Rain comes to West Indies’ aid against England

LEEDS, England, May 28, 2007 – Rain came to West Indies’ aid when it delayed the scheduled 11am local time (1000GMT) start of the third day’s play in their second Test against England here at Headingley.

West Indies, having been made to follow-on, were facing an innings defeat at 22 for two – still a huge 402 runs shy of making England bat again and going 1-0 down in the four-match series.

Nearly an hour after the game should have started both the pitch and square remained fully covered.

West Indies’ task of saving the game was made harder by the knowledge that captain and top-order batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan would only, according to a team spokesman, “bat in an emergency”.

Sarwan didn’t bat in the first innings after sustaining a shoulder injury while fielding Friday which threatened his continued tour participation.

Chris Gayle was nine not out after nightwatchman Daren Powell was out to the last ball of Saturday’s play.

Powell was one of six second day wickets for Ryan Sidebottom.

The 29-year-old Nottinghamshire left-arm seamer, only playing because Matthew Hoggard was injured, was appearing in just his second Test six years after a wicketless debut against Pakistan at Lord’s.

England’s dominant position had been created by Kevin Pietersen’s Test best 226 in a total of 570 for seven declared.

That innings also saw captain Michael Vaughan, on his Yorkshire home ground, score 103 on his return to Test cricket after 18 months on the sidelines with several injuries.

Pietersen’s was the highest Test score by an England player since Graham Gooch’s 333 against India at Lord’s in 1990.

The 26-year-old South Africa-born batsman’s innings meant only Australia legend Sir Donald Bradman, with 3,194 runs, had scored more in his first 25 Tests than Pietersen’s 2,448.

Sidebottom, who began his career at Headingley with Yorkshire before moving three years ago, took four for 42 as West Indies collapsed to 146 all out.

The tourists, weakened before this match started after senior batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul withdrew because of a right knee injury, then lost two more wickets to Sidebottom, whose father Arnie played one Test for England in 1985 against Australia.

That left Sidebottom with a second innings return so far of two for 12 in five overs and a current match haul of six for 54.  (AFP)