Cricket / County Championship: Tough Broad falls short

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Gloucestershire . . . . . . . . . . . .261-8


IT WAS like a disease spreading down through the Gloucestershire ranks. Having got in yesterday, they got themselves out and none was more furious with himself than Chris Broad. Returning to his roots, he is looking to set an example and with a half-century under the belt the hard work was behind him at the County Ground.

Broad, though, picked the wrong line and was leg-before to Mark Feltham. 'I'd like to kick the habit,' he said, referring not to the manner of his dismissal but to the fact that since returning from Nottinghamshire his number has come up on 58. It happened on Tuesday here, when Derbyshire were grateful to scrape through in the Benson and Hedges Cup.

'My job is to go out there and score runs,' Broad said. Besides which, he would like to open again for England. Broad was banned for touring South Africa with Mike Gatting's team in 1990, but at 35 he is itching to reclaim his old place. 'It seems to me it is up for grabs and if you're scoring runs age doesn't enter into it.'

Yesteday, it was another

35-year-old who was smiling. Gatting pushed his bowlers around and, besides unsettling the scorers, cut off the Gloucestershire batsmen just when they had settled down. It was a good day for Middlesex and if they keep going like this they could wrap it up in three days.

Broad and Simon Hinks had put on 78 for the first wicket when Matthew Keech claimed his first Championship wicket by removing Hinks for 25, and those scores in the twenties were to become all too familiar after Broad had departed.

In fact, five others followed suit with only Tony Wright (35) breaking the sequence. There was certainly nothing spiteful in the wicket, the Middlesex bowlers having to work at it, and Angus Fraser - his hip injury hopefully behind him - was rewarded with a 3 for 60 return from his 22 overs.

Broad, meanwhile, would like to make three figures second time around - and not only here. 'I'd just like to get the chance to score a century in a home Test,' said a man who has made no fewer than six overseas. Gloucestershire would appreciate similar contributions this summer.