Cricket: Haynes steps into the breach

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The Independent Online
Middlesex 267 and 368-4; Glamorgan 285

IF ANYONE had the power to turn the match it was Mike Gatting. But, run out on 73 when he had mastered the Glamorgan attack in Middlesex's first innings, he surrendered his wicket yesterday when again firmly in the driving seat. This match had been looking for a batsman to put some distance between the two sides, but it was only when Gatting had gone that Desmond Haynes established himself as the man for the job with a magnificent century.

This was the second successive Saturday that Haynes had hit the hundred mark. Last week, he set the jaws dropping at Uxbridge with some stunning strokeplay against Essex, and yesterday he had Lord's gripped in admiration for the same stuff. His stroke of the day was a reverse sweep to Stephen Barwick which raced for four, played with such fluency that there was none of the awkwardness that traditionally marks the shot. Unfortunately, he was so taken with it that he tried the same four overs later and was out leg before .

What Haynes achieved in 279 minutes was to swing this match firmly in Middlesex's favour. Glamorgan's tail - the two wickets left of it - had taken only half an hour to finish off and Middlesex started their second innings with an 18-run deficit. Haynes's uncertain start gave no indication of what was to come, but after Mike Roseberry's early departure came Gatting's arrival and with it the sort of authoritative batting that signified an intention to hang around most of the day.

Gatting's and Haynes's partnership was effective - Gatting blocking, Haynes too hesitant to offer many shots at all - but so slow and the boredom level so high that the Glamorgan seamers were eventually dulled into delivering the sort of fare the batsmen could attack. Gatting found his feet somewhat quicker and stepped up the pace after lunch, plundering both Ottis Gibson and Barwick in the arc between third man and extra cover, where he is so strong. It was this favourite shot of Gatting's, however, that proved his undoing. He stepped outside a straight one from Barwick that kept low and turned to see his bails flying. Having played second fiddle to his skipper, Haynes now took charge and after grinding to his 50 in 121 balls he hit the second part of his century in just 53. John Carr joined him for most of the ride and, though showing little of his partner's flourish, carried on the work when Haynes was gone for 134, moving on to 78 not out.

As a result of their exploits, Glamorgan have a daunting total to chase tomorrow. A year ago, when they were second in the championship, you might have backed them to do it. Not so now that they are bottom.