White & Cork decimate West Indies

LONDON, SEPT.2. Brian Lara made a first ball nought and West Indies was shot out for 125 - 156 behind - after a 22-ball spell by Craig White and Dominic Cork wrenched out the first five batsmen for 17 runs at the Oval today. A 3-1 series victory seemed to be England's and a vision of Nasser Hussain lifting the Wisden Trophy came to the mind of the whole cricket community. No England captain has had his hand on the trophy since 1969.

Lara has made only four other noughts in his 70-Test career and, of course, it was against England that he made his world record score of 375 six years ago. The contrast with today's dismissal, round his legs, could not have been more vivid and seemed to symbolise everything that is wretched about the West Indies side of year 2000.

Sherwin Campbell and Adrian Griffith - a batsman who has lost so much confidence and application that he seems incapable of playing an ordinary forward defensive shot without getting into a tangle - had stuttered to 32 when the first wicket fell to the fourth ball of Dominic Cork's first over at the pavilion end.

Cork reacted with hysterical delight as Campbell played on and in the following over - his second - and so did White when he had Adrian Griffith caught at second slip. The next ball was the high spot of the day. Lara, knowing that a last Test century could still give West Indies victory, moved with his usual elaborate care to cover his stumps to White's first ball. He thought the ball would go wide but it clipped his leg stump and, as White repeated his war dance, Lara stared in disbelief at the mess behind him. Lara has made only four other ducks in his Test career which began in 1991 and in his credit ledger he has 70 Tests, 120 innings, 5,765 runs, an average of 50 and 14 tons.

It was certainly the greatest moment of White's career, especially when you remember that he was only a one-day player for England earlier this year. But a few matches after Duncan Fletcher recruited White into his side in South Africa he called him to his room and told him: ``I like the way you play your cricket.'' White who finished the West Indies innings of 125 with his second successive five-wicket haul had a setback when he collapsed in the street near his home in Scarborough but his career has gone into overdrive.

He deserves his success for his arrow straight bowling at a pace which is not far below 90 miles an hour when he is on song. His final figures of five for 32 were the best of his 12- Test career. White, worked up for a hat trick, screamed a hopeful appeal for lbw as he beat skipper Jimmy Adam's forward shot but Cork grabbed the next wicket as Wavell Hinds groped for the ball and missed.

Ramnaresh Sarwan hit one blazing four but when White pitched the ball wide he slashed it to gully where Marcus Trescothick clung on to a diving catch. With defeat staring the side in the face the tail-enders bravely scratched together as many runs as they could squeeze out. A short single avoided the follow-on at 82 for eight but the stocky wicket-keeper Ridley Jacobs and quick bowler Nixon McLean went on to put together the highest stand of the innings. Their 44-run partnership still left West Indies 156 behind when Mike Atherton and Tescothick began the second England innings. After they had put on 17 rain which had threatened all day began to fall.

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