ALLAN DONALD will remember, for all the wrong reasons, his last tangle with the Australians - before South Africa's home and away Test series against them - when the English summer comes to a close.
After more than a year of almost continuous cricket encompassing the World Cup, a one-off Test in West Indies, a season with Warwickshire, a Test series against India and playing for Orange Free State, Donald looks a jaded figure, desperate for respite after taking only eight Championship wickets at 40 runs each this summer.
His first four-over spell cost 26 runs, his second of two overs produced 20 and a third, albeit much more hostile and accurate, completed disconsolate figures of 10 overs for a total of 67 runs. Every analysis tells a story, but the sight of Tim Munton rushing from one end to the other to offer Donald solace after he had bowled a wide carried a deeper meaning.
Donald's next ball was dispatched towards the cover boundary, something the Australians, notably Michael Slater, Damien Martyn and Allan Border did on a regular basis. The lowest point for the bowler who was allegedly the quickest white man in the world not long ago was a delivery costing six runs, a no-ball rushing unimpeded to the third-man boundary.
Most were helped flamboyantly on their way with a scoring rate approaching four an over bridging three interruptions for heavy rain, which cost 30 overs. The bat was rarely beaten once the sultry, oppressive atmosphere fostering the swing of Munton and Gladstone Small cleared into a fresher, brighter evening.
Slater's half-century was his sixth in eight innings against county opposition on this tour, Border played lustily with freedom of stroke play, his familiar hallmark, and Martyn, who reached 86 not out, shared with him a partnership of 147 at almost five an over.
Neil Smith beat Border's intended drive as he attempted to score a 12th boundary in a 120-ball innings. Border still had every reason to feel well pleased because his tourists, already cutting a swathe through the counties with four wins in five games during the Tetley Bitter Challenge series, enjoyed the batting practice which some England players have missed in a reduced domestic fixture programme.
Apart from facing Munton and Small, the batsmen met a muted challenge. Dermot Reeve bowled gentle seamers and Roger Twose offered little more than line and length.
As for Donald, Warwickshire will need a replacement overseas player when he tours England with South Africa next summer before returning for the final year of his present contract with the county in 1995. A West Indian, possibly Brian Lara or Phil Simmons, looks favourite, though Bob Woolmer, Warwickshire's director of coaching, said: 'We will certainly be asking for permission to talk to one or two Australians during this match.'Reuse content