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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 22:57 GMT
England hold slender lead
First Test, Jamaica, day three (close):
West Indies 311 & 8-0 v England 339

Nasser Hussain
England had a narrow lead over the West Indies after the third day's play in the first Test in Jamaica.

Nasser Hussain clocked up his 31st Test fifty and Andrew Flintoff hit a quick-fire 46 as England were all out for 339 - 28 runs ahead.

Tino Best took his first Test wickets, Graham Thorpe out for 19, Hussain for 58 and Chris Read for 20, in the absence of the injured Fidel Edwards.

West Indies closed the rain-interrupted day on eight without loss.

England should have gone on to a bigger score but both Hussain and Flintoff gave their wickets away cheaply after good starts.

West Indies were hindered by the injury to Edwards, who had been their best bowler a day earlier, and captain Brian Lara, who spent most of the day off the field with a dislocated finger.

Edwards was suffering from a back strain and is unlikely to bowl in the second innings.

But up stepped Best and he was delighted to finally take his first Test wickets.

He jumped for joy when Thorpe, who had played aggressively, failed to get hold of a bouncer and was caught by Adam Sanford at fine leg.

Tino Best dismisses Graham Thorpe for 19
Hussain departed soon after following a typically gritty performance, caught after a thick top-edge to substitute fielder David Bernard.

And wicket-keeper Chris Read went for 20 to give Best figures of 3-54.

Flintoff looked confident and bludgeoned 46 off 50 balls, including five fours, but he mistimed a drive and gave Ramnaresh Sarwan a rare wicket.

Ashley Giles (27) and Matthew Hoggard, seven off 71 balls, frustrated the West Indies' weakened attack but eventually fell and last man Steve Harmison hit a glorious pull shot for four before being run out for 13.

West Indies would not have been happy though with the 61 runs they gave away in extras.

Openers Chris Gayle and Devon Smith came out for 15 minutes and endured an uncomfortable 3.2 overs before bad light ended play for the day.

And with two days left to play, any result is possible, although the injuries to Lara and Edwards could have a major deciding factor on the game.

West Indies: B Lara (capt), C Gayle, Devon Smith, S Chanderpaul, R Hinds, R Sarwan, R Jacobs (wkt), A Sanford, T Best, C Collymore, F Edwards.

England: M Vaughan (capt), M Trescothick, M Butcher, N Hussain, G Thorpe, A Flintoff, C Read (wkt), A Giles, S Jones, M Hoggard, S Harmison.

Umpires: B Bowden (NZ) & D Harper (Aus).

Match referee: M Procter (SA)

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
"The match is perfectly poised"

England's Nasser Hussain
"It will come down to character and fitness"


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