Cricket: England share Dexter's resigned air: The Test and County Cricket Board begins searching for new chairman of selectors as Australia take 4-0 lead in the Ashes series

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England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .276 and 251

Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408 and 120-2

Australia win by 8 wickets

WHEN England's cricketers left the field for lunch yesterday, they were informed - a good deal later than those members of the crowd plugged into transistor radios - that Ted Dexter had finally bitten through the cyanide capsule. However, by then it was far too late for this to have any effect - even as an inspirational factor - and Australia duly wrapped up their fourth Test victory of the summer 20 minutes into the afternoon session.

Dexter's resignation was a curious affair, even though it was half-expected. According to the statement issued by the Test and County Cricket Board, the England committee chairman had told it even before the Ashes series began that he was not intending to seek re-election when his contract ran out in March.

It was further dressed up to say that it was Dexter's concern to allow the new man - whoever that might be - to settle in before next season that led to him taking early retirement, although no one really believed it. Dexter's skin, a good deal thinner than his public statements suggested, had finally been punctured once too often.

As recently as the immediate aftermath of the Headingley Test, Dexter had said that he did not read the newspapers, and that he would not go until the chairman of the TCCB rang him up to tell him that he was making a total porridge of the job. Apparently, the chairman, Frank Chamberlain, had done no such thing, although to most people this would merely suggest that Ted had taken his phone off the hook.

For all Dexter's foibles, and self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the foot, it was a sad way to go, not least for the way it was greeted by those spectators at Edgbaston plugged into Test Match Special at around 12.15. David Boon and Mark Waugh, busy doing a spot of mid-pitch gardening, were understandably puzzled when a spontaneous cheer broke out around the ground.

They probably thought a huge black cloud was just arriving over the pavilion, but it just the news of Ted's demise crackling over the radio. Even the match announcer rubbed it in. 'For those of you wondering what that round of a applause was, it was to mark the resignation of Ted Dexter.'

After the match, the TCCB's chief executive, A C Smith, said that he had 'liked Ted very much, was a very nice man, and had done a lot of good things for English cricket'. He did not sound very convincing, but in fairness, Smith rarely does, and there is genuine affection for Dexter at Lord's, if less so among the growing band of county chairmen who have been calling for his head.

Now that his head has dropped into the basket, the Board will begin its search for his successor at a meeting next week, although if Dexter really did hand in his notice two months ago, you would have thought they would already have done so.

There are several names being bandied around, among them Mike Smith, Micky Stewart, Peter May, Mike Brearley and Geoffrey Boycott, although he would probably be too shy and lacking in confidence to volunteer. However, given that the TCCB is now wondering whether Dexter's role is too demanding to be offered on the same part-time basis, the favourite might well turn out to be Ossie Wheatley, combining Dexter's position with that of his current one as chairman of the cricket committee.

Smith admitted that the current system was 'obviously not perfect', and that the TCCB's executive committee 'might want to look at the role itself and re-jig it. For instance, we might want someone who can spend more time watching county cricket.' He also said that the Board might explore the possibility of setting up something similar to the Australian Academy in Adelaide, which is the equivalent of a university specialising in nothing but cricket.

Dexter will remain in his job until the end of the final Test at The Oval, but will go before the England committee meets to select their squad for the winter tour to the West Indies. 'I cannot say when a successor might be named,' Smith said. 'Next week would be pretty unlikely, however, and it could be deferred until either our December or March meetings.' If it is March, of course, it would make a total nonsense of Dexter's wish for the new man to get his feet under the carpet well before next summer.

So in the end, Dexter has effectively survived for only one match longer than Graham Gooch, whose successor, Michael Atherton, undertook the traditional task of England captains these days, by chairing the losers' press conference. The last England captain not to lose his very first match was Bob Willis.

Atherton yesterday claimed that he had enjoyed himself, which has less to do with any hitherto unrevealed masochistic tendencies as a comparative shortage of experience at skippering cricket's equivalent of the Titanic. He may not indefinitely peer out of the porthole and look upon it as a spot more ice to pop into the gin and tonic.

However, he has by and large acquitted himself well in this Test, changing his bowlers around almost as often as his own position in the field, and refuted the charge that he would have been better placed with more than four bowlers to change around. 'The flip of having five bowlers is that we looked no nearer to bowling anyone out either,' he said a little irritably, intimating that one more sow's ear still would not produce a silk purse.

