Cricket: James leads by example

Northamptonshire 330 & 219 Glamorgan 354-6dec & 197-4 Glamorgan win by six wickets
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The Independent Online
It Is becoming increasingly difficult to keep Steve James out of the headlines these days and he was at it again yesterday, his second century of the match proving more than enough to guide Glamorgan to a convincing six-wicket win over Northamptonshire here.

It was James's third century in successive innings, following his 130 at Worcester on Monday and his 103 here on Thursday, and his seventh three- figure score of a season that had already seen him be the first batsman to reach both 1,000 and 1,500 runs.

When Glamorgan dismissed Northamptonshire for 219, they needed a modest 196 to win with a minimum of 71 overs at their disposal. It looked nothing more than a canter, but Northamptonshire would have harboured a few hopes of their own bearing in mind the injuries that made it unlikely either the opener Alun Evans or the captain Matthew Maynard would bat.

Those hopes quickly died. The wicketkeeper Adrian Shaw was elevated to open the batting with James and helped to put on 40 before he was caught.

James then took control of a sparkling second-wicket stand of 123 in 25 overs with Adrian Dale that rapidly took the game away from Northamptonshire. He reached his hundred off just 116 balls with 17 glorious boundaries driven, cut and pulled to all corners of the ground.

He lost Dale and Waqar Younis before falling leg before to Jason Brown for 113, bringing his aggregate for the season to 1,666. It is surely inconceivable that he can be overlooked for England's winter tour of the West Indies.

Northamptonshire, who resumed at 146 for 5 with a lead of 122, offered little resistance once the overnight sixth-wicket partnership between David Sales and David Ripley had been broken. The stand had reached 131 in 43 overs before Ripley, who reached his half-century off 110 balls, was trapped leg before on the back foot by Robert Croft for 58. His was the first of five wickets to fall for just 27 runs in seven overs.

Waqar, captaining the side in Maynard's absence, produced a lifter that took the shoulder of Paul Taylor's bat and looped to Shaw and he then held a smart catch at short mid-on offered by Mohammad Akram to give Croft his 50th first-class wicket of the season, a feat Waqar had achieved on Friday afternoon.

Sales completed a defiant century off 139 balls with a six and 12 fours, but could add only three more when he was caught off Waqar, who then bowled Brown to finish with match figures of 10 for 134, the 13th time in his career he has taken 10 wickets in a match.

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