Cricket: Extra grass aids Dale

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .125

Glamorgan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .194-7

PITCHES like this devalue the four-day Championship. Wet weather made its preparation difficult and extra grass was left on to prevent the dryness of the under-surface from breaking up.

Third-placed Glamorgan, bolstered by Adrian Dale's career-best 6 for 18, made Warwickshire appear to have a ragged staff. Dale, rightly tipped for the England A tour of South Africa next winter, fully emphasised his credentials.

Bowlers ruled, before Roland Lefebvre and Robert Croft more than doubled the previous highest partnership of the game with 83 in 17 overs for the seventh Glamorgan wicket.

Seventeen wickets crashed in the day and a few experienced batsmen reckoned they had not seen more green blades on any pitch in their careers.

The bounce was unpredictable and few played strokes with any confidence. That had been eroded by lifting balls which both wicketkeepers often took at full stretch. A few bowlers would have been made for this, notably Allan Donald, absent in readiness for South

Africa's tour of Sri Lanka, and his Warwickshire team-mate Tim Munton, suffering from a hip injury.

Steve Watkin could have been but spent two hours driving back from Edgbaston after Test omission. He arrived with Warwickshire 71 for 4, which swiftly became 71 for 6 when he held a lobbed catch at mid-off in his first over on the field.

Asif Din also had a far from routine day after returning to Warwickshire's Championship team after a 15-month absence. He retired hurt, having ricked his back when hooking Lefebvre but reappeared to be caught at second slip the ball after being struck on the finger.

He top-scored with 35 but Darren Thomas, aged 18, increased his wicket total to 35 in effectively eight and a half first-class games.