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Media rip 'spineless' England

BRITISH media vented their full fury on England's "spineless" team yesterday following its humiliating defeat by West Indies in the first test.

England was skittled out for 51 in its second innings in Jamaica as it lost by an innings and 23 runs. It was its third-lowest score in a test.

The Sunday Telegraph described England's capitulation as "spineless... utter disgrace and a shameful chapter of English cricketing history."

"England collapse in chaos," said a headline in the News of the World next to a photograph of England's humbled players, heads bowed, on the Sabina Park pitch.

It described the performance as a "day of shame" for captain Andrew Strauss's team and the players as "nothing more than a shambling bunch of amateurs."

The Sunday Times said desperate England had "sunk to their knees" and suggested that Australians worried about the dip in form of their team would once again be relishing the Ashes series against England later this year.

The Sunday Mirror described England as "clueless" while The Independent on Sunday agreed that England had "plumbed new depths". But on a positive note, echoed by other publications, it praised West Indies for a fantastic performance.

"An extraordinary exhibition of compelling fast bowling which recalled their great days," was how it described the sensational performance of Jerome Taylor, adding that the first test could have turned around the fortunes of the game in the Caribbean.

Taylor ripped the heart out of England, a superb spell of pace bowling earning figures of 5-11 while spinner Sulieman Benn took 4-31.

Andrew Flintoff was the only batsman to make double figures, hitting 24.

West Indies had not beaten England in their last 16 meetings going back to a victory at Edgbaston in 2000 but this was a victory reminiscent of their glory days in the 1980s as the tourists succumbed to outstanding fast bowling.

After the home team was bowled out for 392 in its first innings, securing a lead of 74 runs, England slid to 11 for two at lunch with Alastair Cook and Ian Bell out.

Taylor, watched by triple Olympic champion and 100 meters world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica, produced a "Lightning Bolt" of his own by removing Kevin Pietersen for one with a classic outswinger.

"It was the best fast bowling I have seen for a long while and he set the game up for us and we won it," said West Indies skipper Chris Gayle.

It was sweet revenge for West Indies, who were bowled out for 47 by England the last time the teams met at this venue and Strauss's men now have plenty to think about ahead of this week's second test in Antigua.


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