Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Windies' Fire Destroys Masterplan for Ashes; Visitors Must Bat out Final Day to Survive after Their Attack Is Battered by Sarwan and Ramdin on This Flattest of Tracks. by David Lloyd

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Windies' Fire Destroys Masterplan for Ashes; Visitors Must Bat out Final Day to Survive after Their Attack Is Battered by Sarwan and Ramdin on This Flattest of Tracks. by David Lloyd

Article excerpt

Byline: David Lloyd

ENGLAND'S spirit has been strong and the flesh remains willing enough but plans to start this Ashes year with a badly needed Test series triumph are in tatters today, with Andrew Strauss's men reduced to trying to prolong the agony.

Agony? The 51 all out in Jamaica, the failure to separate last wicket pair Daren Powell and Fidel Edwards in Antigua and now, at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, being on the receiving end of another masterpiece from Ramnaresh Sarwan -- it has all been going wrong for England.

Strauss warned before the tour that playing a steadily rising West Indies outfit would be no walk in the sand.

Equally, though, he expected his side to emerge victorious -- despite all those January ructions that cost captain Kevin Pietersen and coach Peter Moores their jobs -- but now the best they can hope to do is draw the series.

For that to happen, England needed to extricate themselves from a potentially tricky Fourth Test position today before somehow winning in Trinidad.

At least completing the first of those two tasks looked more likely than not once Strauss and opening partner Alastair Cook settled into their work this afternoon. But then Strauss fell for 38, on his 32nd birthday, to send a flicker of concern throughout the camp.

Trailing by 149 when the two lefthanders walked to the middle yesterday evening, Strauss and Cook followed last Thursday's mighty stand of 229 with a partnership of 88 -- only for Strauss to play on attempting to cut spinner Chris Gayle.

Cook, though, survived skying a delivery from Sulieman Benn, which a chasing Brendan Nash failed to catch, and the England opener went on to claim his half century as his team reached 115 for one at lunch -- 34 behind the hosts.

Given that the first four days on a road of a pitch produced 1,355 runs for the cost of just 15 wickets, batting out three sessions appeared simple enough for the visitors. …

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