Passion play enlivens series

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Lord's has several times been a pivotal ground in series between England and the West Indies. It remains to be seen if this second Test heralds the long-awaited rebirth of English cricket, but it has unquestionably brought this series to life.

Suddenly, England were again playing with passion, just as they did so memorably last year at The Oval against South Africa. Sadly, it flickered all too seldom in Australia during the winter.

Passion is an amalgam of determination, the will to win and irrepressible enthusiasm. It is extraordinary that a team can have it in one match and then leave it in the dressing-room for the next. Yet with England, this has happened all too often in recent years.

At Lord's, England have had 11 players consumed with a burning desire to win. Surely after this victory the side can only emerge from the pavilion at Edgbaston on Thursday week fired up in the same way. Putting on an England cap should invariably start the adrenalin, but surprisingly this has not always been enough.

In 1928 at Lord's, the West Indies played their first-ever Test match, which they lost by an innings and 58 runs and they lost there again in 1933 and 1939. In 1950, however, they won by 326 runs, with Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine sharing those 18 wickets.

Seven years later, after Peter May and Colin Cowdrey's stand of 411 in the first Test at Edgbaston, England's batsmen confirmed that "Ram and Val" had been well and truly conquered with victory by an innings and 11 wickets for Trevor Bailey.

In 1963, there was that extraordinary draw I wrote about on Saturday, when England were six runs short of victory with one wicket standing. Sir Gary Sobers and his cousin, David Holford, made hundreds and saved the West Indies in 1966. Then in 1973, centuries from Sobers, Rohan Kanhai and Bernard Julien took them to a huge victory in Ray Illingworth's last Test match.

The weather played a part in drawn games in 1976 and 1980, and then in 1984 Gordon Greenidge's phenomenal 214 not out saw the West Indies home by nine wickets.

For their next two visits the West Indies were unstoppable, but their winning sequence has now ended, and England will this morning no longer be regarding Lord's as their unlucky ground.

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