Thorpe's century rescues England

A century by Graham Thorpe helped England make 226 in their first innings against West Indies on the second day of the third cricket Test at Bridgetown.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Graham Thorpe's 13th Test hundred and questionable tactics from the opposing captain helped England to wriggle free from the West Indies' vice on the second day of the third cricket Test here. Thorpe was undefeated on 119 and gained valuable support from the lower order to give England a two-run, first innings lead yesterday, replying to West Indies' first innings total of 224, after their innings appeared in strife earlier in the day. When bad light stopped play 3.4 overs early, West Indies reached 21 for one after opening batsman Chris Gayle was bowled for 15 by Steve Harmison in the same over that he hit the fast bowler for three boundaries. Gritty left-hander Thorpe batted for over three hours, faced 217 balls and struck 13 fours to take the teeth out of the West Indies attack that had reduced England to 155 for eight just before tea. "I do not think I will ever go above what I did against South Africa at The Oval last year, but this is right behind it," Thorpe told reporters. "It was tough day and the team needed a performance from someone and I was glad that I could put my hand up and do it. We were under pressure. "At the beginning of the day, we were looking to bat well and get some sort of a lead, but it did not happen. The West Indies bowled well and kept the pressure on us all day." "It was not until the last two partnerships that we were able to open up and get level with them which is a huge bonus just to get close to them," Thorpe said. After the tea break, Thorpe batted intelligently to shield Simon Jones and Steve Harmison from the brunt of the West Indies attack. But the West Indies captain Brian Lara employed some questionable bowling choices. With the fast bowlers working diligently to restrict the visitors and England's tailenders exposed, the West Indies captain gave Chris Gayle an extended spell with his part-time off-spin from the Marshall End and later replaced him with Ryan Hinds for a few more. By the time Lara decided on an all-pace attack, Thorpe and, indeed, England had already bolted through the barn door and reached the safety of a negligible first innings lead. Fidel Edwards with four wickets for 70 runs from 20 overs was the pick of the West Indies bowlers. Pedro Collins captured three for 60 from 26 overs and Tino Best took two for 26 from 14 overs. Early on, the momentum was clearly with West Indies after England continued from their overnight position of 20 for one. Three wickets in the morning period had put West Indies in the favourable position with England going into lunch on 71 for four. (PTI)