Friday, Jul 04, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Ted Corbett
It began with a ceremony to rename the famous old Warwick Road End the `Brian Statham End', although the greatest of all Lancashire bowlers always performed from the Stretford End.
Don't ask why; you could not make it up. The council has nominated the cul-de-sac behind the ground Brian Statham Way and Lancashire feels it has no choice but to follow suit.
I am sure Statham, a bluntly-spoken man, would have been offended.
After England won the toss and decided to bat under cloud that made the pitch a seam bowlers' delight Makaya Ntini was the first paceman to use a new ball from the renamed end and began with a wide long hop that Vikram Solanki square cut for four. Had Statham still been alive - he died of cancer three years ago - that waste of a good ball would have offended him too.
At the other end Shaun Pollock looked the Statham part with a devastating spell of seven overs that cost only five runs - three singles and two no balls - for the wicket of Michael Vaughan.
Ntini had already removed Solanki caught, if that is the right word, off his pad. Both dismissals were due in part to the expert, quiet work of Mark Boucher, a wicket-keeper who deserves to be noticed but who, just like Statham, gets on with his work without a flourish.
Marcus Trescothick needed 18 deliveries to get off the mark as the ball jagged back and forth so much that five over brought only seven runs.
That England got out of trouble was entirely due to Trescothick's ability to leave the ball alone - and bring out the occasional big shot - and Anthony McGrath's talent for playing late.
McGrath, spotted by the former England chairman of selectors Ray Illingworth in his teens, has taken 10 years to come to the fore but now he is an estimable batsman who has blended experience with skill to produce a series of scores that have made England a more reliable side and the stroke players like Trescothick and Solanki to let fly.
As the floodlights came on to relieve the gloom, McGrath and Trescothick took the score slowly to 48 off 15 overs, to 100 in the 26th and to 131 in the 31st when he was caught attempting to sweep.
He had just been dropped by the captain Graeme Smith at mid off for 60 off 92 deliveries.
Two other bad misses in the win over Zimbabwe at Canterbury earlier this week show just how the pressure is getting to this young leader.
Before Flintoff had the chance to wreck the South African attack McGrath went to 50 off 93 balls and was then stumped stretching forward to Nicky Boje's clever left arm spin at 140 for four.
Although his home crowd was roaring him on, Flintoff never got into his stride, produced an identical shot to the one that Smith dropped off Trescothick and this time the South African captain clung on. No one doubts Smith's determination.
By now - with eight overs to go - it was clear that England would be lucky to reach 200 and when, five balls after Flintoff's miserable dismissal, James Troughton feebly knocked a catch to gully it was 162 for six. Poor Troughton.
He must now wish he could disappear - like his grandfather the actor playing Dr. Who - into another time zone.
Richard Johnson, whose unshaven face epitomises his determination to make the most of his England career which is beginning at 28, showed the way with a straight muscular six but Ntini bowled him with a slower ball at 176 in the 45th over.
Finally, an enterprising innings of 30 off 27 balls by wicket-keeper Chris Read enabled England to reach 223 for seven.
S. Africa 103 for three
South Africa was 103 for three in reply to England's total of 223 for seven. J. Rudolph (5) and J. Kallis (32) were at the crease.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of