Cricket / First Test: Debut is Such pleasure

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The Independent Online
SEEING an off-spinner turn the ball at Old Trafford must send a shudder through the Australian national psyche. Peter Such would be embarrassed by comparisons with Jim Laker but there were a few here who could still remember Australia wriggling, on the hook, in 1956. There will be no repeat of that debacle because pitches are covered but the Essex bowler, once discarded by Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, gave the English crowd a great cheer.

Such knew on Wednesday night that he would be bowling on a saturated surface that was expected to prove difficult for batting. 'The pitch didn't do as much as we expected but I was able to get a little turn later on as it dried and I loosened up. I got more response when I changed ends (to Warwick Road).

'It was a pleasure to bowl with Tuffers, two spinners in tandem help each other. I was happy to get the one wicket; to get two more was a bonus. I'm just happy to be here and playing.'

Australia's vice-captain Mark Taylor, who woke to headlines of 'Taylor Out', quipped: 'I thought, gee, they're soon getting after me.

'We all agreed that the pitch would do more, take seam and spin. Allan (Border) had already decided to bowl and when the first ball broke the surface I thought we were in trouble.

'But until late on, when the spinners got England back into the game, it played pretty well. It could roll out a good track after it has dried but the footmarks will still be there and we hope it will keep turning. I can't see it breaking up.'

Of the opening partnership of 120 with his New South Wales team-mate, Michael Slater, he said: 'I've known him about 15 years but we've not played together that many times. He's such a good player he doesn't need much advice from me. We set little targets, 25 runs, 50, 75 and so on and it went pretty well.'

Taylor spent a year with Greenmount in the Bolton League before his dramatic debut at Leeds in 1989. Slater's father played for Lancashire League club Rawtenstall before the family emigrated, and an uncle was the club president. Matthew Hayden, who might have opened in place of Slater, was with Greenmount last year.