Cricket: Headley apologises to Atherton

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The Independent Online
Dean Headley, the Kent fast bowler, yesterday apologised to Michael Atherton for remarks he made in Adelaide earlier this week which upset the England captain.

Headley, the undisputed star of the England A tour after his career-best 11 for 98 secured a stunning victory over South Australia, claimed that Atherton had disputed his ability to bowl an outswinger - despite proving to the contrary in his performance against the Sheffield Shield holders.

Atherton is believed to have been infuriated by the remark and indicated his displeasure to the England A tour manager, David Graveney, who confirmed: "There was a reaction from London, but Dean has not been forced to make an apology. Dean is understandably upset but he realises the wrong message has been sent and that has been relayed by me to Athers."

Headley, rested from the present match against the Australian Cricket Academy in Mount Gambier, watched his team-mates claim a 14-run first- innings lead yesterday - after suffering an alarming mid-order collapse which looked certain to leave them facing a deficit. Beginning their second innings after bowling out the Academy for 258, they had to wait after rain washed out nearly two hours of play. Mark Butcher again impressed with 81 while Michael Vaughan contributed 40, his best score of the tour so far, before the teenage paceman Don Nash claimed seven for 66 as England lost six wickets for 19 runs in 10 overs.

Adam Hollioake, the captain, inspired a late recovery and added 66 with Andrew Harris for the ninth wicket as England were dismissed for 272.

The West Indies suffered a demoralising batting collapse ahead of this week's First Test and were in danger of being made to bat again in the four-day match against an Australia XI at Bellerive Oval in Hobart.

The West Indies were struggling at 82 for four at the close on the second day after Australia XI captain Stuart Law declared at a massive 544 for four.

The touring side's collapse followed a savaging at the hands of the openers Matthew Hayden, who scored 224, and Matthew Elliott, who bludgeoned 158.

Hayden and Elliott, both pushing for inclusion in the First Test in Brisbane on Friday, put their side in a seemingly unbeatable position with an opening partnership of 323, a first-class record for matches in Hobart.

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