Cricket: Blewett makes the difference

England 187 South Australia 262-5
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The Independent Online
GREG BLEWETT gave another demonstration of his liking for the tourists' bowling yesterday and underlined the task facing Alec Stewart's side if they are to become only the third England side since the war to regain the Ashes on Australian soil.

Challenged by their coach, David Lloyd, to "do much better" after a series of rash shots restricted them to a lowly first-innings total of 187, England responded to his demand by producing their most encouraging bowling display of the tour so far to restrict South Australia to 262 for 5 by the close of the second day.

Yet the complete domination of their attack which Blewett, who hit 143, displayed in over five hours at the crease augurs ominously for England in the forthcoming Ashes campaign - considering he is unlikely to figure in the five-Test series, such is the competition in the Australian line- up.

Blewett, who scored centuries in his first three Ashes Tests at Adelaide, Perth and Edgbaston, was dropped from the Test side after playing 14 successive Tests without scoring a century. He is likely to plunder English attacks for more runs next season, as he has agreed a contract to be Yorkshire's overseas player next season, due to Darren Lehmann's expected inclusion in Australia's World Cup squad.

"The competition is awesome - it makes it tough," Blewett admitted. "Seven or eight years ago the thought was that it was harder to get out of the Australian side than it was to get into it, but that has changed round a bit now."

But, for all Blewett's superb timing and placement of shots, England made him work hard for his runs and, instead of embarking on his trademark attacking style, he was restricted to just six boundaries - two of which were all-run-fours - en route to a century off 205 deliveries.

Only when Blewett, South Australia's stand-in captain while Lehmann is away on international duty in Pakistan, attempted to force the pace after tea and accelerate his side past England's total was he forced into an error by misreading Mark Ramprakash's delivery, which spun back and clipped his leg stump. Until then, the only successes England had achieved in 67 overs bowled during the day were Dominic Cork's dismissal of the opener, Martin Faull, in the morning session and Dean Headley's leg-before verdict against Chris Davies after lunch.

England's disciplined performance, particularly from Cork and the off- spinner Peter Such, finally reaped a reward after Blewett's departure with two further wickets before the close, restricting South Australia to a lesser total than had seemed likely at tea, when they were 178 for 2.

Three overs after Blewett's departure, Angus Fraser claimed his first wicket of the tour by trapping Nathan Adcock leg before. Ben Johnson's frustration at being unable to score prompted him to drive wildly at Cork and edge behind to Stewart to crown an impressive display from the England attack.

Second day; England won toss

ENGLAND - First Innings 187 (N Hussain 57, D G Cork 51).

SOUTH AUSTRALIA - First Innings

*G S Blewett b Ramprakash 143

M P Faull b Cork 31

C J Davies lbw b Headley 18

J M Vaughan not out 39

N T Adcock b Fraser 1

B A Johnson c Stewart b Cork 6

T J Nielsen not out 8

Extras (b2, lb11, nb3) 16

Total (for 5, 101 overs) 262

Fall: 1-89, 2-141, 3-214, 4-219, 5-237.

To bat: M A Harrity, A R Cook, E M C Arnold, J N Gillespie.

Bowling: Cork 20-10-28-2; Tudor 15-2-50-0; Headley 21-1-67-1; Fraser 17-4-42-1; Such 24-8-51-0; Ramprakash 4-1-11-1.

Umpires: P G Parker and S G Davies.

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