Cricket: Kiwis' limp display cause for concern: Derbyshire too good for dispirited New Zealand

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .424-9 dec

New Zealand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .210 and 196

Derbyshire win by an innings and 18 runs

THE PITCH was flat, the sun shone and conditions could not have been better for batting. Even so, the New Zealanders succumbed in pretty abysmal fashion here yesterday, losing to Derbyshire by an innings and 18 runs.

More often than not, teams make a better fist of it when obliged to follow on. Not so the Kiwis. Derbyshire needed only 49 overs to bowl them out, adding this win to the one they achieved by 202 runs over the 1937 New Zealanders.

That side, led by M L Page, included the likes of Martin Donnelly. They were mesmerised by the wrist spin of Tommy Mitchell, who took 10 wickets in the match. Here, with Devon Malcolm and Phil DeFreitas resting, they were undone by a mixture of old hands, young bloods and convalescents.

It was, therefore, a game which left Derbyshire with several bonuses, not least the fiery bowling and classy batting of Matthew Cassar, who will be qualified in 1997. But the New Zealanders' limp display appalled Gavin Larsen, their acting captain.

He said: 'It was very dispiriting to say the least. I thought we were quite spineless throughout the game. The bowlers did not bowl length and line and the batsmen did not show any application, apart from Mark Greatbatch, who got runs, and that is a cause for concern with the third Test coming up.

'We now have to dig very deep. We nearly lost to Combined Universities and now this result comes on top of it. It's disconcerting because we thought after Cambridge that motivation would not be a problem. Clearly, some players have got to think very hard about their game.'

Larsen thought the Derby pitch was the best the tourists had encountered for a county game; diplomatically, he made no mention of the odd hairline decision which went against them, most importantly, perhaps, the one which cost Greatbatch his wicket when he might have been expected to build on his first-innings score of 84.

They also picked up four lbw decisions yesterday, not one of which produced a prompt departure by the victim. Martin Crowe, who had felt dizzy when his feverish virus caused him to retire after two balls in the first innings, was on the ground, prepared to bat if circumstances merited it.

By early afternoon, however, he was driving to Manchester, his mind fixed on more important matters. When Derbyshire last beat a touring side, the 1965 South Africans, their success was overshadowed by the controversy which followed the no-balling of Harold Rhodes. This time theirs is the glory.