For a time yesterday morning, there was some hope that England might escape the noose. Firstly when the rain was lashing down in early- morning, only for it to clear up at around 10.30, and Edgbaston's giant protective tent meant a delay of only 15 minutes. Even when England get a piece of technology spot on, it still conspires against them.

Atherton then placed all his eggs in the spinners' basket, and when Australia quickly lost Mark Taylor and Michael Slater for the addition of only three runs to their overnight 9 for 0, the victory target of 120 suddenly began to assume more difficult proportions. Edgbaston in 1981 was the less celebrated of that summer's two miracles, and another quick wicket might have raised a bead or two of sweat in the visiting dressing-room.

Taylor and Slater fell to sharp catches by Graham Thorpe at silly point essaying nervous prods to Peter Such and John Emburey, but just as in the first innings, Mark Waugh wrenched away any optimistic thoughts with a second high-class innings.

He announced his intention to stop poking around by sweeping Such to the long mid-wicket boundary for six, and he and Boon thereafter got Australia home in a canter. As for England, they are in such a state that eight wickets almost qualifies as a triumph.

FIFTH CORNHILL TEST SCOREBOARD

(England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings

G A Gooch c Taylor b Reiffel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

(24 min, 20 balls)

* M A Atherton b Reiffel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72

(192 min, 157 balls, 9 fours)

R A Smith b M Waugh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

(67 min, 59 balls, 2 fours)

M P Maynard c S Waugh b May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(11 min, 9 balls)

] A J Stewart c and b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45

(81 min, 82 balls, 6 fours, 1 six)

G P Thorpe c Healy b May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

(77 min, 53 balls, 6 fours)

N Hussain b Reiffel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

(8 min, 10 balls)

J E Emburey not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55

(163 min, 152 balls, 5 fours, 1 six)

M P Bicknell c M Waugh b Reiffel. . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

(66 min, 59 balls, 1 four)

P M Such b Reiffel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

(2 min, 3 balls)

M C Ilott c Healy b Reiffel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

(26 min, 16 balls)

Extras (b4 lb6 nb7). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Total (366 min, 101.5 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .276

Fall: 1-17 (Gooch), 2-71 (Smith), 3-76 (Maynard), 4-156 (Stewart), 5-156 (Atherton),

6-160 (Hussain), 7-215 (Thorpe), 8-262 (Bicknell), 9-264 (Such).

Bowling: Hughes 19-4-53-0 (nb1) (6-2-9-0, 4-1-8-0, 3-1-6-0, 1-0-11-0, 5-0-19-0);

Reiffel 22.5-3-71-6 (nb5) (8-0-41-1, 8-2-20-2, 6.5-1-10-3); M Waugh 15-5-43-1 (nb3) (11-4- 30-1, 4-1-13-0); S Waugh 5-2-4-0 (one spell); May 19-9-32-2 (9-3-25-1, 10-6-7-1); Warne 21-7-63-1 (12-4-45-1, 8-2-18-0, 1-1-0-0).

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

M A Taylor run out (Maynard-Stewart). . . . . . . . . .19

(121 min, 80 balls, 2 fours)

M J Slater c Smith b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

(72 min, 60 balls, 4 fours)

D C Boon lbw b Emburey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(10 min, 13 balls)

M E Waugh c Thorpe b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

(240 min, 219 balls, 18 fours)

*A R Border c Hussain b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

(10 min, 9 balls)

S R Waugh c Stewart b Bicknell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59

(228 min, 175 balls, 6 fours)

I A Healy c Stewart b Bicknell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .80

(140 min, 107 balls, 11 fours)

M G Hughes b Bicknell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

(143 min, 102 balls, 2 fours, 1 six)

P R Reiffel b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

(108 min, 89 balls, 4 fours)

S K Warne c Stewart b Emburey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

(43 min, 30 balls, 1 four)

T B A May not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

(24 min, 17 balls)

Extras (b7 lb8 nb2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Total (577 min, 149.5 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408

Fall: 1-34 (Slater), 2-39 (Boon), 3-69 (Taylor), 4-80 (Border), 5-233 (M Waugh),

6-263 (S Waugh), 7-370 (Healy), 8-379 (Hughes), 9-398 (Warne).

