Cricket: Greatbatch and Crowe provide mixed news for Kiwis

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .424-9 dec

New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .210 and 59-1

THE good news for New Zealand is that Mark Greatbatch made runs here yesterday; the not so good was that Martin Crowe was taken ill with a flu-type virus while the rest of their batting contrived to founder on a good pitch against Derbyshire's below-strength attack. They followed on 214 behind.

Crowe, who had been off the field feeling unwell, faced only two balls before deciding he could not continue. With Thursday's Test looming it was clearly a wise precautionary measure.

Greatbatch's hard-earned 84, from 147 balls, could give the tourists an extra option for Old Trafford, especially with Blair Pocock, who opened at Lord's, being ruled out of the rest of the tour through injury.

It is a moot point. At times he banged the slower bowlers back over the top as of yore. But there were other moments when he found the middle of the bat elusive, plus an uncertainty against the short-pitched ball which Derbyshire were not slow to work on.

All this was with an attack minus Devon Malcolm and Phil DeFreitas, which made Derbyshire's decision to bat on look highly ambitious at the time. However, it allowed a sizeable crowd their first glimpse of Matthew Cassar, a 21-year-old Australian all-rounder who is qualifying for the county via English parentage and is apparently much coveted elsewhere.

It was not hard to see why. He burst on to the local league scene last year with almost 1,000 runs at 49 and 119 wickets at only eight apiece. He made a half-century on his first-class debut with much aplomb and was sharp enough with the ball to make Greatbatch and one or two others hurry their shots.

But it was Simon Base, with a tight off-stump line, who picked up the rewards. A cricketing curio, perhaps, were three catches held by the substitute Timothy Tweets.