England win by 42 runs
THE one-day international is not exactly cricket's equivalent of selling fridges to Eskimos and not even a side as anonymous and untouted as New Zealand could prevent a full-house crowd from turning up here yesterday. For the spectators, though, it was a match in which goosepimples had a good deal more to do with the weather than unbearable tension.
Test match ticket sales, a more reliable barometer of interest, are contrastingly sluggish for visitors short on recognisable personalities (if Lord Lucan wanted to pop back to England for a couple of months, he would be more or less safe from detection in the Kiwi middle order) and New Zealand's prospects of raising their profile with a victory in the first Texaco Trophy match never threatened to materialise.
Even New Zealand's pen pictures are self-effacing (eg. Dion Nash: 'perhaps short on cricketing skills . . .') and yesterday's 42-run defeat in a low-octane Texaco Trophy match owed much to the contributions, or lack of them, from the only three players with any real charisma. Martin Crowe and Ken Rutherford made no runs between them in eight balls, and Danny Morrison bowled only half a dozen overs before limping off with a hamstring strain.
From England's point of view, however, their first outing under the new chairman of selectors bore all the efficiency of Ray Illingworth in his playing days, and even more hearteningly, given the relative emptiness of the fast bowling cupboard, Darren Gough turned in a performance that marked him as a potential wicket- taker in Test cricket as well as an effective one-day performer.
As recently as last summer, a decent batsmen on a true surface might not have considered a helmet an essential accessory against Gough, but the 23-year-old Yorkshireman has developed enough pace since then to make the best of them hop around. He also moves the ball, and the rapid inswinging yorker which rattled into the base of Bryan Young's off stump and removed New Zealand's top scorer yesterday, was reminiscent of Waqar Younis.
It was a good pitch to bowl on - offering movement for the seamers and turn for the spinners - which in one-day cricket represents a pretty poor pitch in terms of promoting entertainment. England's 224 was much better than it appeared, and while New Zealand's attempt to overhaul it was not helped by the Stygian gloom, it was their own fault for inserting England in the first place.
Michael Atherton underpinned an England effort otherwise notable for the fact that a side deliberately packed with players who could bat went the same way as most of this type, with everyone contributing a few, perhaps lacking the motivational influence that a longish tail can provide.
If Atherton was understandably puzzled about being adjudged a non one-day batsman after winning the man of the series award against the West Indies in 1991, he has made a serious statement on the subject since being able to pick himself rather than rely on the whims of others. During the winter series he made 86, 46, 19 not out, 41 and 51, and yesterday's 81 was only ended by Crowe's direct hit run-out.
No one else made much of a contribution. Robin Smith was out in familiar fashion, caught behind
after a painful struggle against spin, while Gooch, recalled only after promising to tour Australia, fell to a good one from the same bowler - Shane Thomson - for 24. Gooch was an unarguable pick on current form, but having presumably backed the argument against Atherton during his period of captaincy, the fact remains that Gooch has failed to pass 50 in 30 of his last 35 one-day internationals.
Whether England would have made 224 without Morrison adding a hamstring to the groin injury he started the tour with, is hard to say, but New Zealand have won a good many of these contests on the back of apparently innocuous medium pace, and Chris Pringle tried hard to help them to another one with his best return (5 for 45) in 49 one- day internationals.
However, when Crowe was out to a stroke unworthy of a batsman of his class, carving Gough's sixth delivery to Alec Stewart at slip, New Zealand were always up against it, and with Shaun Udal also bowling well on his international debut, England's control did not waver despite a series of lapses in the field.
Chris Lewis, an unfamiliar sight with a new sprouting of hair, also bowled with a vigour rarely seen in the Caribbean, and the irrelevance of a last-wicket partnership of 30 was such that the sight of Morrison hobbling with a runner verged less on the heroic than the crackpot.
