Cricket: Gallian is game middle man

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The Independent Online
Jason Gallian responded with another dead bat when asked whether England have got the measure of the unorthodox South Africa spinner, Paul Adams. The answer may well decide whether England - 40 for 1 against South Africa's 428 all out -avoid defeat in the fourth Test in Port Elizabeth, but Gallian was not prepared to put his neck on the block.

"We will find out tomorrow," said the Lancashire batsman who, with the England captain, Mike Atherton, managed to keep Adams at bay for seven overs late on the second evening. Gallian showed mounting confidence as he tackled the 18-year-old debutant, clipping him for two boundaries having earlier settled for watchful defence.

"I was a bit nervous when I walked out to bat, but playing Test cricket is a big challenge and I enjoyed it," said Gallian, who only arrived in South Africa last week to replace John Crawley.

"We've certainly got a hard fight ahead of us," Gallian added. "But it is a good batting pitch and if we can get a stack of runs we can get back at them."

When England bowl again, they will be without Mark Ilott. The left-arm paceman limped off in mid-afternoon. "He has strained a muscle in the middle of his left thigh," John Barclay, the assistant manager, said.

"Like all injuries it will be easier to tell how bad it is after 24 hours. But there is obviously a doubt about his participation in the second innings."

South Africa's Dave Richardson praised Adams' endeavours. "We might have relied a bit too much on Paul for a breakthrough at the end. The ball was probably too hard and shiny for him to grip properly, which made it skid through... it's an interesting prospect and a great challenge wicketkeeping to him."

Meanwhile, England's one-day specialists, Neil Fairbrother, Dermot Reeve and Neil Smith, have arrived in South Africa and will be joined on Saturday by Craig White and Philip DeFreitas. The seven-match one-day series between the two countries begins in Cape Town on 9 January. England's chances of winning the current Test are now put at 33-1 with the draw the favourite at 2-5 and South Africa at 7-4. The series stands at 0-0.

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