Cricket / Fifth Test: Emburey exposes England's failures: Batsmen's collapse leaves the new captain staring at familiar defeat as Warne weaves his magic to enter the record books

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

Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .408 and 9-0

THERE have been various theories advanced for the mildly disappointing performances of the England team during a sequence of what is about to become, barring miracle or monsoon, nine defeats in their last 10 Test matches. The one that has so far remained unpromoted by those in charge, but possibly deserves consideration, is that they are completely hopeless.

Individually, there is no shortage of talent, but just as Graham Gooch aged visibly at his failure to translate it into any tangible form of achievement, so Michael Atherton has discovered that a fresh face has not produced much more spark than a drooping moustache.

The height of England's success in this series has been in managing to take each match into the advertised fifth day, although the way they achieved this yesterday was a perfect illustration of just how inept they have become. On a pitch that should not have caused undue bother to international batsmen prepared to graft, England are set for their 12th defeat in their last 18 Tests against Australia (0 wins) despite the fact that their No 8 has batted for the equivalent of a full day's play.

John Emburey, whistled up as a bowler when England's think tank omitted to find out what sort of pitch they would be playing on before they picked their team, scored 93 runs in two innings (once out) and yesterday held out for 200 minutes in a partnership with Graham Thorpe that produced 104 runs.

Unfortunately for England, the previous five of their nine remaining second-innings wickets yesterday morning had disappeared to the Australian spinners for 21 runs in the space of 43 minutes, and Emburey's dismissal was the first of the next three to evaporate without a run being added. England's last pair then batted for 14 overs, which was a comment in itself on the so-called proper batsmen.

For the first time this summer, England's second innings failed to achieve the none too difficult objective of improving upon the first, and Australia were left to make 120 to take the identical scoreline that they took with them to the Oval (4-0) in 1989. In the final 20 minutes last night, Australia made nine without loss, and unless they have now grown a bit tired of spraying champagne from the balcony, this familiar ceremony will not be delayed much beyond lunchtime today.

Australia's first-innings lead of 132 more or less represented Mark Waugh's exhilarating contribution, and the tourists' appetite for English bowling has been so gargantuan this summer that they have rattled up no less than 28 first-class centuries on tour. Ten of those have come in five Tests (which is two more than Bradman's 1948 side managed) and England have simply been buried under the mountain of runs.

Their major hope of making a fight of it yesterday once again rested largely on Gooch, but having grafted away for 50 minutes in adding only four more to his overnight 44, the former captain was dismissed by a delivery from Shane Warne almost as remarkable as the one with which he dispatched Mike Gatting at Old Trafford.

Bowling from around the wicket, and so wide that he was almost on the return crease, Warne landed one a good two feet outside Gooch's leg stump, and somehow got it to hit middle and leg. The phrase 'turning square' is usually one of deliberate exaggeration, but in Warne's case, it is very nearly a literal expression.

First to go yesterday, after England had moved from 89 for 1 overnight to 104 for 1, was Robin Smith, who once again batted against the spinners as though he had breakfasted on 10 pints of Old Peculiar. The ball from Warne to which he was adjudged lbw was probably missing off stump, but never has an upraised finger represented so thoroughly an act of euthanasia. It's a peculiar old game, and Smith can hardly wait for trampoline pitches in the Caribbean, and few around the nostrils from Curtly Ambrose.

Matthew Maynard came close to recording a pair when he got off the mark with an aerial on-side prod, but soon thin-edged Tim May to the wicketkeeper, and Alec Stewart, lbw to Warne, will always be a candidate for that form of dismissal while he plays the spinners more with his pads than his bat.

Nasser Hussain was caught off bat and pad at silly point, second ball, and at 125 for 6, 40 minutes before lunch, still nine runs short of making Australia bat again, the odds on England surviving much beyond tea looked pretty remote. Then came Thorpe, whose candidature for a senior tour this winter after four consecutive excursions with the A tour looks ever more impressive, and Emburey, who even at 40 is not completely without hope of making it.

Thorpe made his 60 with an impeccably solid technique, while Emburey, as ever, drove the Australian spinners potty with a technique apparently honed inside a broom cupboard. There is no backlift to speak of, and what unnerves the bowler most is the sight of Emburey already playing his shot - mostly the forward prod - before he has let go of the ball.

He lived by the nurdle, and finally died by it, poking a catch to Ian Healy behind the wicket, but only after Australia had vainly resorted to the new ball in an effort to get rid of him, and it was May (he and Warne both took five wickets) who effectively finished off England by dismissing Emburey and Martin Bicknell with the first two deliveries he bowled after switching to the pavilion end.

In the next over from Warne, Thorpe danced down the pitch attempting to hit the leg spinner over the top. Why as the one remaining senior batsman, on 60 not out, he was not looking for a single at best to farm the strike, only he can say, and only added to England's reputation for having few peers in the numbskull department.

FIFTH CORNHILL TEST SCOREBOARD

(England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings 276 (M A Atherton 72,

J E Emburey 55no; P R Reiffel 6-71).

AUSTRALIA - First Innings

(Friday close: 258 for 5)

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 cont: 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).

Progress: Second day: 50: 103 min, 26.4 overs. Lunch: 52-2 (Taylor 17, M Waugh 9) in 28 overs. 100: 159 min, 42.5 overs. 150: 228 min, 62 overs. Tea: 153-4 (M Waugh 84, S Waugh 21) 63 overs. 200: 286 min, 78.4 overs. New ball: 223-4 after 85 overs. 250: 344 min, 91.2 overs. Close: 258-5 (S Waugh 57, Healy 12) in 93 overs. Third day: 300: 396 min, 104.5 overs. 350: 449 mins, 117.3 overs. Lunch: 370-7 (Hughes 34, Reiffel 9) 93 overs. 400: 557 min, 143.3 overs. Innings closed: 3.27pm (early tea taken).

S Waugh 50: 204 min, 152 balls, 5 fours.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

(Overnight: 89 for 1)

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 (b 11,lb 9,nb 2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .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),

10-251 (Ilott).

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).

Progress: Third day: 50: 74 min, 18 overs. Close: 89-1 (Gooch 44, Smith 7) in 36 overs. Fourth day: 100: 157 mins, 43.5 overs. 150: 255 mins, 74 overs. Lunch: 153- 6 (Thorpe 23, Emburey 6) in 74 overs. New ball taken at 177-6 after 88.2 overs. 200: in 351 min, 100 overs. Tea: 216-6 (Thorpe 54, Emburey 30) in 108 overs. 250: 457 min, 132.2 overs. Innings closed at 5.27pm.

Thorpe 50: 185 min, 144 balls, 3 fours.

AUSTRALIA - Second Innings

M J Slater not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

(23 min, 22 balls, 1 four)

M A Taylor not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

(23 min, 14 balls)

Total (23 min, 6 overs). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Bowling: Bicknell 2-0-6-0; Such 3-1-3-0; Emburey 1-1-0-0.

Umpires: J H Hampshire and D R Shepherd.

TV Replay Umpire: A G T Whitehead.

Match Referee: C H Lloyd.

(Photograph omitted)

Sunday league reports,

Scoreboard, page 22

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