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England banks on uneven bounce

ENGLAND bowlers will have a clear target to aim at when they seek more bad behavior from the pitch on day three of the third test against West Indies.

The Antigua Recreation Ground is home to the island's national football team as well as cricket games and the hastily arranged test match is taking place with touchline and penalty area markings visible.

The half-way line has left a ridge on the wicket which some bowlers have been able to exploit and it is clear what the England team's tactics will be as it defends its massive first-innings total of 566 for nine declared.

"When you are consistently hitting that area the ball is misbehaving quite a bit," Paul Collingwood, who batted for most of the second day to make 113, said on Monday.

"The short balls are going through quickly, but the more you hit that halfway area there is inconsistent bounce. Hopefully we can home in on that tomorrow. It looks like Freddie's (Flintoff's) length and we all know how accurately he can bowl."

Ridge area

West Indies paceman Jerome Taylor removed Kevin Pietersen and Flintoff with deliveries that kept low after hitting the ridge area.

Later Flintoff himself was able to cause trouble with deliveries on the line, which is short of a length when bowling from the Factory Road end.

West Indies' Australian coach John Dyson agreed that there are signs of uneven bounce in the track despite England making such a big score before West Indies ended the day on 55 for one.

But Dyson said it was fine for test wickets to start to offer more for bowlers during the course of a five-day game.

"There were a few balls that misbehaved but one of the things I've said about test wickets in the last 12 months is that some of them are just too good. They aren't meant to last six or seven days that they can last. You expect them to wear and play a few tricks.

"Just how many tricks it will play we won't be sure on until we see it tomorrow (Tuesday). The main tricks have been made by the soccer line, not the wicket itself," he said.

A great day for England ended with the added bonus of the wicket of West Indies captain and batting threat Chris Gayle, who drove Steve Harmison to James Anderson at mid-off to depart on 30.


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