Walsh strikes to secure place in Test history

Veteran bowler takes West Indies tally to 435 with three wickets against struggling Zimbabwe
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The Independent Online

Courtney Walsh yesterday became the leading Test wicket-taker in history when he took his total to 435, surpassing the previous record held by the Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev, in the second Test against Zimbabwe in front of his home crowd here yesterday.

The 37-year-old West Indian pace bowler, who had equalled the record earlier in the day by dismissing the openers Trevor Gripper and Grant Flower in Zimbabwe's second innings, finally achieved the landmark by removing Henry Olonga to a catch from Wavel Hinds at short leg to prompt celebrations from the 5,000 crowd at Sabina Park.

It also proved to be the last wicket of the Zimbabwe innings, completing a collapse to 102 all out because the No 11 batsman Heath Streak was absent hurt. That left West Indies needing 72 to win in their second innings and secure theseries following their dramatic comeback in Trinidad in the first Test.

Walsh, playing in his 114th Test, dismissed Gripper for a duck to a catch from the wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs and Flower for 11 to another Hinds catch with the second and fifth balls of his seventh over in the tourists' second innings. That gave him 434 wickets, tying the six-year-old Test record set by India's Kapil.

The captain, Jimmy Adams, who had earlier completed his sixth Test century, an unbeaten 101 in West Indies' first innings total of 339, kept Walsh going for another four overs before giving him a respite for a later attempt at breaking the record. Walsh was rested with figures of 2 for 16.

Walsh played his first Test against Australia at Perth, Australia, in November 1984, as part of an all-conquering West Indies team who would go unbeaten in any Test series for 15 years between 1980 and 1995.

He captained the West Indies in two separate periods: for five Tests in 1994-95 in place of Richie Richardson, who was recovering from acute fatigue syndrome; and for 22 Tests between 1996 and 1998 before he was replaced by Brian Lara.

The West Indies had taken a first-innings lead of 31, Adams completing a marathon century. Adams' hundred was vital as much to his own status as new captain as to his team's position. The 32-year-old left-hander, in his second Test at the helm following Lara's abdication, started his long vigil late on the second afternoon with the West Indies faltering at 85 for 4.

When he walked off Sabina Park, the ground where he has played for Kingston Club and Jamaica since he was a teenager, Adams had defied the Zimbabweans for eight hours and 25 minutes and 372 balls for his unbeaten 101.

Adams completed his sixth Test century and his first since his unbeaten 208 against New Zealand in Antigua four years and 28 innings earlier. His influence on Franklyn Rose, his fellow Jamaican, was noticeable as they shared a critical eighth-wicket partnership of 147, a new West Indies record. Rose's 69 was his second highest first-class score and his best at Sabina Park.

The pair broke the 26-year-old West Indies eighth-wicket record of 124 between Sir Vivian Richards and the late Keith Boyce. The partnership had started in the disarray of 171 for 7 midway through the previous afternoon and shifted the balance of what has become a wildly fluctuating contest.

Rose moved from 53 overnight to 69, doubling his previous Test highest score before losing his wicket when he edged a catch to a grateful Andy Flower off Neil Johnson.

Adams was on 89 when Walsh was brilliantly caught by Grant Flower at third slip off Johnson's bowling three balls later, and he had to depend on assistance from Reon King to see him through to his landmark.

King duly resisted for 11 more balls until Adams trusted his luck by scrambling his 100th run on a push to mid-on. Bryan Strang's aim was inches wide of the stumps and Adams slumped to the ground in what appeared to be relief.

* Graeme Hick's benefit last year was one of the most successful in English cricket raising a Worcestershire record of £345,406. The England batsman comfortably beat the county's previous best of £271,275 for Richard Illingworth in 1997.


Fourth day; Zimbabwe won toss

ZIMBABWE - First innings 308 (M W Goodwin 113, A Flower 66; R D King 5-51).

WEST INDIES - First Innings (Overnight 295 for 7)

*J C Adams not out 101 F A Rose c A Flower b Johnson 69 C A Walsh c G Flower b Johnson 0 R D King b Olonga 4 Extras (b8 lb18 nb12) 38 Total 339

Fall: 1-37 2-69 3-85 4-85 5-122 6-161 7-171 8-318 9-318. Bowling: Olonga 31.1-8-65-3; Strang 36-17-4-3-1 (nb1); Johnson 37-14-77-4 (nb11); Murphy 36-12-99-2; G Flower 18-11-14-0; Gripper 6-2-15-0.

ZIMBABWE - Second Innings

G W Flower c Hinds b Walsh 11 T R Gripper c Jacobs b Walsh 0 M W Goodwin b King 9 A D R Campbell lbw b Ambrose 22 *ÿA Flower b King 10 N C Johnson b Rose 29 S V Carlisle lbw b Gayle 11 B A Murphy not out 0 B C Strang c Ambrose b Rose 3 H K Olonga c Hinds b Walsh 2 H H Streak absent hurt 3 Extras (lb4 nb5) 9 Total (59.5 overs) 102

Fall: 1-12 (Gripper, 13.1 overs) 2-14 (G W Flower, 13.4 overs) 3-37 (Goodwin, 25.6 overs) 4-48 (A Flower, 29.4 overs) 5-72 (Campbell, 40.3 overs) 6-90 (Carlisle, 53.4) 7-96 (Johnson, 56.2) 8-100 (Strang, 58.6) 9-102 (Olonga, 59.5). Bowling: Ambrose 16-9-14-1 (2nb); Walsh 15.5-6-21-3 (1nb); Rose 12-5-24-2 (2nb); King 10-1-30-2; Gayle 6-3-9-1.

Umpires: Athar Zaidi (Pak) and E A Nicholls.