Cricket: Haynes takes initiative

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The Independent Online
Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .331 and 315-7 dec

Worcestershire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .285 and 385-5

Worcestershire win by five wickets

NOT TOO often do Worcestershire do any favours for their neighbours and rivals, Warwickshire. Yesterday, though, they introduced a hiccup into Nottinghamshire's run of success at the top of the table by making the 362 they needed with some style and with seven of their 105 overs to spare.

The pitch was flat - very flat - and Nottinghamshire knew it when they declared overnight after wondering whether they should bat on a little. They also knew that Tim Curtis, who had got out first ball earlier, would take some digging out and his unbeaten 118 from 295 balls was the cornerstone of Worcestershire's success.

What they had not planned on was Gavin Haynes's innings of 141 from 143 balls - a powerful, uninhibited and positive exhibition which did much to ensure that Worcestershire did not lose their way after two early wickets fell.

Haynes is only 24 and learned his cricket in the Birmingham League, a tough old-fashioned school. He began by taking four successive fours off Greg Mike, needed only a couple of pieces of luck and although he has made more in a Championship innings (158 against Kent last year) it is hard to believe he could have played better.

With Andy Pick operating at half pace because of injury and the inexperienced Jim Hindson carrying the main spin burden, Nottinghamshire badly needed a break but never got one, most notably when Haynes, in his 50s, survived an awkward gloved chance to the wicketkeeper down the leg side, and in his 80s when he almost fell to a half-check to drive at mid-on.

Curtis, though surviving an lbw shout against Chris Lewis's slower ball at 41, never offered them a glimmer of hope. He sat back and admired Haynes's stroke play to such an extent that he made only 49 of their 200 in 47 overs.

By the time Haynes was lbw, playing less than straight for once, Tim Robinson had exploited all his options more than once.

This pitch was so sound that even the bowlers' footmarks offered little help for the spinners and when the last hour arrived with 68 required, Damien D'Oliviera sailed ruthlessly into young Hindson and made 48 from 62 balls in a manner very reminiscent of D'Oliviera Snr.