Cricket: James responds in typical style

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan 351-8 dec and forfeit v Nottinghamshire 31-2 dec

STEVE JAMES responded to rejection in the time-honoured fashion of discarded England batsmen yesterday, scoring his third century of the Championship season as bottom-of-the-table Nottinghamshire endured a day of toil at Trent Bridge.

The 30-year-old Glamorgan opener, long deserving of the opportunity that Mark Butcher's injury created for him in the second Test, learned on the way to the ground that he would not be required at Old Trafford.

"I had a call from David Graveney on my car phone," James said. "He said I was in the frame for the future but that they had decided on a right hander-left hander combination." Nick Knight is preferred in England's 13.

James, who also received a supportive fax from Michael Atherton, could not disguise his hurt. "I'm disappointed with the decision," he said. "I'm in good nick. I'm playing as well as I did last year." He made 1775 first-class runs last season and has 864 this year, enough to be forgiven for his 10 and 0 at Lord's.

Precisely 100 runs followed yesterday's phone call. Resuming on 21 after the 34 minutes play possible on Saturday - there had been none on Friday - he continued until he was caught behind off Kevin Evans in mid-afternoon.

James provided the platform from which the champions went on to achieve maximum batting points against a home attack lacking Paul Franks (injured) and Paul Strang (rested) and from which Andy Oram had to withdraw with rib muscle problems. Robert Croft added an unbeaten 63.

Glamorgan were missing the services of Waqar Younis, who may need surgery on a damaged elbow, but after Matthew Maynard's declaration Steve Watkin dislodged Mathew Dowman with his fifth ball and Adrian Dale removed Usman Afzaal before Nottinghamshire declared at 31-2 in reply. Glamorgan have forfeited their second innings, leaving the home side to chase 322 to win today.