Cricket: Fluent Randall shows the way

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Worcestershire ........162 Nottinghamshire .....219-5

AFTER the five Botham years, of flashbulbs and all-ticket matches, New Road has returned to that original tranquillity when prebends fancied the occasional game. The Severn Bar did not have to be opened yesterday, for want of custom; a spectator could have to himself as many rows of green bucket seats as he wanted.

To generate some excitement, and to set the blood of visiting batsmen coursing, Worcestershire plan to import a West Indian fast bowler next season. He will be either the Antiguan Kenneth Benjamin or Anderson Cummins of Barbados - whoever is less exhausted by the West Indian tour of Australia, and their home series against Pakistan, which should resolve the world champions of Test cricket.

Yesterday Worcestershire lost a pace bowler when Neal Radford went home, after four overs, to nurse a chest infection. But in the absence of Radford, and Graham Dilley, and Cummins or Benjamin, the remaining seamers did adequately: it was their batsmen who let the side down, by being bowled out on a slow if uneven pitch for 162.

In snuffing out the last Worcestershire batsmen, Chris Cairns took his season's wickets to 49, at nearly 35 runs each, an average which does not faithfully reflect this 22-year-old's ability. Then, with a day and a half lost, Nottinghamshire set about winning the hard way, by batting on and bowling Worcestershire out a second time, without any of that declaration stuff.

Nottinghamshire lost wickets a little too frequently, and did not find the ball coming on to their Gunn and Moores. Only Derek Randall found fluency, and he spent an hour after tea in scoring four runs. As skittish as ever - one reverse sweep must have gone through his stumps - he used his feet to reach the first 50 of the match, and, with Cairns, gave Nottinghamshire the kind of lead they sought.

Paul Taylor returned the best match figures of his career as Northamptonshire beat Middlesex at Northampton by an innings and three runs with a day to spare yesterday. Taylor picked up 5 for 30, giving him 10 for 54, as Middlesex were shot out for 105.

Andrew Caddick, Somerset's young pace bowler, took five wickets, including three in four balls, against Derbyshire at Derby yesterday. Derbyshire recovered however, Dominic Cork (27) and Karl Krikken (34 not out) taking them to a third batting point as they finished on 296 for 9.