Cricket: Australia take charge after hat-trick

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .305

Australians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .268-1

A HAT-TRICK by the much-undersung Wayne Holdsworth and a dashing century between lunch and tea from Michael Slater gave the Australians cause for much satisfaction yesterday before, as on the previous day, rain wiped out the evening session.

If the weather prompted a sense of deja vu, so did the bowling. In making 217 from only 33 overs in the afternoon, Slater and Mark Waugh needed to do little more than pick off the regular supply of bad balls.

Not much from Simon Base and Devon Malcolm, by accident or design, landed in the batsmen's half of the pitch. It was as if they had been brainwashed into thinking that Australians could not play off the back foot. Base, who went for 85 in 10 overs, including 24 from one, now knows different.

There was scant evidence of friendship or chivalry between the sides. After becoming only the third Derbyshire batsman (and the first English- born one) to make a century against the Australians, Kim Barnett walked off to a remark which was probably not taken from the Paul Hogan book of witty asides.

This may have been because the Australians thought he had been caught behind shortly after reaching three figures. Later Base rounded off his wonderful afternoon of underachievement by pointedly declining to acknowledge Slater's fine innings, probably because he felt he should have been given out, caught off a mixture of inside edge and pad, at 37.

By all accounts, not all the churlishness was confined to events on the field. But the cricket was never less than richly entertaining, especially when Slater and Waugh, who must have felt they had time-travelled to the 1932-33 Bodyline series, started to ping the bowling to all parts.

Before that, Holdsworth took 4 for 0 in eight deliveries, including the first hat-trick by an Australian here since Tom Matthews' in 1912 (against South Africa). Karl Krikken waited before being adjudged the bowler's third victim, but his embarrassment would be nothing compared to that of the Australian press who, on the evidence of the first day, had already suggested that Holdsworth might as well be on the next plane home.

(Photograph omitted)