SUSSEX by the sea may have received a C-rating from the West Indian bowlers, who toiled all day here for precious little reward, but then Matthew Dowman was not about to complain. In the second of three Under-19 Tests, England's left-handed opener made the sort of score that is the stuff of dreams of any of his seniors due to tour the Caribbean this winter.
Dowman has been looking at cricket life through the YTS scheme with Nottinghamshire and yesterday provided the chance for the youth of England to stand up and be counted. This took the form of thrashing the West Indies to all parts of the boundary on the first day of four after Matthew Walker had won the toss and decided to bat.
Walker, unfortunately, missed out, but Dowman went from strength to strength as he motored beyond a double century. The sight of West Indian fielders strolling around with their hands in their pockets was a sight for sore eyes, though the English youngsters will not be getting too carried away.
In the first washed-out Test at Trent Bridge earlier in the month, the Guyanese left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul also made a double hundred. So England can expect the worst in the leather-chasing department when their turn in the field arrives.
Dowman helped raise 61 for the first wicket with Michael Vaughan, a century maker at Trent Bridge, 58 for the second with Walker and 101 for the third with James Daley. The best was saved to last, he and Robert Cunliffe (59) adding an unbeaten 225 for the fourth wicket, an English record at this level.
Dowman says his favourite sportsman is Frank Bruno. Here, dropped on 37 and 196, the southpaw floored the opposition. He thumped 31 fours and two sixes to be unbeaten on 230 at the close while England celebrated over 400 runs in the day. If only life was always as profitable against the West Indies.
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