England V West Indies – 2000

Having gone into this game, the 100th test match to be played at Lord’s one down in the five match Wisden Trophy series, England were looking to bounce back immediately following the innings defeat debacle at Edgbaston a fortnight before.

The home side made wholesale changes, bringing in Matthew Hoggard for his debut together with the recall of Michael Vaughan, Craig White and Dominic Cork for Hussain, Croft, Flintoff and Giddins. The visitors made a solitary change, drafting in Adrian Griffith for a rare outing at the expense of Chris Gayle.

Acting skipper Alec Stewart won the toss and had no hesitation in asking the West Indies to take first knock, an action which seemed to have backfired as the openers Campbell and Griffith took the score on to 79 without loss and without to many alarms by lunch time

A silly second run to Caddick at third man brought about the demise of Griffith on just the second ball after the restart though, run out by a yard following a tracer-bullet throw.

Wavell Hinds joined Sherwin Campbell at the crease and a couple of successive balls from Gough clearly demonstrated that he was not a man to be intimidated. Having received a sickening blow on the helmet from one delivery, Hinds smashed the next to the square leg boundary.

Campbell, meanwhile, was progressing serenely on his way to what seemed certain to be a Lord’s hundred. All the England bowlers were coming in for a harsh treatment, being pulled and cut whenever the ball was short and then driven whenever one was pitched up.

With the tea interval beckoning, Campbell on 82 finally had a rush of blood. Cork dug one in, the ball seamed away and Campbell’s attempted pull sailed high and handsome, straight to Hoggard at fine leg. The Yorkshireman made no mistake with the catch, but at 162-2 the West Indies had provided a perfect platform for Brian Lara to add his own inimitable stamp on proceedings.

Dominic Cork was in the middle of a miserly spell on either side of the tea interval, conceding just 23 runs from his first 14 overs but it was Darren Gough who struck next as Lara, flat-footed, edged a seaming ball through to Stewart with the score on 175. It was the second time in succession that Gough had accounted for the great man.

Half an hour later, Wavell Hinds went for a hard-fought 59 as he edged a seaming delivery from Cork through to England skipper Stewart. Amazingly enough, it was to be the last half-century scored in the match. It was also the 100th wicket taken by Cork in test cricket in a career which had featured more highs than lows to date.

The final session of the first day was quite remarkable. Stewart kept rotating his seam bowlers and one by one, the wickets tumbled. Gough and Cork were by far the pick of the bowlers grabbing four victims apiece, and with just four balls of the scheduled day’s play to go, the umpires finally offered the light with the West Indies on 267-9.

Eight wickets had fallen for just 107 runs as the visitors squandered an exceptionally good position. In the context of what was to follow, though, Day 1 had been largely uneventful.

Just one ball was required to wrap up the West Indian first innings on Friday morning. Caddick bowled full and straight, Courtney Walsh’s defensive stroke as immaculate as ever. The only trouble was, the ball missed the bat by three inches and rapped the pad. Venkat had no doubt – OUT, innings closed.

There has been little to rival the sight of Walsh and Ambrose steaming in with their tails up in recent years – especially during games against England – and it took little time for both greats to stamp their undoubted class on proceedings.

Last ball of the first over, Ambrose to Ramprakash, a snick, Lara safe at first slip. Six balls later, Atherton was drawn into fending at a short ball from Walsh. Once more, Lara finished the job off at slip. Both openers were out with just a solitary run on the board.

Vaughan and Hick were having a torrid time, scarcely able to lay bat on ball. Time after time either man seemed on the point of being cleaned up by superb balls, and it was no surprise at all that the final ball of the ninth over witnessed the demise of Michael Vaughan, his stumps shattered by Ambrose with just 9 on the board. It was the 150th time that Ambrose had claimed an English scalp.

The introduction of Franklyn Rose into proceedings brought a temporary respite from the carnage. His first over was the most expensive of the match as Graeme Hick blasted four boundaries square of the wicket. At the other end, Ambrose was continuing manfully, closing in on his inexorable march towards 400 victims.

Hick became number 392 in a mirror image of the Vaughan dismissal, playing all round one which nipped back off the seam. England were 37-4 and in tatters, but Ambrose couldn’t continue bowling all day. Eventually, he gave way to Reon King but if England thought that there would be easy pickings, they were sadly mistaken.

