Fast bowlers keep West Indies on top

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:06 IST

The West Indies grabbed three England wickets on the fourth morning to keep a firm grip on the fourth cricket Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground today.

Fast bowlers keep West Indies on top

St John's (Antigua): The West Indies grabbed three England wickets on the fourth morning to keep a firm grip on the fourth cricket Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground today. England, resuming on 171 for five, went to the lunch break at 231-8 in the first innings. They still trail by a mammoth 520 runs and need another 321 to avoid the follow-on. Andrew Flintoff, 37 overnight, rode his luck to remain unbeaten on 68. The West Indies, inspired by Brian Lara's record 400 not out, totalled 751-5 declared in its first innings. Fidel Edwards gave the West Indies a fine start as he removed wicketkeeper Geraint Jones in the day's second over. Jones, on debut, added six to his overnight score in an enterprising 38, before he missed a drive and was bowled. Jones struck five boundaries off 88 balls in two hours. He and Flintoff added a valuable 84 runs for the sixth wicket, but Flintoff was to receive more good support from the tailenders, who resisted the West Indies battery for long periods. Gareth Batty hung around for 10 overs and 52 minutes before he edged an airy drive to first slip from the first ball he faced from Pedro Collins for 8. Matthew Hoggard then came in after spending the last two days in bed with a stomach bug, and he took 25 balls and 39 minutes to get off the mark. In all, he stuck around for 33 balls and 51 minutes before Collins again found a nick, which wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs pouched for his 200th Test catch. The 36-year-old Jacobs, who hit an unbeaten century in helping Lara to his record score, is the 11th wicketkeeper and second West Indian after Deryck Murray to achieve the feat. Collins should also have removed Flintoff earlier but two chances went begging. The first came with Flintoff on 56 when a flying edge was floored by a diving Ricardo Powell at fine gully. The hard-hitting right-hander added 11 runs when Collins failed to hang onto a firm return chance. It was the third life for Flintoff, who had been dropped by Lara last evening when on 27. Flintoff has cracked nine fours off 170 balls in four hours for his seventh half-century to lead England's fight for survival. Collins made the old ball swing away emphatically from the batsmen and gained reward with two wickets. The left-armer earned the best figures of four for 69 off 23 overs. (AP)

Topics : Cricket
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