Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thorpe's Ton Puts England Back in It

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thorpe's Ton Puts England Back in It

Article excerpt

Byline: By Myles Hodgson

Graham Thorpe utilised a decade's experience of international cricket and three Caribbean tours to hit a memorable century and guide England into an unlikely lead in the third Test at Kensington Oval.

The Surrey left-hander's effort in batting for more than five hours of an enthralling second day for a superb 119, which included 13 boundaries, looked likely to result in him being left stranded by England's inability to withstand the West Indies' pace quartet.

But Thorpe's composure and application at the crease inspired England's lower order to stay with him long enough to not only reach his 13th Test century, but also help the tourists to a slender two-run lead which did not seem likely when they trailed by 69 with two wickets left.

Instead of facing their first deficit of the series, the efforts of Simon Jones and Durham's Steve Harmison helped England reach 226.

By the time bad light brought play to a halt with 3.4 overs remaining of an eventful day, West Indies had reached 21 for one in a match they must win if to prevent England claiming their first series win in the Caribbean since 1968.

For long periods, Thorpe was England's only resistance against complete capitulation and West Indies taking control. From the moment Fidel Edwards removed captain Michael Vaughan and Mark Butcher inside the first 10 overs of the day, England were struggling to cope with the aggression of the West Indian attack.

Losing early wickets is nothing new to the tourists during this series, but for once England's experienced middle order were unable to provide enough of a barrier to prevent West Indies making inroads.

Unlike the previous two Tests, when former captain Nasser Hussain has set the tone for a defiant rebuilding of the innings, this time the West Indian bowlers held the momentum virtually from the moment left-arm seamer Pedro Collins knocked his leg stump back with a delivery which pierced the gap between his bat and pad shortly before lunch. …

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