Harmison on Fire Again as He Steals King Lara's Crown; ENGLAND IN THE CARIBBEAN

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL NEWMAN

ENGLAND have spent the past four days wondering whether Steve Harmison could possibly conjure up the same magical, recordbreaking bowling that won the first Test.

Yesterday, he provided an emphatic answer.

Harmison entered Brian Lara's kingdom and made off with all his riches, taking five wickets as the West Indies were reduced to 189 for eight at the close of this rain-affected first day of the second Test.

'There's a bit more in their minds now,' said Harmison, who took seven for 12 on Sunday as England won the first Test. 'I felt I bowled better than I did on Sunday and getting Lara out gives you the little extra kick to carry on.' It took him just four testing deliveries immediately before lunch to show why England are convinced that the inspired spell in Jamaica will prove to be no flash in the pan.

They were all bowled at Lara at the end of a morning during which the hosts threatened to bring an abrupt end to England's hard-earned superiority.

Lara looked uncomfortable against the first three and could not provide an answer to the fourth, a wicked, lifting delivery that he could only fend off to Ashley Giles in the gully, via his helmet.

The royal welcome that had greeted Trinidad's favourite son was replaced by stunned silence - and Lara's second duck of the series.

That was the culmination of an eight-ball burst from Harmison that may prove decisive in a Test during which the West Indies will either dig deep to maintain their proud home record against England or fragment with potentially ruinous implications.

Harmison and England went into this Test knowing the West Indies are rarely more dangerous than when their pride has been hurt in such spectacular fashion, as it was at Sabina Park.

It had seemed such a different game after Lara had won an important toss - Michael Vaughan has now lost nine in 11 Tests - and seen Chris Gayle give them a thunderous start, blasting 12 fours and a six in his 62.

Harmison and Matthew Hoggard had looked innocuous in the face of Gayle's onslaught and, with the West Indies reaching their hundred without loss, they appeared to have gone a long way towards squaring the series on a wicket that traditionally makes batting last a severe handicap. …