That England had to wait so long for a success was in part their own doing.

James Anderson twice found the edge of nightwatchman Powell's bat in the opening over from the pavilion end.

However, a conservative field cost England a breakthrough as the ball flew to the boundary through the vacant region between second slip and gully at catchable height.

The next flash for four cleared the top of a strengthened cordon to further frustrate an attack striving for early breakthroughs.

Swann opened up this morning, initially as a ploy to allow Harmison to switch to the Factory Road end of the ground, from which the pacemen have exploited variable bounce.

But some turn in his first over delayed the switch temporarily and Harmison eventually came into the attack for the fifth over of the morning.

He was one of three bowlers to hit the football centre circle line which runs across the pitch to send the ball scuttling low past wicketkeeper Matt Prior on its way for four byes - Andrew Flintoff and Stuart Broad also beating everything on the way to the rope.

Few deliveries flew from the same line-marking groove, however, a snorter from Harmison which took the shoulder of the bat on the way to the boundary aside.