Corker of a win for England at Lords

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The Independent Online
Flaming June finally came good when it mattered yesterday. The month which traditionally stages the centrepieces of the British summer sporting season cast off the first 20-odd days of grey, shivering misery just in time to herald a dramatic last day of the second Test and the first day of Wimbledon.

The English cricket team had their day in the sun when they beat the West Indies at Lord's by 72 runs .

The last time they managed such a victory Harold Macmillan was at No 10 and Conservative leadership elections hadn't even been thought of.

It was a particularly satisfying win for the England chairman and manager Ray Illingworth, who had been roundly rubbished over the team's selection. Robin Smith, the batsman who had been bounced up and down the batting order, set up the victory with two half-centuries. Alec Stewart, who had to be press-ganged into keeping wicket, took a breathtaking catch to dismiss the West Indies' key batsman, Brian Lara, first thing in the morning.

And most impressive of all, Dominic Cork, the 23-year-old Derbyshire all-rounder picked by Illingworth for his first Test, turned in the best bowling performance by an English cricketer on his debut this century - 7 for 43.

"I would like to say that some of the 'muddled thinking' turned out pretty well," Illingworth said to his critics - a sentence John Major must be dying to use himself.

In another place, in London SW19, the nation's two-week annual love-affair with tennis got off to a happy start, with warm sunshine, the occasional British win, and the traditional squabble about strawberry prices.

On the principle that you should get your retaliation in first, Wimbledon's caterers went on to the offensive straight away, saying that theirs were cheaper than those at either the Chelsea Flower Show or Royal Ascot.

"Ours cost pounds 1.75 for 10. At Ascot it was pounds 2.50 and at the flower show pounds 2.65," a spokesman said. "We are cheap. That is the story. People would complain they are expensive if we gave them away."

Out on the courts there was early British success, with Tim Henman, Chris Wilkinson, Miles Maclagan and Greg Rusedski all winning. Henman's glory may be shortlived, though - he faces the defending champion and tournament favourite, Pete Sampras, in the second round.

Sport, pages 24-28

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