Cricket: Donald still potent

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire went some way yesterday to endorsing the judgement of those bookmakers who made them the pre-season favourites for the Britannic Assurance title - but then saw their gains devalued as Darren Gough did his best to upstage Allan Donald.

Yorkshire's effervescent England bowler bent his back in the evening sunshine and was handsomely rewarded. His inswingers proved too much for Nick Knight and David Hemp, who were dismissed in the space of four deliveries in his first two overs and, when Chris Silverwood accounted for Andy Moles, Warwickshire were already in a sorry state.

Gough then stifled Warwickshire's attempts to construct a recovery by adding the wicket of Dominic Ostler with the fourth lbw dismissal of the evening. The home side closed at 64 for 4, compared with which Yorkshire's 233 looked a respectable total. Gough claimed 3 for 12 from his nine-over spell.

This rather took the shine off what had until then been an encouraging day for Warwickshire, hungry again for silverware after failing last year to add to the six trophies won between 1993 and 1995. Much of their optimism about this season is invested in two bowlers, Donald and Ashley Giles - the two, in fact, who inflicted most of the damage on Yorkshire yesterday, claiming four wickets each.

Donald, refreshed after spending last year behind the scenes at Edgbaston, is shaping like a man with another formidable season ahead of him, and Warwickshire have every reason to feel they have one of the Championship's trump cards at their disposal.

In his 31st year, Donald looks the supreme athlete still, the grace and rhythm of his bowling one of the current game's finest sights, unless you happen to be batting against him. Warwickshire know they have to make the most of his availability. Next season he will be playing in England - but for South Africa. Likewise in 1999, in the World Cup.

Only Michael Vaughan, who hit nine boundaries in his 56, and Darren Lehmann gave Yorkshire's innings real substance, the Australian working hard for more than three hours to make 62 before shouldering arms to Dougie Brown, who deserved his success.