Test 2: A point to prove

Tony Becca , Senior Sport Editor

February 5, 1998

CRICKET: The Test between the West Indies and England which opens at Queen's Park Oval this morning could be the beginning of a new era in West Indies cricket.

After dominating the game for 19 years between 1976 and 1995 19 years in which they lost only one series to New Zealand in 1981, the West Indies appeared to have lost their zest for the game, and to many that, and not the lack of talent, was the reason for their recent below par performances.

Today however, all that could change. The West Indies, especially their fast bowlers, have a point to prove and should be fired up for this Test match and the remainder of the series.

If the West Indies recover the killer instinct which marked their glory days, if they win the Test match and go on to win the series, England may have only themselves to blame.

With the scoreboard reading 17 for three after 10.1 overs, the first Test match was abandoned because of what the umpires ruled as a pitch unfit for play and dangerous, and although the umpires were already discussing the future of the match, although the decision was left entirely to the umpires, the decision was taken after England captain Mike Atherton went on to the field and pleaded with the umpires and West Indies captain Brian Lara.

Lara agreed that the pitch was dangerous, but he also said that the West Indies would have batted on it.

With England on the run in the face of some hostile bowling, the West Indies were off to a lovely start to the series, and among the players are those who believe that instead of fighting it out, England ran for the nearest shelter and escaped.

The point which the West Indies have to prove, especially their fast bowlers, is that they can rip through the England batting regardless of the state of the pitch.

At the start of the series Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose wanted one last shot at England, they wanted to prove that there was still some sting in them, and they were enjoying themselves when the end came at Sabina Park. They now want to prove that their in the 55 minutes of play had nothing or very little to do with the pitch.

With two from Nixon McLean, Franklyn Rose, Ian Bishop and Kenneth Benjamin to back them up, Atherton and company may find themselves battling for survival against a West Indies attack reminiscent of the days when Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft were on the rampage - especially if the two in support are McLean and Rose.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission
Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:59