Cricket: Hundred up for local hero

DARREN GOUGH is confident England can claim the two wickets needed to win the fifth Test today and clinch a 2-1 series victory over South Africa.

Gough joined the Test- wicket century club as he took 5 for 36 to put England on the brink of victory in the decider at Headingley.

"It could go either way," said Gough. "But I've got to back my own ability - and the ability of Angus and Corky - to beat them. There's always a little bit there in the pitch. The trouble is that the ball went soft really quickly.

"But we kept going - bowlers and fielders - and hopefully tomorrow we can get two wickets.

Either side could have claimed the extra half hour - or eight overs - but Gough said: "We were always going to come off.

"The bowlers had worked hard and it's not the kind of pitch where you can just rock up there and bowl on a good length.

"You really have to hit the pitch hard to get anything out of the wicket, especially if the ball has gone soft."

Gough was delighted to have produced a potential match-winning performance at Headingley, where he has not always done himself justice in the past.

"Some people say I get carried away in front of my home crowd but I think I've proved a few people wrong today," he added.

"I've matured as a cricketer and I'm really pleased with today's performance. It's good to come good on my home ground and get us wickets at vital times."

DARREN GOUGH FACT FILE

Born: 18 Sept 1970 at Monk Bretton, near Barnsley.

Height: 5ft 11in.

Weight: 12st 8lb.

County: Yorkshire.

Role: Right-hand bat, right-arm fast bowler.

Family: Wife Anna-Marie and son Liam (born November 1994).

1988: Offered a contract by Yorkshire and YTS forms by Rotherham United FC, but chooses cricket.

1989: Takes five wickets on first-class debut v Middlesex at Lord's

1993: Wins county cap after claiming 7 for 42 v Somerset at Taunton.

1994: Test debut v New Zealand at Old Trafford. Scores Test best 65.

1995: Hits a quickfire half-century and claims 6 for 49 for England v Australia at Perth. Tour cut short with stress fracture in the foot. Injury repeated as misses half the series v West Indies.

1996: Overlooked for Test series against India and Pakistan, recalled for winter tours to Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

1997: England's most successful bowler in the opening three Tests v Australia with 16 wickets but ruled out for rest of series with inflamed left knee. Hamstring strain then forces withdrawal from England's winter tour of the Caribbean.

1998: England's man of the series in Texaco Trophy v South Africa. Breaks index finger on right hand fending off short-pitched ball from Allan Donald in first Test and misses second Test.Takes 5 for 36, including his 100th Test wicket, as England and South Africa battle for victory in fifth Test at Headingley.

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