Walsh gets in the mood

As West Indies warm up for the one-day series, four-wicket burst from strike bowler comforts his captain
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AS A warm-up for this week's Texaco one-day internationals, this match has hardly required the West Indies to step out of their shell suits. Although weakened by the loss of their opening bowlers, Somerset have competed only in fits and starts, and ended the day narrowly avoiding the follow-on.

The county's vaunted opening pair of Mark Lathwell and Marcus Trescothick failed to live up to their reputation and it was left to Peter Bowler and Richard Harden, who put on 150 for the third wicket, to take advantage of some less than daunting bowling from the visitors, before Kenny Benjamin produced a beauty to find the edge of Bowler's bat.

With Courtney Walsh back in the pavilion nursing a sore shoulder after a short spell with the new ball, Bowler and Harden set to work, playing with pluck and aggression. Curtly Ambrose in particular came in for some rare stick, as both batsmen pulled and hooked him at will. When he tried to step up a gear, he overstepped and his nine overs cost 64 runs, 22 of them coming from no-balls.

Thus far, Ambrose's tour figures read 23-2-157-1, with 28 no-balls, not exactly the kind of form that sends captains happily to sleep at night. Ambrose and Walsh are crucial to Richie Richardson's ambitions this summer, so the West Indies captain will have been relieved when Walsh returned to bowl half an hour after tea to add three more wickets to that of Lathwell, yorked in his fourth over.

In a sustained burst from the river end, Walsh first forced the Somerset captain, Andy Hayhurst, to tread on his stumps, and then removed the all- rounder Keith Parsons for a duck two balls later, caught behind by Courtney Browne. This was one of four catches for the Barbados wicketkeeper, who was also at hand when Walsh, bowling a far fuller length than the other pacemen, removed Graham Rose, leaving Somerset at 268 for seven.

Less pleasing for Richardson were the 55 extras the visitors conceded and Somerset saved the follow-on when Walsh overstepped. The tourists had three spinners on duty, but only Rajindra Dhanraj was successful, taking three wickets, one a fine return catch to end Harden's knock of 78.

Dhanraj is something of a living fossil - a West Indian leg-spinner who can't bat. He is unlikely to play regular Test cricket until he can convince selectors he can take three or four wickets an innings.

Similarly, Lathwell needs to convince his national selectors. He quickly showed that the footwork problems that have shackled his progress have not been cured as he squirted the ball unconvincingly through the slips for four. A few overs later, he played all round a Walsh yorker and was bowled. Lathwell obviously has a rare natural ability, but his failure to reveal it consistently says as much about the inabilities of the coaching staff as it does about the player's quality.

His opening partner, Tresco-thick, not yet 19, has a more orthodox method, though he too needs to work on knowing where his off-stump is. Against the predicted short stuff, he looked admirably solid. However, as soon as Benjamin pitched up, the young left-hander edged behind, opening the face of his bat as the ball left him off the pitch.

Keen to get his players into form, Richardson continued batting on through the morning, declaring at 449 for eight. This was ostensibly to let Jimmy Adams get an early tour hundred under his belt. Following some delicate leg-side glances, however, the left-handed Jamaican fell nine runs short, top-edging a paddled sweep to Lathwell.

Adams's role as the anchor man has come under scrutiny recently. After a superb tour of India, his failures against Australia saw him lose confidence. He favours working the ball into the leg-side, and when this avenue is denied, he tends to guide the ball uppishly to gully, a habit exploited by the Aussie seamers.

Somerset took another two wickets before the declaration. The first saw Courtney Browne caught by his opposite number, while Courtney Walsh appeared to be gazing at passing clouds as Mushtaq's googly took leg-stump.

WEST INDIES - First Innings

(Overnight: 398 for 5)

J C Adams c Lathwell b Mushtaq Ahmed 91

C O Browne c Turner b Hayhurst 17

C L E Ambrose not out 19

C A Walsh b Mushtaq Ahmed 0

Extras (lb8 w2) 10

Total (for 8 dec, 106 overs) 449

Fall (cont): 6-409 7-449 8-449.

Did not bat: K C G Benjamin, R Dhanraj.

Bowling: Rose 15-5-37-0; Ecclestone 22-2-113-1; Hayhurst 14-0-83-2; Mushtaq 16-3-77-3; Parsons 15-2-51-1; Trump 19-4-70-1; Trescothick 5-2- 10-0.

SOMERSET - First Innings

M N Lathwell b Walsh 7

M E Trescothick c Browne b Benjamin 24

P D Bowler c Browne b Benjamin 84

R J Harden c and b Dhanraj 78

*A N Hayhurst hit wicket b Walsh 7

K A Parsons c Browne b Walsh 0

G D Rose c Browne b Walsh 15

S C Ecclestone b Dhanraj 6

R J Turner not out 12

Mushtaq Ahmed c Chanderpaul b Dhanraj 12

H R J Trump not out 1

Extras (lb3 nb52) 55

Total (for 9, 83 overs) 301

Fall: 1-13 2-60 3-210 4-238 5-238 6-254 7-268 8-276 9-292.

Bowling (to date): Ambrose 9-1-64-0; Walsh 18-2-77-4; Benjamin 17-4-56- 2; Hooper 15-1-47-0; Dhanraj 20-5-49-3; Arthurton 4-1-5-0.

Umpires: K E Palmer and R Palmer.