Weather ensures England-Windies draw
by AFP

Ground:Lord's Cricket Ground, St John's Wood
Scorecard:England v West Indies
Player:CH Gayle
Event:West Indies in England 2007

DateLine: 21st May 2007


England and West Indies drew the first Test at Lord's on Monday as the weather had the final say in the opening encounter of a four-match series.


West Indies finished the fifth day on 89 without loss, 312 runs short of their victory target of 401, but having comfortably avoided any prospect of defeat during a last day where rain and bad light meant only 20 of the scheduled 98 overs were bowled.


"It was a shame on the last day the game didn't come to the conclusion it might have done," England coach Peter Moores said after his first Test in charge since replacing Duncan Fletcher.


The odds had been slightly more in favour of England taking 10 wickets in a day as opposed to West Indies scoring the runs they required.


However, openers Chris Gayle (47 not out) and Daren Ganga (31 not out) were largely untroubled by Durham new-ball duo Stephen Harmison and Liam Plunkett.


Now the teams travel north to Headingley where the second Test is set to start on Friday.


If England were to force an unlikely win they badly needed Harmison, playing his first international since a disappointing Ashes tour, to find his form after a wayward first innings return of one for 117.


But his first delivery after lunch, a no-ball, was cut by Ganga for a four that saw the batsman reach 2,000 runs in Test cricket.


Harmison ended the match with figures of one for 138 from 36 overs and Moores said: "He's been bowling really well in county cricket. He's put himself under a bit of a pressure.


"But I expect him to enjoy himself at Headingley," the former Sussex coach and keeper added. "He wants to do well for England and bowl well for his country."


Andrew Strauss, England's captain in the absence of the injured Michael Vaughan, soon had just two slips in for Gayle despite having plenty of runs to play with.


It wasn't long before Strauss turned to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, who'd starred in the first innings with six for 129.


Panesar, who'd been due to bowl Monday's ninth over when rain stopped play, came on in the 14th. But Ganga off-drove his third ball for four in front of a sparse crowd before bad light halted proceedings.


England, were a bowler light with Matthew Hoggard off the field since Saturday because of a thigh problem and were also missing all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, out of this match due to a recurrence of a left ankle injury.


That England set a stiff chase owed much to Kevin Pietersen's dashing 109 in a second innings total of 284 for eight declared.


West Indies, who'd seen England pile up an imposing 553 for five declared in their first innings, avoided the follow-on but were bowled out for 437.


Their performance was all the more creditable given that two days of their three-day game against Somerset, their lone warm-up fixture in England, were washed out.


"Leading into the Test match there was a lot being said about us and our preparation," said West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.


"There's not much I can complain about. The only little concern I had was our bowling in the first session but I thought we came back really well after lunch. Everyone played their part, especially the batters. It was really good to see everyone getting a score."


Panesar's haul included five lbws - the first time this had been achieved in a Test innings by a spinner and only the fifth instance in all.


"Monty bowled fantastically well," said Moores. "It is challenging when you lose one of your front-line bowlers (Hoggard) but the seamers got better."


England's first innings saw Matt Prior become the first England wicket-keeper to score a century on Test debut with a rapid 126 not out.


Paul Collingwood (111), Ian Bell (109 not out) and Alastair Cook (105) also reached three figures, four England batsmen scoring hundreds in the same Test innings for the first time in 69 years.

(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)


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