Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Barmy Harmy Makes Most of Lifeline by Blowing out Gayle; Paceman Gives England Hope of Squaring Series with Crucial Wicket of Windies Skipper amid a Crazy over. by David Lloyd

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Barmy Harmy Makes Most of Lifeline by Blowing out Gayle; Paceman Gives England Hope of Squaring Series with Crucial Wicket of Windies Skipper amid a Crazy over. by David Lloyd

Article excerpt

Byline: David Lloyd

ABARMY over even by Steve Harmison standards, and an old halfway line, has put a real spring in England's step today as they attempt to level their Test series against the West Indies.

Harmison would have been watching from the dressing room, not striking for gold on a transformed football field, had the Antigua match gone ahead as scheduled at the Sir Viv Richards Stadium.

But switching venues because bowlers were sinking in the sand threw 'Harmy' a lifeline -- and he has repaid captain Andrew Strauss by capturing the precious wicket of Chris Gayle.

Mind you, Harmison was in danger of being blasted from the attack at the Recreation Ground until his fourth legitimate delivery dismissed Gayle.

The dynamic opener hooked Harmison clean out of the ground and pulled him for another boundary before slapping a third ferocious shot to mid-off where Jimmy Anderson held a head-high catch.

Add three no-balls and the bowler who once launched an Ashes series by sending his first delivery straight to second slip had figures of 1-0-13-1.

Harmison was only recalled for this week's hastily-arranged Third Test, after being dropped for the quickly abandoned Second, because England thought his extra pace and bounce would be useful on an under-prepared pitch. So far, so good then, with the West Indies resuming today at 55 for one in reply to 566 for nine declared.

As is often the case, though, the visitors' success in the field last night was at least half due to Andrew Flintoff -- and a halfway line.

Flintoff so ruffled Gayle with a typically hostile burst that the left-hander decided to thrash his way out of trouble.

Twice he succeeded against Harmison but then paid the price..

Halfway line? Groundstaff at the Rec could not remove an old football pitch marking that runs across the batting strip and which, if hit, can make the ball either scuttle through low or lift alarmingly. …

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