In just his second over, King got one to lift to Nick Knight and Campbell, at second slip, made no mistake. At 50-5, England were in grave danger of being bowled out of the game – and probably out of the series too – by lunch on the second day. That they managed to at least reach the sanctuary of the dressing room owed more to the West Indian tawdry over rate than to any resolute defence.

White and Stewart added 35 for the sixth wicket but Walsh finally separated the pair in his fourth over of the afternoon session in familiar fashion – a lifting delivery, an edge with the safe gauntlets of Ridley Jacobs awaiting just such an indiscretion. Cork fidgeted awhile, then a frightful mix-up between the Derbyshire man and Craig White led to the unfortunate White being left stranded as a direct hit from Jimmy Adams ran him out by yards.

With the light closing in fast, there was time for Cork to edge a Walsh delivery tamely to Jacobs to leave England reeling on 100-8. The scoreboard lights shone brightly as the umpires decided that tea would be taken early.

Upon the restart, the England tail-enders took the fight to the West Indies. Walsh bounced Gough only to see the ball disappear into the crowd at square leg. Caddick was prised out by Walsh and finally Ambrose did for Gough as England’s innings finally limped to a halt on 134, a more than useful lead of 133 to the visitors.

The next two and a quarter hours are the stuff of legend. It was absolutely vital in the context of the game and the series from an England perspective that they make a better fist of things, equally for the West Indies, a sensible batting display adding another hundred or so for one or two down at the close would go a long way towards bagging both this game and the Wisden Trophy.

Just three bowlers were used and only Ridley Jacobs made it into double figures in just shy of 27 overs of total bewilderment for the West Indians and utter delight for the English. Either Caddick or Campbell started the ball rolling, dependent upon your viewpoint, as a short ball was heaved down to third man where Gough waited, hands like buckets.

Two balls later, Caddick found the inside edge of Wavell Hinds’ bat. The ball rebounded onto his thigh pad then looped up, as if in slow motion, before Mark Ramprakash dived forward to claim the catch and reduce the West Indies to 6-2.

Gough shared the new ball with Caddick and it was just moments before he added his own impetus to this helter-skelter of a game. Griffiths, clearly unsettled by a blow to the helmet which reverberated all around Lord’s, tried to avoid another bouncer but only succeeded in steering the ball to wicket-keeper Stewart.

The ball was performing all sorts of tricks, sometimes keeping low, frequently rearing alarmingly and it was one of the latter which sent Lara back to the pavilion as Cork took a simple catch in the gulley off Caddick to leave the West Indies tottering on 24-4.

No addition had been made to the score when Chanderpaul fell to the Gough leg trap, the second batsman to be caught in the innings off bat and pad. England now had every right to feel as though they were right back in the game.

A couple of flashing drives by the belligerent Jacobs brought a momentary respite and the withdrawal of Gough from the attack, but Cork picked up three quick wickets as Caddick continued to be almost unplayable.

Caddick, bowling unchanged from the Nursery End, had picked up the remarkable figures of 5-16 from a hostile 13 overs as the visitors were dismissed for just 54, leaving England just 188 to win.

There was still time for England to start their second innings, and it is that which makes this game unique. 30 June 2000 – the day when part of all four innings of the same test match were played on a single day.

One way or the other, weather permitting, day 3 would be the final day of this dramatic and historic encounter. It would require something quite extraordinary to overshadow the events of the second day, but there were more than enough players on show who had enough of a sense of history to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

One person in particular, Courtney Andrew Walsh, in his 38th year, seemed to be made of the right stuff. Certainly, he was far too good for Mark Ramprakash when the early morning drizzle finally relented, as the clatter of timber as early as the fifth over of the morning revealed.

Try as they might, though, the early second wicket just would not come. Curtly Ambrose bowled four successive maidens to the impassive Michael Atherton as the former England captain resisted everything hurled in his direction. After nine overs, England were totally becalmed on 4-1.

Time and again, the ball somehow evaded the edge. Eventually, Walsh begrudgingly offered Atherton a little width and the dour Lancastrian steered it past gulley for the first boundary of the innings. Two overs later, the same combination led to a second boundary, on this occasion the great bowler erring too short as Atherton just helped it round to the square leg boundary.

