Smith proves a saviour with maiden test century
From Donald Duff in Kingston, Jamaica
March 12, 2004
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Recalled to the West Indies side after missing the tour of South Africa, Smith took his consistency from the Carib Beer series into the Test arena, fashioning a gutsy hundred which highlighted a sound temperament in the face of hostile English bowling on a bouncy pitch. His 108 came in 275 minutes, off 188 balls and he struck 18 fours.
Smith and another Test recall Ryan Hinds added 122 for the fifth wicket; both batsmen surpassed their previous best Test scores.
Hinds made 84 from 117 balls in 165 minutes and he struck 12 fours, before Mark Butcher caught him at short fine leg as he failed to control a sweep shot off the expensive left-arm spinner Ashley Giles, who also had Smith stumped by wicketkeeper Chris Read.
After Brian Lara won the toss and decided to bat first, it was Chris Gayle, fresh from his exploits in South Africa who the fair-sized crowd looked upon to provide the fireworks. But all the ammunition was with the England bowlers and Gayle was soon heading back to the pavilion after playing on to the gangling Steve Harmison, who was getting plenty of lift. Harmison got the breakthrough with a delivery which squeezed through Gayle's pads after hitting his bat and cannoning into the middle stump. Three overs later, Harmison's new ball partner Matthew Hoggard struck. Ramnaresh Sarwan, complete with red bandana under his helmet, pottered around for 13 minutes facing 11 balls, but was then trapped LBW by Hoggard for nought.
At 22 for two in the ninth over, it appeared Lara's opening gambit had backfired and he was forced to make the necessary sacrifice of 'crease occupation' if the decision to bat first was to be justified. He started well, steering Harmison high over third slip for four. Gradually, the pair took control but soon after posting the 50 partnership and with lunch approaching, Simon Jones off a short run, got the prized wicket of Lara safely taken by Andrew Flintoff at second slip as Lara just nibbled at one on off-stump. The `Barmy Army' warmly applauded Jones as he went back to his position on the boundary.
At lunch, the West Indies were 81 for three with Smith not out on 42 and Shivnarine Chanderpaul on one.
Chanderpaul began after lunch by pulling Hoggard to the square leg boundary to bring the West Indies to 100 in 155 minutes and from 202 balls. But then he too went, bowled by Hoggard off an inside edge for seven made in 54 minutes.
West Indies were wobbly at 101 for four with England looking to deliver the knockout. But Smith found a useful ally in Hinds and the two most inexperienced batsmen in the Windies line-up responded to the crisis with a flurry of boundaries as they warmed to the task in the afternoon sun.
The English bowlers' plan was clear. Provided a pitch with some bounce, they bowled a tidy line and length but each time they were hit for a boundary they responded with a short ball. Smith was hit on the shoulder by Flintoff and in the box and on the helmet by Harmison. And Hinds, Ridley Jacobs, and even 'Terrible' Tino Best were sent ducking from short-pitched balls.
Yet the two batsmen stuck it out. While the hallmark of Hinds' innings was the beauty of his straight drives, Smith's trademark was his cover drives, which often left the English fielders chasing the red cherry in vain.
But then Giles whose first two overs had cost 20 runs dismissed Smith. The left-hander seemed unaware that the heel of his back foot was raised and though the rest of his foot was on the line, he had to go stumped off Giles who came back 12 overs later to deny Hinds his first test hundred with the batsman 16 short.
Jacobs, who added 58 for the sixth wicket with Hinds, scored 38 from 45 balls with three fours in his usual forthright manner.
Best entertained Sabina with a cameo innings of 20, which included the only six of the match before he was adjudged LBW to Harmison, a dismissal which seemed a bit unlucky as television replays seemed to suggest the ball would have missed leg-stump. Best batted for 52 minutes, faced 29 balls and struck a six and a four.
Corey Collymore is not out on three and Fidel Edwards not out one.
Harmison two for 61, Jones two for 62, Giles two for 67, Hoggard two for 68 and Flintoff one for 45 were the wicket-takers.
The game was continued past the scheduled 5 pm close of play as England had only bowled 78 overs within the period. In the extended time they were unable to bowl out the West Indies despite a further six overs. Last man Edwards received a beamer first ball from Harmison in the penultimate over of the day, which was not intended to harm the batsman. However, the umpires duly took out their light metres before calling off play for the day with 5.2 overs still remaining in the day's quota.