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England v West Indies 1st Test



FIRST NPOWER TEST, LORD'S:
England 553-5 dec & 284-8 dec drew with West Indies 437 & 89-0

By Paresh Soni

Harmison and his fellow bowlers made little impression on the final day
Harmison and his fellow bowlers made little impression on day five

England and West Indies drew the first Test after rain and bad light limited them to only 20 overs on the final day.

More than three hours were lost after showers arrived 35 minutes into the morning and the light worsened 12 overs after play resumed at 1530 BST.

In between, Chris Gayle (47) and Daren Ganga (31) had few problems as the Windies ended on 89-0, chasing 401.

Matthew Hoggard (thigh) was sidelined again and is set to sit out the second Test starting on Friday at Headingley.

Monday's damp and gloomy finale, in front of a sparse crowd, was a frustrating way to end a match that was fascinatingly poised.

England were down to three frontline bowlers and Gayle showed scant respect for the two fit pacemen.

606: DEBATE
DD

He almost mistimed Steve Harmison's third ball to mid-on and wafted airily outside off-stump on several occasions, but when he made contact the ball whistled away to the boundary.

There were two cracking cover-drives off Harmison and Liam Plunkett in the morning and at that point it was clear that Monty Panesar was likely to prove a tougher opponent.

But the rain was already falling when the spinner took his sweater off and the umpires called a halt.

A resumption looked unlikely but the skies cleared enough for play to begin deep into the afternoon.

Harmison was still out of sorts and began with a mixed bag of decent-length deliveries and poorly directed long-hops, one of which Ganga cut to reach 2,000 runs in Test cricket.

Chris Gayle played some glorious shots in between the delays
Gayle played some glorious shots in between the delays

Gayle took a liking to Plunkett, thrashing him through the covers, down the ground and over backward point.

But although there were more leaden-footed swishes outside off-stump and a miscued heave to long-off, the game was drifting away.

Panesar came on after 20 minutes but there was no turn to the right-hander and Ganga twice confidently cover-drove him for four.

The light was not great throughout all of those exchanges and it was no surprise when umpires Rudi Koertzen and Asad Rauf asked the question to the batsmen.

Play was officially called off for the day at 1753 and both teams were left to contemplate their efforts in London.

England will look back on an encouraging debut for Matt Prior, fine displays from most of their top-order batsmen and Panesar's Test best 6-129 in the Windies first innings.

But Harmison and Plunkett misfired and the visitors, who were clear underdogs and underprepared, put up a sprited fight which will send them into the second instalment of this four-Test series in good heart.

SEE ALSO
Windies hit back against England
19 May 07 |  England
Cook hundred puts England on top
17 May 07 |  England


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