(New Zealand won toss)
* M A Atherton run out (Crowe). . . . . 81 (159 min, 137 balls, 8 fours) A J Stewart c Nash b Pringle. . . . . . 24 (38 min, 30 balls, 2 fours) R A Smith c Parore b Thomson. . . . . . 15 (51 min, 38 balls, 1 four) G A Gooch b Thomson. . . . . . . . . . 23 (46 min, 40 balls, 1 four) G A Hick b Pringle. . . . . . . . . . . 18 (39 min, 32 balls, 1 four) D A Reeve c Fleming b Pringle. . . . . .16 (32 min, 26 balls) S J Rhodes c Thomson b Pringle. . . . . 12 (16 min, 13 balls, 1 six) C C Lewis b Pringle. . . . . . . . . . .19 (13 min, 10 balls, 3 fours) S D Udal not out. . . . . . . . . . . . .3 (11 min, 4 balls) Extras (b1 lb5 w7). . . . . . . . . . . 13 Total (for 8, 207 min, 55 overs). . . 224
Fall: 1-33 (Stewart), 2-84 (Smith), 3-140 (Gooch), 4-161 (Atherton), 5-180 (Hick), 6-199 (Reeve), 7-199 (Rhodes), 8-224 (Lewis).
Did not bat: D Gough, A R C Fraser.
Bowling: Morrison 6-0-31-0 (w1) (3-0-20-0, 3-0- 11-0); Pringle 11-1-45-5 (w1) (5-1-13-1, 6-0-32-4); Nash 6-1-20-0 (w1) (5-1-10-0, 1-0-10-0); Larsen
10-1-43-0 (5-1-21-0, 5-0-22-0); Hart 11-0-45-0 (w2) (6-0-23-0, 5-0-22-0), Thomson 11-0-34-0 (w2) (one spell).
Progress: 50: 62min, 91 balls. 100: 105 min, 167 balls. Lunch: 139-2 (Atherton 68, Gooch 23) 37 overs. 150: 148 min, 245 balls. 200: 196 min, 316 balls.
Atherton 50: 107 min, 89 balls, 6 fours.
B A Young b Gough. . . . . . . . . . . . 65 (148 min, 114 balls, 4 fours) M D Crowe c Stewart b Gough. . . . . . . .0 (7 min, 3 balls) A C Parore b Udal. . . . . . . . . . . . 42 (72 min, 65 balls, 4 fours) * K R Rutherford lbw b Udal. . . . . . . .0 (9 min, 5 balls) S P Fleming c and b Hick. . . . . . . . .17 (32 min, 28 balls, 2 fours) S A Thomson c Lewis b Hick. . . . . . . . 7 (28 min, 25 balls) G R Larsen c and Lewis. . . . . . . . . .13 (24 min, 20 balls, 1 four, 1 six) D J Nash b Lewis. . . . . . . . . . . . . 0 (2 min, 2 balls) M N Hart c Stewart b Lewis. . . . . . . .13 (49 min, 28 balls, 1 four) C Pringle c Hick b Fraser. . . . . . . . .3 (4 min, 3 balls) D K Morrison not out. . . . . . . . . . .17 (26 min, 24 balls, 1 four) Extras (lb4 w1). . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Total (206.6 min, 52.5 overs). . . . . .182
Fall: 1-2 (Crowe), 2-78 (Parore), 3-81 (Rutherford), 4-110 (Fleming), 5-134 (Young), 6-136 (Thomson), 7-136 (Nash), 8-149 (Larsen), 9-152 (Pringle).
Bowling: Fraser 10-0-37-1 (7-0-25-0, 3-0-12-1); Gough 11-1-36-2 (6-1-17-1, 3-0-7-1, 2-0-12-0); Udal 11-0-39-2; Reeve 4-0-15-0 (one spell each); Lewis 9.5-2-20-3 (5-1-11-0, 4-1-6-2, 0.5-0-3-1); Hick
7-0-31-2 (one spell).
Progress: 50: 61 min, 93 balls. Tea: 84-3 (Young 41, Fleming 0) 25 overs. 100: 113 min, 180 balls. 150: 175 min, 275 balls. Young 50: 129 min, 96 balls, 3 fours.
Umpires: R Palmer and N T Plews.
Man of the match: M A Atherton.