Cricket: Johnson claims perfect ten

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire 344 and 105

Middlesex 545

Middx win by innings and 96 runs

RICHARD JOHNSON does not like Brian Lara hogging all the limelight. The teenager joined in this year of records by becoming the first bowler to take all 10 wickets in a Championship game for 30 years.

Earlier in the 19-year-old's first full season, he halted Lara's record-breaking run of centuries. Yesterday he demolished Derbyshire with an astonishing spell of controlled penetration. It was the first 'full house' since Ian Thomson of Sussex bowled out Warwickshire in 1964.

Johnson's rhythmic run-up, smooth action and follow- through have obeyed the textbook to the letter and have earned him an England Under- 19 place. His first nine overs, in which he took seven wickets, stunned the home side into episodes of bizarre shot selection, and his performance gave the champions their third successive victory.

Kim Barnett and Tim O'Gorman should have known better than to test the hands of John Emburey at gully. Dominic Cork's hook to fine leg did not reflect his side's plight. Others were innocent but tentative victims of the momentum Johnson had built up.

Tea came at an opportune time. Mike Gatting had craftily given the youngster a breather before the break and Johnson was able to recharge his batteries after his initial 12-over burst.

Simon Base was not happy with his leg-before decision, but it provided Johnson with renewed impetus. And when Colin Wells became his ninth victim, the youngster could not have been unhappy to see Devon Malcolm at the crease.

Then Desmond Haynes played a crucial cameo role by ensuring Devon Malcolm survived two more overs.

Matthew Taylor was the final wicket to fall, caught by Mark Ramprakash after slashing at a ball wide of off stump.

Johnson's irreverent nickname of Mavis, reported to reflect his throwing arm, may now need a rethink from more respectful colleagues. The Middlesex coach, Don Bennett, thinks he can bat as well.

In contrast to Johnson, publishers of coaching manuals must cringe whenever John Carr makes runs, his fully unorthodox stance defying accepted beliefs. His right foot points staight at the umpire, the left foot at extra cover, while the bat is suspended towards gully. The backlift is directed towards only third slip, in a token attempt at conformity. The Middlesex batsman does, however, manage to play side-on and possesses the full range of shots. And it was this technique which best countered some awkward early batting conditions.

Malcolm and Simon Base had little joy through the air, though, and it was only the extra new-ball bounce from Malcolm which accounted for Mark Ramprakash.

Robbed of the injured Allan Warner, Base tidily supported Malcolm and trapped Keith Brown leg before with movement off the pitch. However, the medium pace of Cork and Colin Wells produced more wobble, baffling Carr's tail-end partners. Wells took four for 26 in 10 overs, while Carr happily accumulated runs.

Carr needed nine for a century when Phil Tufnell arrived at the crease - but no need to worry. Skilful strike manipulation and two edged fours produced his first Championship hundred this year.

(Photograph omitted)

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