West Indies give a lesson in class

England Under-19 142-9 West Indies Under-19 143-8 West Indies win by 2 wickets
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The Independent Online

The future is a scary place if the activity under floodlights at the County Ground last evening was anything to go by. The West Indies Under-19s gave a good impression of being older and better than their English counterparts.

England won the toss and, having elected to bat in near ideal conditions (and certainly far better than West Indies had to contend with later when the light went and the atmosphere grew heavy), more was expected of them.

At least their bowlers made a fight of it. The admirable Chris Tremlett, Kyle Hogg (grandson of the great West Indies spin bowler Sonny Ramadhin) and Kent's Rob Ferley all did their best to spare England blushes.

Even so they found the classy Devon Smith quite a handful. At times bowling to Smith, a Grenadian left-handed opener, it must have seemed to England as if they were bowling to the whole of the county of Devon so wide was his bat. He and Brenton Parchment put on 58 for the first wicket, of which Smith's contribution was 45.

His half-century was a formality, coming off 65 balls. He was aggressive when it was justified and prudent the rest of the time. He is a gem in the process of being polished and a Test batsman of the very near future. He perished with his one error, a misjusdged drive. That sparked a flurry of wickets which created a tense finale, but the tourists eased home in a tense finish with one ball to spare.

Their frontline bowlers, Andrew Richardson and Jermaine Lawson, were an imposing pair. Lawson bowled with great control and no little pace. Richardson has a longer run-up and let go some wickedly fast balls.

Right behind them was the supremely competent and dangerous left arm medium pacer Kenroy Peters, who had a fabulous return of one for 10 off 10 overs. When the pacemen had done their stuff there was a queue of spinners lining up.

The host side came into this three-match one-day series and three-Test rubber without a sponsor and are without four first-choice players. They looked forlorn with the bat early on (they did not reach three figures until the 39th over), having begun with an appalling run-out in the second over. Late in the innings, when they were trying to salvage something, they suffered two more run-outs and a stumping as five wickets fell in the space of four overs for 10 runs.