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Page last updated at 23:52 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Jonathan Agnew column

By Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent

Sir Allen Stanford
Stanford is facing fraud charges in the United States

As the cricket world reeled from the revelations regarding Sir Allen Stanford's financial activities, England have quietly worked their way into a position from which they should level this series.

Word would have reached them at tea that their second attempt to win a million dollars each will never take place, but I doubt if they are shedding too many tears.

The integrity of the England and Wales Cricket Board is certain to be questioned, however.

The recently re-elected chairman, Giles Clarke, has claimed that due diligence was exercised before the controversial association with the Texan billionaire was announced.

But the whole business had a vulgar, tacky feel to it - I have never before known a situation in which England supporters actually wanted their team to lose a game, and I hope I never do again - and there will be serious questions asked of Clarke and David Collier, the chief executive.

Apart from loss of the proposed Stanford tournament at Lord's - which, in fact, had no significance or interest whatsoever - Tuesday's news will have little impact on the English game.

Far more dramatic, however, will be the repercussions in the Caribbean where the West Indian Cricket Board - largely sponsorless and, arguably, rudderless - was clinging to Stanford's lifeline.

He had promised millions of dollars in funding for the development of cricket in the region. Presumably that will now never happen. The implications for the game here are, therefore, very serious indeed.

So, to the Test match which is taking place just a few miles from Stanford's private ground, and an absorbing third day.

I understand Andrew Strauss's decision to bat again, despite the West Indies having failed to avoid the follow on.

Not only had it been a desperately hot and humid day, but Steve Harmison has been laid low with an upset stomach, and I am not sure that Andrew Flintoff was feeling that clever either.

With the pitch now taking a lot of spin, Graeme Swann should be even more of a threat on the fourth and fifth days - and let's not forget that there are no fewer than six left-handers in the West Indies line up.

One criticism - England's quick bowlers could have bowled straighter on the third day.

The channel is usually outside off stump, but even encouraged by Strauss's placement of an extra man on the leg side, there were not enough deliveries that hit the halfway line that threatened the stumps.

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see also
ECB suspends talks with Stanford
17 Feb 09 |  England
West Indies v England photos
17 Feb 09 |  England
England in West Indies 2009
29 Dec 08 |  England


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