Brown's sore point

Worcs 302 and 93-1 Durham 240 and 152 Worcs won by 7 wickets
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Simon Brown, Durham's talented left-arm fast bowler, spent yesterday morning having a damaged foot examined after being trapped leg before to Alamgir Sheriyar on Friday. He returned reporting it as "very sore", which means he will not, presumably, be asked to take Alan Mullally's place in England's team at Lord's.

Brown did not bowl as Worcestershire, having removed the last two Durham wickets for 21 runs in 15 minutes, reached the 91 needed to win just before lunch, for the loss of Matthew Church. That left Durham without a win in their 11 Championship matches. Their plight drew the interest this week of the editor of Wisden. He concluded, optimistically, that this may be the darkest hour before the dawn. Durham were a cheery addition to the first-class list five years ago: their hospitality is renowned, their followers devoted and their prospects still bright. Now that they have survived their Golden Oldie and Native Talent phases, they should be able to build a balanced side.

Worcestershire's attention, the welcome 23 points apart, centred on Graeme Hick. His 150 not out represented an opportune return to form, with his England place in danger. He believes recent scores have not reflected his true form: "I'm feeling good and I've been striking the ball well."

Entering at 54 for one yesterday, he tended to confirm that by hitting David Cox straight for six, his first scoring stroke. David Lloyd, who saw Hick's first innings, will have considered the circumstances before voting for his retention. The pitch has bounce but is otherwise good. It is to one side of square, giving a short boundary; the outfield is like marble, and in one nine-over spell on Friday from Brown, Durham's most dangerous bowler, Hick faced four balls.

Yet, as Geoffrey Boycott would confirm, a great batsman knows which end to choose and if this were not the best preparation for Wasim and Waqar, Hick did all that was asked. He applied the coup de grace with a drive through mid-off. Sheriyar's four for 46 were his best figures for Worcestershire.