Cricket: Cork pleased with progress

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New Zealand Academy 201 v England Match abandoned

England are planning plenty of hard work for Dominic Cork after his longest break from cricket since 1991. The Derbyshire all-rounder returned to active service yesterday, bowling seven overs and picking up one wicket before rain washed out the one-day match against New Zealand's Cricket Academy in New Plymouth.

Cork had not played for four months, following his decision to miss England's visit to Zimbabwe, but, with the opening Test in New Zealand only a fortnight away, he has already been named for Monday's first-class match against a Select XI at Palmerston North - and will probably be on duty when England complete their warm-up programme by meeting Northern Districts in Hamilton next weekend. "This is the longest break I've had from cricket for several years," Cork said. "I would like to play as much as possible now to put myself in contention for the first Test."

While England badly missed Cork's match-winning potential in Zimbabwe, the team coach, David Lloyd, believes a decent rest will have done the 25-year-old "the world of good".

A victory yesterday would have been the ideal way for England to have kicked off here, and they looked well on course after dismissing their hosts for 201. But persistent rain - apparently the forerunner of a cyclone heading this way - forced an abandonment before England could launch their reply.

Andy Caddick was the most successful member of an all-seam attack, finishing with three wickets, while Jack Russell - another of the forgotten men in Zimbabwe - picked up five catches behind the stumps.

England won toss

NEW ZEALAND ACADEMY XI

R A Lawson c Russell b Caddick 13

M D Bell b Caddick 6

*L G Howells lbw b Gough 24

C D McMillan c Silverwood b Irani 58

S Lynch c Russell b Gough 8

R G Hart b Silverwood 0

G R Loveridge c Knight b Caddick 54

A J Penn c Russell b Cork 0

M J Haslem c Russell b Irani 7

S B O'Connor not out 16

D Sewell c Russell b Silverwood 1

Extras (lb2, w9, nb3) 14

Total (40.4 overs) 201

Fall: 1-15, 2-29, 3-74, 4-98, 5-99, 6-141, 7-143, 8-154, 9-199.

Bowling: Cork 7-0-39-1; Caddick 8-1-44-3; Silverwood 8.4-0-32-2; Gough 8-0-35-2; Irani 9-1-49-2

ENGLAND: *M A Atherton, N V Knight, G P Thorpe, N Hussain, J P Crawley, R C Irani, R C Russell, D G Cork, A R Caddick, D Gough, C E W Silverwood.

Umpires: B F Bowden and E A Watkin.

Photograph, page 25

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