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Replay Forces Change In Match Schedules

The Nation

Friday January 30 1998

KINGSTON Š In an unprecedented move, officials called off the first Test between England and the West Indies yesterday because of a dangerously uneven pitch.

A new Test has been scheduled for February 5-9 at the QueenÕs Park Oval, West Indies Cricket Board president Pat Rousseau announced here yesterday afternoon.

``After consulation with the England manager, Bob Bennett, and the England and Wales Cricket Board, it has been agreed that another Test be played,'' Rousseau said.

``It will start at the QueenÕs Park Oval in Trinidad next Thursday.''

Rousseau said the original itinerary would have to be rearranged to accommodate the new Test.

EnglandÕs four-day match against Trinidad and Tobago, scheduled for February 6-9, has been reduced to two days from February 1-2.

There will now be two Tests at the QueenÕs Park back-to-back, February 5-9 and the original third Test February 13-17.

The remainder of the itinerary will be unchanged, Rousseau said.

The Test here was halted after 10 overs with England 17 for three in their first innings, after their batsmen took several blows to body and hands from balls that rose sharply from the unpredictable pitch.

Umpires Srinivas Venkataraghavan of India and Steve Bucknor of Jamaica made the decision with the agreement of match referee Barry Jarman of Australia and captains Mike Atherton of England and Brian Lara of the West Indies.

``Cricket has to be played on a fair surface,'' Lara told journalists.

``The pitch was horrific,'' said referee Jarman. ``When one ball goes past your ear and the next one past your ankle then itÕs impossible to play on.

``You knew you were going to take hits. It was just a case of when and how many,Ó said England batsman Alec Stewart, who took a few knocks.

It was the first time in 120 years of Test cricket that a match was called off because of a dangerous pitch, although a One-Day International between India and Sri Lanka in Indore, India, was called off in December for the same reason.

Jackie Hendriks, president of the Jamaican Cricket Association, said the offending pitch, the cause of much concern before the match, had been relaid because it was felt the previous wicket had been too low and slow.

``We wanted to give it more pace and bounce,'' he said. 'As far as I am aware, there was nothing different in the preparation of the wicket for this Test,'' he said.

Hendriks said he would hold an inquiry to find out what had gone wrong.

Source: The Barbados Nation
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:04