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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 June 2007, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
England made to battle by Windies
By Paresh Soni

Third Test, Old Trafford, day one (close): England 296-7 v West Indies

Ian Bell (left) is England's best hope of a substantial total after ending day one on 77
Bell (left) is England's best hope of a substantial total

England failed to make the most of two good partnerships against a battling West Indies side in the third Test.

Alastair Cook (60) and skipper Michael Vaughan (41) shared 104 but the hosts slipped from 112-1 to 166-5 after some poor shot selection at Old Trafford.

Ian Bell (77no) and Matt Prior (40) put on 98 before Prior holed out late on day one and Fidel Edwards bowled Liam Plunkett as England closed on 296-7.

The Windies were erratic but will be satisfied after losing the toss.

Without anyone to truly exploit a lively surface - only the recalled Edwards bowled at a decent pace - their plan was to rely on nagging accuracy.

Unfortunately for them, there was little of that on display early on apart from when Jerome Taylor got a ball to hit Andrew Strauss' pad in line with leg-stump to win an lbw verdict.

Vaughan, who was looking for a series-clinching 21st victory to go ahead of Peter May as England's most successful skipper, had a muted reception after his "Fredalo" comments this week.

606: DEBATE

And he was subdued himself, edging nervously at Taylor and Edwards, who whistled deliveries past his bat and ears at 90mph.

The Lancashire-born Yorkshire star finally played his first shot of authority to crack Edwards sweetly through the covers, before pulling debutant Darren Sammy and on-driving Dwayne Bravo shortly before lunch.

Cook was strong through the cover region and off his legs as he brought up his fifth Test fifty just before the break knowing there were plenty more runs on offer for him and his team.

It looked even more promising when, rather than attack, the Windies opened with Sammy and Corey Collymore after the break.

They appeared lifeless in the field but, as in the morning, a wicket came from almost nowhere when Collymore nipped one back in to bowl Vaughan through the gate.

Corey Collymore (right) did the damage in the afternoon with two wickets
Collymore (right) did the damage in the afternoon with two wickets

It changed the complexion of the game as the bowling became tighter and England's batting looser.

Pietersen got off the mark with one of his trademark cover-drives hit on the up but his next aggressive stroke was his last as he fell for the trap set for him by pulling Collymore to deep square-leg.

Cook cut the seamer to backward point and Paul Collingwood missed one that Taylor angled in, to make it four wickets lost for 55 runs in 27 overs between lunch and tea.

Prior got going with successive boundaries off Bravo before twice timing the ball beautifully through the covers off the all-rounder. It was clear he was not going to be dictated to.

His confidence transferred to Bell, who was quick to seize on any width with some forceful shots on the off-side and down the ground.

Runs were coming as freely as at any point in the day and England were in the ascendancy when, not for the first time, a batsman got ahead of himself.

Prior, who had returned a series of short deliveries from Bravo with interest, failed to get on top of one and mis-timed his pull straight to deep square-leg to undo his previous good work.

Liam Plunkett played a few shots before being cleaned up by Edwards with the new ball and the home side's tail does not have a great reputation for hanging around.

But if Bell can complete his seventh Test century, any extra runs he garners are likely to prove critical on a surface expected to break up and provide assistance to Plunkett, Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar.



SEE ALSO
Flintoff clears air with Vaughan
07 Jun 07 |  England
Moore hoping for permanent role
06 Jun 07 |  West Indies
Windies confirm Ganga as skipper
05 Jun 07 |  West Indies
West Indies in England 2007
04 Jun 07 |  Cricket


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