Cricket: Hollioake lightens grim day of graft

England 179-5 v Jamaica
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On a day of hard graft, England officially launched their Caribbean tour yesterday on a football ground bearing a newly laid strip that was a little damp at the start of play.

The highlight of a day brought to a close 45 minutes early by rain was a 70-ball 40 by Adam Hollioake, who came in at No 6 and added some light relief to the grind as England accumulated 179 for 5 off 83 overs. Only six shots reached the boundary over Jarrett Park's patchy, meadow-like outfield, which was playing host to an international match for the first time in 12 years.

Graham Thorpe, mindful of the fact that England have only two warm-up matches before the first Test, suppressed his frustration as he took 170 minutes and 118 deliveries to compile an unbeaten 41.

"It was satisfactory," was the verdict of England's coach, David Lloyd. "A number of people spent time at the crease. There were a couple of soft dismissals. But it was always going to be hard work."

He said England had no complaints about the pitch or the outfield. "We are just glad to get under way. Hollioake played well and it was good to see John Crawley and Mike Atherton spending two hours at the crease," Lloyd said.

Hollioake produced the most eye-catching shot of the day, a sweep off the leg-spinner Brian Murphy carrying for six over square leg. He was almost run out on 40, when an under-arm throw hit the stumps direct, but the Test umpire Steve Bucknor, lacking a camera's replayable view, gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Hollioake did not heed the warning to add a little caution to his play and he fell, without addition, four overs after tea, when he was taken behind by Andre Coley aiming a lavish cut at Kirk Powell.

A run out mix-up with Nasser Hussain robbed Crawley of the chance of a bigger contribution, his premature departure coming during a mini-collapse after lunch in which England slipped from 55 for 1 to 78 for 4 in the space of seven overs.

Crawley showed application on a volatile pitch that gave batsmen little time to adjust to its unreliable bounce. He kept down the lifter and jabbed down on the shooter during a 132-minute innings of 25 to make a satisfying enough stab at claiming England's No 3 slot.

Alec Stewart and Atherton had the worst of the conditions, against the new ball. Stewart managed a single before he could not drop his hands quickly enough and was taken at second slip, while Atherton (28 in 110 balls) was over the worst when he was caught at square leg.

Atherton won the toss, which allowed him to give England the chance of two innings in the first of the two matches ahead of the First Test against West Indies at Sabina Park in Kingston, which starts on 29 January.

Crawley's selection, plus the choice of Hollioake at No 6, gave a hint about selection for that match, as did the choice of Caddick, Headley, Fraser and Tufnell in the attack.

England won toss

ENGLAND - First Innings

*M A Atherton c Murphy b Powell 28

A J Stewart c Breese b Richards 1

J P Crawley run out 25

N Hussain c Adams b Breese 15

G P Thorpe not out 41

A J Hollioake c Coley b Powell 40

R C Russell not out 14

Extras (b15) 15

Total (for 5, 83 overs) 179

Fall: 1-2, 2-55, 3-73, 4-77.

To bat: A R Caddick, D W Headley, A R C Fraser, P C R Tufnell.

Bowling: Powell 14-3-19-2; Richards 12-7-15-1; Williams 21-7-37-0; Breese 24-3-59-1; Murphy 11-0-30-0; Adams 1-0-4-0.

Jamaica: L V Garrick, R G Samuels, W W Hinds, *J C Adams, M D Ventura, T O Powell, L R Williams, A N Coley, B S Murphy, K Powell, O Richards.

Umpires: S A Bucknor and C Fletcher.