Cricket: Breezy Johnson

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .167-7


THERE was something extra special going on all round in three extraordinary hours before the wash-out here yesterday. An unbeaten half-century from Paul Johnson and four wickets for Alan Igglesden left them with plus marks after their first examination. But the minuses were an embarrassing, seven Nottinghamshire batsmen back in the pavilion and, the piece de resistance, 43 extras tossed away on the wind by Kent in 39 overs.

Indeed, until Johnson got cracking it was odds-on that he would be beaten to the 50 mark thanks to the punishment being meted out for the overstepping, ball-spraying antics of some of the Kent bowlers. In the end, thanks to good fortune, Johnson pulled ahead while the weather spared Kent further blushes.

Johnson was on 37 when he cut Martin McCague to third man. Duncan Spencer took the catch but tumbled backwards over the boundary into an advertising hoarding. One of two sixes, then, to Johnson, whose belligerent 69 from 70 deliveries included nine other fizzing shots to the ropes.

McCague's suffering was not confined to whatever Johnson had up his sleeve. England's Irish-born Australian, his activities curtailed last season through injury, sent down six wides in his nine overs. 'It was one of the most bizarre morning sessions I've seen,' Daryl Foster, the Kent coach, said.

Foster reckoned that, with the ball swinging and seaming, his bowlers were overcompensating. 'It should have been 7 for 90,' he said. Igglesden, though, bowled a better line and just before the covers came on was threatening to create as much mayhem with the ball as Johnson was with the bat.

He began by removing Paul Pollard and the crafty grafter, Jimmy Adams. Then, following lunch and with the score on 150, he whittled out Wayne Noon and Kevin Evans in three balls.