Cricket: Depleted England made to struggle

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Western Province/Boland 247-5 v England

ENGLAND'S UNDER-STRENGTH bowling attack struggled to make inroads into a Combined Western Province/Boland XI line-up yesterday as their build-up to the start of the Test series picked up momentum.

With less than three weeks until the opening Test at Johannesburg, the tourists were hoping to field as strong a side as possible to give help the majority of their party find fitness and form.

But deprived of Darren Gough (general stiffness) and Dean Headley (back spasm) while Andrew Flintoff failed a fitness test on his back strain, England struggled to contain the Combined XI.

They finished on 247 for 5 at the close of the first day with the captain Louis Koen batting nearly six hours before falling two overs before the finish.

He forged a 126-run fifth-wicket partnership with Kenny Jackson until tamely guiding Andrew Caddick straight to Darren Maddy in the gully to give England a late reward for their determined efforts.

Caddick finished with 3 for 40 having dismissed the openers Rashaad Magiet and James Henderson inside the opening nine overs and shouldered most of the workload in a seam attack which featured the inexperienced Gavin Hamilton and Alex Tudor, who had bowled only 11.2 overs since July.

Part-time bowler Mark Butcher broke a 59-run third-wicket partnership with the final delivery before lunch, clipping Hylton Ackerman's off-stump while Tudor had Ashwell Prince caught brilliantly in the gully by Michael Vaughan.

First day of four; Combined W Province/Boland XI won toss


R Magiet b Caddick 3

J M Henderson c Butcher b Caddick 6

*L J Koen c Maddy b Caddick 96

H D Ackerman b Butcher 35

A J Prince c Vaughan b Tudor 21

K C Jackson not out 69

C W Henderson not out 2

Extras (lb3, w1, nb11) 15

Total (for 5, 90 overs) 247

Fall: 1-4, 2-11, 3-70, 4-117, 5-243.

To bat: S J Palframan, R Telemachus, D M Koch, C M Willoughby.

Bowling: Caddick 22-7-40-3; Mullaly 25-12-33-0; Hamilton 13-1-41-0; Tudor 13-0-54-1; Butcher 7-1-27-1; Vaughan 10-0-49-0.

ENGLAND: M A Atherton, M A Butcher, *N Hussain, M P Vaughan, A J Stewart, C J Adams, D L Maddy, G M Hamilton, A J Tudor, A C Caddick, A D Mullaly.

Umpires: I L Howell and R Brooks.