Bowling: Bicknell 34-9-99-3 (nb2) (9-4-17- 0, 4-1-8-0, 3-0-21-0, 4-1-12-0, 5-0-24-1, 9-3-17- 2); Ilott 24-4-85-1 (5-2-14-0, 4-1-17-0,

4-0-18-1, 6-0-24-0, 5-1-12-0); Such 52.5-18- 90-3 (22-8-42-2, 1-0-1-0, 7-4-11-0, 8-2-17-0, 13-4-18-0, 1.5-0-1-1); Emburey 39-9-119-2 (12-2-36-1, 2-0-4-0, 7-2-23-0, 7-1-18-0, 1-0-3- 0, 5-0-31-0, 5-4-4-1).

ENGLAND - Second Innings

G A Gooch b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48

(179 min, 150 balls, 6 fours)

*M A Atherton c Border b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

(90 min, 66 balls, 3 fours)

R A Smith lbw b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

(68 min, 70 balls, 2 fours)

M P Maynard c Healy b May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

(13 min, 15 balls, 1 four)

] A J Stewart lbw b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

(22 min, 26 balls, 1 four)

G P Thorpe st Healy b Warne. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60

(234 min, 192 balls, 3 fours)

N Hussain c S Waugh b May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(4 min, 7 balls)

J E Emburey c Healy b May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

(200 min, 191 balls, 3 fours)

M P Bicknell c S Waugh b May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

(1 min, 2 balls)

P M Such not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

(51 min, 42 balls, 1 four)

M C Ilott b May. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

(45 min, 41 balls, 3 fours)

Extras (b11 lb9 nb2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

Total (461 min, 133.2 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .251

Fall: 1-60 (Atherton), 2-104 (Smith), 3-115 (Maynard), 4-115 (Gooch), 5-124 (Stewart), 6-125 (Hussain), 7-229 (Emburey), 8-229 (Bicknell), 9-229 (Thorpe).

Bowling: Hughes 18-7-24-0 (8-1-15-0, 6-3-7- 0, 4-3-2-0); Reiffel 11-2-30-0 (nb2) (6-1-18-0, 5-1-12-0); May 48.2-15-89-5 (38-8-78-2, 3-1- 5-0, 4-3-6-2, 3.2-3-0-1); Warne 49-23-82-5 (36-19-50-4, 4-0-10-0, 9-4-22-1); Border 2-1- 1-0; M Waugh 5-2-5-0 (one spell each).

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

(Overnight: 9 for 0)

M J Slater c Thorpe b Emburey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

(42 min, 41 balls, 1 four)

M A Taylor c Thorpe b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

(33 min, 24 balls)

D C Boon not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

(115 min, 109 balls, 7 fours)

M E Waugh not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62

(106 min, 87 balls, 6 fours, 1 six)

Extras (b3 lb5). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Total (for 2, 149 min, 43.3 overs). . . . . . . . . . .120

Fall: 1-12 (Taylor), 2-12 (Slater).

Bowling: Bicknell 3-0-9-0 (2-0-6-0, 1-0-3-0); Such 20.3-4-58-1 (12-2-29-1, 6-2-12-0, 2.3-0- 17-0); Emburey 18-4-31-1 (10-4-11-1, 5-0-17-0, 3-0-3-0); Ilott 2-0-14-0 (one spell).

Progress: Fourth day: Close: 9-0 (Slater 7, Taylor 2) in 6 overs. Fifth day: Rain delayed start until 11.15. 50: 83 min, 24.1 overs. Lunch: 95-2 (Boon 26, M Waugh 49) in 37 overs. 100: 130 min, 37.3 overs. Australia won at 1.58pm.

M Waugh's 50: 86 min, 71 balls, 5 fours,

1 six.

Australia won by 8 wickets.

Umpires: J H Hampshire and D R Shepherd.

TV replay umpire: A G T Whitehead.

Match referee: C H Lloyd.

Man of the match: M E Waugh.

Adjudicator: I M Chappell.

Mark Lawson, page 16

Unsung progress, County reports,

Scoreboard, page 28

(Photographs omitted)

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