Cricket: Ilott takes five but Test is laid to rest: 'A' team sign off as Australia strike back

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South Africa A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .357 and 221

England A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .329 and 126-4

Match drawn

MARK ILOTT did his best to revive the A Test here yesterday but even Dr Frankenstein and the National Grid combined could not have brought its moribund corpse to life and, after a brief tremor, England's final tour match died peacefully on its featherbed.

Ilott took five wickets in 34 balls before lunch to earn England a victory target of 250 in what became 69 overs. It was never going to be easy on a pitch slower than the tortoise in England's hotel and when the first three wickets went for 43, the run chase regressed to a similar speed. It became an exercise in futility and when the charade was abandoned nine overs early, the tourists were still 126 short.

The crucial wicket was the third, that of John Crawley, who chipped Meyrick Pringle into Jimmy Cook's arms first ball after he had stationed himself at short mid-wicket. It was a poor bit of batting and served to remind that, for all his talent, Crawley is not the finished article and ought not be burdened with unfair expectations when he makes his Test debut.

One man who was, and has never recovered, is Mark Lathwell and his final innings was as brief as most of the previous dozen, being leg before to a well disguised slower ball in the sixth over. He has ended the tour with 215 runs - 83 of them in his first innings - at less than 18 and is badly in need of recuperation at Somerset, whose coach, Bob Cottam, must be nervously following Andy Caddick's progress in the Caribbean.

Hugh Morris was the other early wicket, bowled playing back to one that kept low, and Alan Wells and Mal Loye were left to ensure defeat was avoided. Since they are the most in-form batsmen at present that was easily done, Loye even opening up to hit the second and third balls after tea for six and four. He was finally out hooking, his luck with the shot finally running out.

Wells, having made 45 in 48 overs, was unbeaten at the end and, having made 300 runs on it for twice out (once genuinely) promptly enquired of British Airways if the St George's pitch would count as excess luggage on the flight home.

South Africa had opened at 156 for 3 but, with Gough and Ilott bowling unchanged, were dismissed 90 minutes later having fallen about 25 short of their intended declaration total.

Ilott, running in as enthusiastically and successfully as he did in the opening game with Transvaal two months ago, took his match figures to 9 for 114. His first victim yesterday was Rudolf Steyn, whose dismissal for 69 was one of three succesive batsmen caught driving to mid-on - an indication of the low bounce of the pitch.

Adrian Kuiper, already dropped there by Robert Croft off Ilott, fell to Gough, and Steve Palframen to an agile catch by Peter Such. Gough gained instant revenge for being swung for six over mid- wicket by Derek Crookes, then Ilott wrapped up the tail with the simple but under-rated practice of bowling full and staight. His last four wicket cost eight runs in 19 balls.

'There was a chance of winning,' Morris said, 'but if it had been a NatWest match on that pitch 250 would have been a tall order. We needed a good start which we did not get.'

(Final day; South Africa A won toss)

SOUTH AFRICA A - First Innings 357 (E O Simons 88, G F J Liebenberg 79; M C Ilott 4-71).

ENGLAND A - First Innings 329 (A P Wells 130, M B Loye 51).

SOUTH AFRICA A - Second Innings

(Overnight: 156 for 3)

P J R Steyn c Such b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 A P Kuiper c Loye b Gough. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 E O Simons lbw b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 ] S J Palframan c Such b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 D N Crookes lbw b Gough. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 M W Pringle not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 C E Eksteen b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 A Martyn b Ilott. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Extras (b2 lb6). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221

Fall (cont): 4-184 5-193 6-196 7-205 8-207 9-221.

Bowling: Ilott 20.3-6-43-5; Gough 23-4-81- 5; Dale 13-3-31-0; Such 10-1-30-0; Croft 9-3- 28-0.

ENGLAND A - Second Innings

M N Lathwell lbw b Martyn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 * H Morris b Martyn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 J P Crawley c Cook b Pringle. . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 A P Wells not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 M B Loye c Simons b Martyn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 A Dale not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0 Extras (b1 lb2 nb2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Total (for 4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

Fall: 1-15 2-24 3-43 4-124.

Did not bat: S J Rhodes, R D B Croft, D Gough, M C Ilott, P M Such.

Bowling: Pringle 8-1-17-1; Martyn 15-6-23- 3; Eksteen 19-8-28-0; Simons 5-0-16-0; Crookes 9-0-27-0; Kuiper 4-1-12-0.

Umpires: C Mitchley and B Lambson.

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