Cricket: Debutant's hat-trick sinks Durham

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The Independent Online
Durham 225 and 198

Leicestershire 428

Leics won by innings and 5 runs

WHEN a side is gripped by the fever of success, peculiar things happen. Yesterday, Leicestershire, who were lying third in the table at the start of play after a season of keenly competitive performances, were rewarded for their strength by a hat-trick from Alamgir Sheriyar, a 20-year-old pace bowler making his Championship debut.

He is a slender, whippy left- armer and had been taking something of a back seat while his sturdier colleagues powered Durham aside. Remarkably, it was the second hat-trick of the game, Sheriyar's colleague Vince Wells also performing the feat in the first innings.

Durham are a side in sharp decline after their promising start to the season. Now their approach is lacklustre and their resistance slight. In contrast, Leicestershire are attuned to victory. Their skipper, Nigel Briers, is happy with their ability to see opposition off: 'We look like a Championship side. Durham have two or three players who can make double hundreds on a pitch like that.'

In the event their highest scorer was Jimmy Daley, a tidy 20-year-old, with a knock of 57. Soon into the Durham innings, it was clear that the wicket was only going to reward honest graft, but in the shape of David Millns, Leicestershire had a bowler with the physique to make such toil pay dividends. His opening spell kept the Durham openers on their toes and gave them notice of what was to come.

Vince Wells, rated by Briers in the Craig White class, relies more on grey matter than on pure brawn. He already had five wickets, including the first hat- trick of the game, and 77 runs in the bag before the former England man Wayne Larkins was teased into lobbing a catch after a cunning change of pace.

Three balls later, Graeme Fowler flashed at a straight delivery, Phil Simmons taking an excellent diving catch at second slip. Another seasoned campaigner, John Morris, in the middle of a woeful spell of form, became Millns's first victim and the third wicket to fall in six balls. Durham were heading towards their fourth consecutive defeat.

Wells was able to return refreshed and took his match haul to eight wickets when another straight ball pierced the defence of Phil Bainbridge. The Durham skipper's prediction that his side's first-innings score of 225 was possibly a basis for victory, was perhaps optimistic.

Anderson Cummins had been revelling in the sunshine and his mixture of aggression and enterprise almost made Leicestershire bat again. However, he became Sheriyar's first of four victims in a 10-ball spell which yielded just one run. The feat left the young man from Lichfield shaking and eager for his team's next engagement - against the South Africans.