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CMJ's greatest

July 30, 2002

Heroics by Botham see England on level terms

Christopher Martin-Jenkins's best England and Rest of the World sides from the past 50 years compete here in the second of five simulated Test matches from around the world
BRIDGETOWN (Rest of the World won toss): England beat the Rest of the World by 45 runs

AFTER their six-wicket defeat in the opening match at Lord’s, England squared the CMJ/Wisden Test series with a close-fought victory at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. Ian Botham bounced back from a quiet first Test with superb innings of 73 and 101 not out, and the old firm of Fred Trueman and Brian Statham combined to great effect with the ball on a quick, bouncy pitch to share 14 wickets.

Garry Sobers won the toss and decided to field, but initially England made steady progress. Dennis Lillee removed Len Hutton for ten and Graham Gooch for 36, before Ted Dexter took advantage of some loose bowling from Malcolm Marshall to hit a memorable 58 off 80 balls. Sobers brought himself on and, swinging the ball well, pinned Dexter in front and then had Colin Cowdrey caught behind.

Peter May was now joined by Botham, who set about the bowling with an abandon he rarely showed in the Caribbean. There was little in the pitch for the spinners and Botham romped to a half- century, which included a huge six off Muralitharan and a defiant hook off Lillee.

The stand had reached 106 when Marshall moved one back in to Botham to trap him leg-before for 73. England had been 248 for four, but now that flimsy tail collapsed again, as the last six wickets tumbled for 60. Only May, who was left on 92, could resist Marshall and Lillee, who finished with four wickets apiece.

For once, the World XI’s tail malfunctioned, too: their last five wickets went down for 39. Before that, however, a muscular century from Viv Richards — he faced only 138 balls and powered 11 fours and two sixes — seemed to have ensured a handy lead, but in the end it was only 31 despite the efforts of Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Adam Gilchrist.

Statham was the pick of the bowlers. After the early scalp of Barry Richards for 29, he returned with the new ball to dispose of Gilchrist, Shane Warne and Marshall.

Marshall was equally impressive as England’s second innings started, having Gooch caught behind in his second over. May followed for 13 and, shortly afterwards, Hutton misjudged a late inswinger from Lillee. Dexter counter-attacked for a sparkling 46, but, when Cowdrey and Alan Knott departed, England — at 188 for six — were only 157 in front.

Now Botham cut loose, though, tucking into Lillee and Muralitharan in a passable impersonation of his Headingley 1981 heroics. The crowd rose to acclaim a great century, which included 11 fours and three sixes. In the next over, Statham was caught by Sobers and England were all out for 299. Marshall’s six wickets gave him match figures of ten for 148.

Needing 269 to win, the Rest of the World passed 100 for the loss of Sunil Gavaskar. Barry Richards attacked for 62 but, after Trueman had him caught behind, the innings fell apart. There were two more wickets for Statham, and Underwood and Laker chipped in with a wicket apiece as the score slipped to 155 for six.

Sobers remained defiant, but, amid rising tension, the England fast bowlers worked their way through the lower order. Fittingly, Statham made the final incisions: after Muralitharan snicked a catch behind, Lillee was bowled to give Statham his eighth wicket of the match. Sobers was left high and dry on 53 not out and then joined the applause as Botham received the man-of-the-match award for his outstanding batting and two significant first-innings wickets.

The teams now move on to Cape Town for the third Test.

Computer simulation devised by Y. Ananth Narayanan for wisden.com.

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  ALSO IN THIS SECTION
  Heroics by Botham see England on level terms

  Graphic: Scorecards from Bridgetown

  Hutton's heroics only delay win for Rest of World

  Graphic: CMJ/Wisden Test Series Lord's Scorecards

  Computers open the window to cricket's world of make-believe

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