Cricket: Franks delights in tourists' victory

By Brian McKenna in Palmerston North,
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The Independent Online
PAUL FRANKS was delighted with his five-wicket haul which helped England A defeat Central Districts by 95 runs here yesterday.

The Nottinghamshire fast-medium bowler was close to his best on a Palmerston North pitch ideally suited to his style of bowling as he took the wickets that helped to preserve England A's unbeaten run.

"I wasn't very pleased with the way I bowled in the first innings, but to come back in the second innings with figures like that was very pleasing," he said. "In the first innings I saw a green pitch and got a bit excited, ran in a bit quickly and got carried away. In the second innings I tethered it back a little and the reward was there. The pitch was helping the bowlers all the way through, but we bowled well and with discipline and I think that showed in all the figures of all the bowlers.

"It was the first time in New Zealand that we've seen a pitch that really favoured the bowlers. That is when the effort can over-ride the technique and little things go wrong. Before the second innings I had a chat with the coach, Martyn Moxon, and he said just relax and bowl. I feel as if it has been building up from the time we arrived in New Zealand. I bowled fairly well in the Test without a lot of reward, but that's the way it goes.

"The pitch was not the type we've been used to. Mike Gatting has been here before and said that the ball always goes through and that there would be a bit in it for the bowlers. Over the last few days they'd had some bad weather so understandably the pitch was going to suit the seamers. It was very satisfying to come out with a win."

It took the England A bowlers only 27.2 overs on the final morning to achieve what was, in the context of a low scoring match, a massive margin of victory. Franks needed only two balls to register the first success. The left-handed Jacob Oram drove into the covers where Chris Schofield took the catch. In the next over, Mark Douglas edged Alamgir Sheriyar to slip and Vikram Solanki held a low catch comfortably - Douglas appeared to get involved in an avoidable collision as he made for the pavilion.

The bowlers had to wait for sixteen overs before their next success but, when it eventually came, the outcome of the match was put beyond doubt by a tumble of wickets. Darren Thomas had Martyn Sigley caught by Mark Alleyne in the gully, then Schofield took a wicket in his first over of the match, trapping Campbell Furlong lbw. In the next over Thomas had Mike Mason caught at mid-off. The game ended when Emmett Craik - who did his best to ruin Thomas' figures with three streaky fours in as many balls - fell victim to the returning Franks.

Final day; Central Districts won toss

England A 132 and 186 (C P Schofield 74).

Central Districts First Innings - 111 (A Sheriyar 5-35)

Second Innings

(Overnight: 60 for 4)

M W Douglas c Solanki b Sheriyar 11

J D R Oram c Schofield b Franks 6

M A Sigley c Alleyne b Thomas 11

C J M Furlong lbw b Schofield 14

M J Mason c Davies b Thomas 6

L J Hamilton not out 0

E Craik c Solanki b Franks 18

Extras (lb6 nb2) 8

Total (51.2 overs) 112

Fall: 1-5 2-20 3-33 4-48 5-62 6-62 7-83 8-94 9-94.

Bowling: Franks 19.2-9-26-5; Sheriyar 15-5-39-2; Thomas 10-1-27-2; Alleyne 3-1-11-0; Schofield 4-3-3-1.

Umpires: R D Anderson and M George.