Cricket: Klusener's day overshadowed by injury to Telemachus

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The Independent Online
IT WAS the kind of balmy summer day that might have prompted Lou Reed to write "that song" a decade earlier, had he grown up on the banks of the Severn rather than on the Brooklyn side of the East River. Unfortunately, none of the batsmen saw fit to take advantage and it was left to a bowler, Lance Klusener, to steal what thunder there was in the perfect conditions with 4 for 66.

Klusener has few frills, even on a pitch as slow as this one. With an attitude that does not know the meaning of reduced capacity, he simply rolled up his sleeves, bent his back, and put in the work of two men. The dividends were plain to see and while Allan Donald looked sleek but went wicketless - though he did have a catch dropped by Daryll Cullinan at first slip - Klusener hustled his way past early season defences. With a useful yorker to back up a slippery bouncer, he clean bowled both Philip Weston and David Leatherdale, the latter having played the day's best innings.

Klusener also accounted for Graeme Hick, who tamely chipped a slower ball to mid-wicket for 33. It was a sucker dismissal and Hick, looking to nudge the selectors as Michael Atherton had done the previous day, should have known better. It was a careless mistake and it probably put paid to the batsman's chances of making England's one-day squad for next week's Texaco matches.

Klusener, now 26, has travelled an interesting route. In an age of academies, it is heartening to learn that someone as talented as Klusener rose to prominence via district cricket in Natal. Like Frank Sinatra, he can probably claim to have done it his way.

Although less successful, his colleagues would have benefited from their first proper bowl in English conditions, and there were wickets for Paul Adams and Jacques Kallis. Donald looked fluent, if a little frustrated by the pedestrian nature of the pitch, while Mornantau Hayward, a fast bowler from Uitenhage, just looked baffled.

A 21-year old with a mop of fiery red hair, Hayward has apparently been clocked at well over 90 mph. Yesterday, his skiddy pace helped the batsmen time the ball and he was comfortably the most expensive of the visiting bowlers.

Despite Klusener's efforts, probably the most significant event as far as the visitors were concerned happened an hour before the start of play when Roger Telemachus, South Africa's swing bowler and a key part of their one-day side, dislocated his right shoulder.

The injury happened when Telemachus, diving for a catch in fielding practice, landed awkwardly on his right elbow. Unable to relocate the shoulder, the physio, Craig Smith, took him to hospital where it was put back with the help of a local anaesthetic. The prognosis is that the bowler will be out of action for at least six weeks. The feeling is that he may be better off recovering at home rather than on tour, which means a replacement is almost certain.

With only Steve Rhodes, unbeaten on 45, coming close to matching Leatherdale's crisp strokeplay, Worcestershire, no doubt having agreed some kind of quasi one-day run chase today, were able to declare on 228 for 6, some 59 runs behind.

In keeping with his decision to bat first on the opening day, Hansie Cronje resisted the temptation to change the batting order. It was a decision that only Gerhardus Liebenberg regretted, when he went for a duck, caught behind off Phil Newport. Gary Kirsten, the one failure in the first innings, followed, though not before he had secured his half-century.

l The Australian batsman, Michael Slater, makes his return to the Derbyshire side in tomorrow's AXA League game against Warwickshire at Derby. The opener has yet to bat for the county after he broke a bone in his left hand on the first morning of the season.