West Indies tail wags

MANCHESTER, AUG. 14. Conspiracy theorists had a grassy knoll day at Old Trafford soon after lunch on the third day — no play due to rain on the second of course — of the third Test between England and the West Indies.

Half an hour before lunch Pedro Collins, the West Indies left arm pace bowler, was hit under the chin by a short ball from Andrew Flintoff, and stood dazed as if he had been hit by Mike Tyson when he was champion. He was taken off, had two stitches in the wound and intended to bat after lunch when the West Indies was 395 for nine.

The umpires went out, England followed and then, as he tried to walk out, Collins said he was in too much pain and Brian Lara, the captain of West

Indies recalled Fidel Edwards, the only remaining batsman. Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee, ruled that Lara had declared and that Collins was not out. His questionable decisions make no difference as the West Indies tried to bowl England out and set up the most unexpected victory of the summer.

A trick?

Did Lara pull this trick to confuse England? If he did it worked brilliantly for it lost Marcus Trescothick, in his 100th Test innings, for nought in the first over and Robert Key, who made a double hundred only three weeks ago, for six. Would Lara pull such a trick? Maybe, since he doesn't want a 4-0 defeat on what may well be his last tour in charge.

In every way he is an exemplary sportsman and it all probably happened by accident. No motorcade through Dallas, no magic bullet, no President Kennedy, no smoking gun; actually no story, save that cricket throws up these strange moments more than most games.

Good knock by Baugh

England had already been shaken by the batting of the new West Indies wicket-keeper Courtney Baugh, who made his first Test fifty and looked good enough for more, the flourishing backlift of David Mohammad — he makes Lara look like a French cricketer — and Collins' determined 19.

The new spirit enabled West Indies to add 120 in two hours, sometimes with classic cricket shots but as often with miscues, slices over slip and on-drives that dribbled to cover.

In the 17th over Michael Vaughan was bowled off his pads by Dwayne Bravo, leaving England 40 for three, still 156 short of the follow-on mark. Graham Thorpe can be excused for feeling unwelcome since most of the spectators wanted to see Andrew Flintoff but he and Andrew Strauss dropped anchor for 14 overs to tea when England was 86 for three and glad to have escaped so lightly.

Thorpe, alone of all the batsmen who had been to the wicket today, showed no sign of getting out while Strauss, for all he had taken an hour and 50 minutes to score 37, looked more at home the longer the innings continued.

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