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YOUNG GUNS FIRE!

by Haydn Gill in ST. VINCENT

April 6, 1998


TO THE delight of a noisy ground, virtually bursting at the seams in an electrifying atmosphere, the West Indies clinched the Cable & Wireless One-Day Trophy here yesterday, by viciously destroying England.

Nixon McLean and Mervyn Dillon, two of the new breed of young, exciting fast bowlers, effectively settled the outcome of the match and the series in the first 22 menacing overs in which they claimed six wickets for next to nothing.

Shell-shocked England, batting first for the fourth successive match after Adam Hollioake won the toss for the second time in as many days, were undone by sustained pace and unerring accuracy that left them 33 for four in the course of the ninth over.

It was a position from which they could never fully recover and a total of 149 was never going to be enough for the West Indies, who won with as many as 12.2 overs to spare.

The victory gave them an unbeatable 3-1 series lead ahead of the final match at the Queen's Park Oval on Wednesday.

There were enterprising half-centuries from opener Clayton Lambert, his runs compiled in typically belligerent fashion and captain Brian Lara, his coming just as quickly with a series of dismissive strokes.

Lambert, particularly strong through the on-side, thumped 52 off 62 balls, and fellow left-hander Lara reeled off 51 from 64 balls, but both, along with Carl Hooper, carelessly gifted their wickets. In the end, West Indies won by four wickets, but the victory was much more commanding than the margin suggested.

As was the case on Saturday, the ground, packed to capacity, was transformed into an arena of wild scenes with continuous celebrations which were largely concentrated in the section reserved for the Guinness Posse.

For the past two days, they have hardly kept quiet. Instead, they have danced and pranced to the accompaniment of Chickie's Hi-Fi and a host of other musical instruments that kept the ground abuzz all the way through.

Jump-up

And when the match was over, hundreds of spectators converged on the Arnos Vale Playing Field for a massive jump-up that carried on well into the night.

In sharp contrast to Saturday when the West Indies relied on the slower stuff, high-class fast bowling was responsible for England's rapid demise.

McLean, urged on by partisan hometown fans, removed Alec Stewart, Ben Hollioake and Graeme Hick inside his first five overs. Although he took some punishment from a few loose deliveries, he went on to complete a fine spell of 10 successive overs that cost 44.

Dillon, on his first appearance in the series because of a niggling back injury to Curtly Ambrose, conceded seven in his first over, but was immaculate in line and length in his next nine which went for 25 and included the wickets of Nick Knight, Adam Hollioake and Jack Russell.

McLean, the faster of the two, started the match with a maiden in which the normally busy Knight was forced to awkwardly fend off his second delivery.

The first ball of McLean's second over gained him success when Stewart was caught at backward square, and the ground erupted like a volcano when he found the edge of a tentative Ben Hollioake for a regulation catch to wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs.

It was the first of five victims for Jacobs who tumbled forward to catch Knight off Dillon in the sixth over.

Knight, Stewart and Hollioake contributed six runs among them and after a couple authentic boundaries by Hick, McLean rolled him over with a fine off-cutter that knocked over the off-stump.

West Indies were again using only two fast bowlers, but with such a sensational start, Lara kept them in the attack for an extended period. McLean delivered his allotment on the trot and Dillon had seven, took a short rest and came back for his final three in which he broke a temporary recovery partnership between Adam Hollioake and Russell.

The England captain and wicket-keeper both batted with some conviction in adding 46 in 11.2 overs before falling to Dillon in successive overs.

Hollioake, considered lucky to be ruled in when it appeared that he edged Dillon to the 'keeper when he was one, eventually clipped a slower ball to mid-wicket after making the topscore of 23 off 39 balls, while Russell was embarrassingly bowled behind his back for 21 from 39 balls.

The die had been cast and after McLean and Dillon were finished, the spin of Carl Hooper and Rawl Lewis and the medium-pace of Phil Simmons, if not as penetrative, were just as effective and all bowled at less than three runs an over.

A modest target and hardly demanding run-rate prompted the typically forthright Lambert to dominate the scoring to the extent that when he was out in the 16th over, he had made 52 of the 66 runs on the board.

The robust left-hander cracked six boundaries, the best of which were a cut off Fraser which was highlighted by its timing and placement and a straight-drive off Dougie Brown.

After a couple on-side boundaries off off-spinner Robert Croft, he opened up his shoulders and tried to hoist him out of the ground, but skied a catch to Mark Ealham, who judged it well running back from mid-off.

England had earlier taken care of Philo Wallace, bowled by Fraser after missing a pull and following Lambert's dismissal, Simmons was a cheap leg-before victim trying to sweep Croft.

His departure paved the arrival for Lara who immediately got into stride by lifting Croft over his head, over mid-wicket and square-driving him. You guessed it all went for fours.

As victory approached, Lara seemed intent on entertaining the crowd and both he and Hooper fell with less than 15 runs needed.

Hooper miscued a pull, and Lara missed a premeditated slog.

It didn't really matter.

More

West Indies captain Brian Lara would like the selectors to make some more changes for the fifth and final One-Day International against England.

West Indies won yesterday's fourth match by four wickets to take a winning 3-1 lead in the series.

Speaking after the game, Lara said: ``I don't know what the selectors are thinking but I'd like to see us getting some other guys ... and see how they perform.''

Lara himself had hinted earlier that he may miss the final match at his home ground, Queen's Park Oval, on Wednesday.

Lara and Carl Hooper are the only players on the West Indies side to have played the full international programme this season and Hooper may also welcome a break.

Fast bowler Curtly Ambrose withdrew from yesterday's match because of a back injury, allowing the young Nixon McLean and Merv Dillon to open the bowling.

Shared wickets

They shared six wickets to set up the win by the home side and earned the praise of the West Indies captain.

``They responded magnificently to the challenge of bowling without either Ambrose or Courtney Walsh in the team and have a promising future,'' he said.

Lara said the West Indies had completed their mission in Arnos Vale, St. Vincent of winning the two back-to-back matches to wrap up the series.

``I must congratulate the guys on the great effort and I think they played pretty well all round and it augurs well for the future.''

England skipper Adam Hollioake said his side had been outplayed in St. Vincent.

``We haven't batted well over the two days and we deserved to lose,'' he said.

He said that the tight bowling of off-spinner Robert Croft had been the one shining light to come out of the weekend.

``We have to get back to doing some of the basics that we have done so well over the past year,'' he added.


Source: The Barbados Nation
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Date-stamped : 06 Apr1998 - 22:33