Cricket: Gooch slams century

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The Independent Online
GRAHAM GOOCH marked his 100th appearance in the Benson and Hedges Cup by hitting a sparkling 153-ball innings of 130 to steer Essex to an eight-wicket victory over Leicestershire at Chelmsford yesterday, writes Mark Burton.

The former England captain made light of chasing Leicestershire's 241 for 9 after the visitors had opted to bat first in the second- round match. Gooch's 12th hundred in the competition, including a six and 17 fours, carried his aggregate of runs beyond 4,500 from his 99 innings and earned him his 21st man-of-the-match award.

When 52, he gave his only chance, appropriately enough to Phil Simmons. Earlier he had himself dropped the West Indian opener, who went on to contribute 59 to Leicestershire's inadequate total. Once Nasser Hussain, who scored 59 off 64 balls, had joined Gooch, Leicestershire's hopes of progressing faded fast.

Hussain, like Gooch, harbours hopes of recapturing his England place this summer. If he does, he could find himself batting with Graeme Hick, who took Worcestershire to an eight-wicket victory over Durham with a century at Stockton. Hick finished unbeaten on 104, off 135 balls and included 12 fours, as his side breezed past a Durham total that. They were restricted to 190 for 8 by tight, effective bowling by Phil Newport, who took 3 for 14 off his allotted 11 overs.

Tim Robinson helped Nottinghamshire sustain their encouraging start to the season by steering them into the quarter-finals with a match-winning 91 not out against Sussex at Trent Bridge. The former England opener shared in partnerships of 163 with West Indian Jimmy Adams and 65 with Paul Johnson as Nottinghamshire won with 34 balls to spare.

Allan Border obliged the Australian Cricket Board to delay naming a squad to tour Pakistan in September as their 38-year-old captain missed his self-imposed deadline for a decision on his playing future.

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