England being England and summer being a non-event, it was no surprise when the heavens momentarily opened, sending players and officials for an early lunch. Upon the restart, the unusually profligate Walsh conceded two further boundaries in the over. Normal service was resumed shortly afterwards, though, before Vaughan found the boundary himself off the only bad ball Ambrose delivered in a remarkable spell which had previously seen him concede just 3 runs from 9 overs.

The lesser lights of the West Indian pace attack had plenty of enthusiasm, but alas King and Rose were never much trouble to either Vaughan or Atherton. Slowly, the England second innings was gaining momentum as one by one the runs were ticked off. By the 33rd over, the target was down to double figures.

Once more, Adams turned to Walsh. With just the third ball of his new spell, the previously certain Vaughan, who had contributed a vital 41, prodded at one which just left him an inch or so and Ridley Jacobs threw the ball aloft in glee. England were 95-2, over half way to their victory target, but they had lost from stronger positions in the past.

Graeme Hick, found wanting so often in the past against pace bowling of real quality, played two glorious drives off Walsh before the same bowler exacted his revenge with a classic away swinger which Hick could only steer to Lara at slip. 119-3 became 120-4 when the wicket of Atherton, prized so highly by the West Indians whenever these protagonists do battle, was added to the ever-burgeoning Walsh coffers.

Nick Knight dropped anchor, managing just 2 runs in the next hour. Alec Stewart tried to be positive, but it’s difficult to score when you are receiving nothing to hit from two of the greatest exponents of seam bowling the world has seen in the last 15 years. As the inhumanly accurate Ambrose once more gave way to Franklyn Rose, Stewart seized his chance and blasted two leg-side boundaries and reduced the target below 50.

Then, disaster for England and yet another five-wicket haul for Walsh as he sneaked one back to trap Alec Stewart in front of his stumps. Three balls later, England were in terrible trouble at 140-6 as Craig White edged another perfect delivery through to Jacobs. Could Courtney take all 10?

Dominic Cork is another man with an eye for the big occasion, especially when the West Indies are concerned. How he survived Walsh’s first three balls I will never know, but survive them he did. Twice he came within an ace of edging through to keeper or the massed slip cordon, but eventually he laid bat on ball.

Walsh to Cork, FOUR, belted over cover. Walsh to Cork, FOUR, this time lofted over mid-on. Battle had been joined once more. Rose did for Nick Knight, edged to Jacobs, leaving England with an unlikely 39 runs still required for victory in this remarkable test match.

Andy Caddick smacked a wide ball from Rose over gulley for another precious boundary, but in the next over Ambrose, on for the exhausted Walsh, trapped the Somerset man with one which kept a little low. Two wickets to fall, still 28 more runs for victory.

Rose to Cork, SIX, an attempted bouncer was going nowhere other than the crowd. Dominic Cork, wild-eyed, was in his element. Two balls later, he smashed another bad ball from Rose over long on for another precious boundary. A scrambled leg-bye here, a single there and the target was down to single figures.

Cork was showing every confidence in Darren Gough, and the pair exchanged singles as Walsh was thrust forward into the attack once more. It was Ambrose, though, who oh-so-nearly won the game for the West Indies. On four occasions in the 67th over, he came so close to removing Cork, but the eventual Man of the Match was not to be denied.

Fittingly, it was Cork who struck the winning boundary. With the whole field in and the scores level, Walsh tried one final away-swinger, but Cork was waiting. He drove the ball through the covers to the boundary to give England victory inside three days.

Walsh ended the game with 10 wickets for the third and final time, but it was the nagging economy of Curtly Ambrose which was truly remarkable in this game and which served as the perfect foul for Walsh. Ambrose conceded just 52 runs from 36.2 overs. Furthermore, the West Indian batsmen Campbell and Hinds registered the only half-centuries of the game.

Although Cork picked up the plaudits as Man of the Match for his match figures of 7-52 and his defiant 33* at the death, England were greatly indebted to Gough (6-89) and Caddick, especially for his brilliant second innings exhibition, together with the partnership of 92 between Atherton and Vaughan.

England had by and large been out-performed for large periods of the game, yet somehow came out on top through sheer guts to tie the series at 1-1. Further victories at Leeds and The Oval eventually gave England the series by a flattering 3-1 margin, but it was three remarkable days at Lord’s which made it all possible.

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