Cricket: Klusener in cruise control

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LANCE KLUSENER is in many ways the heart and soul of South Africa's cricket team - unsung as a major talent, but absolutely central to the huge competitive spirit which marks them out as a world power.

Today, as Hansie Cronje's side warmed up for this week's Third Test by thrashing Northamptonshire by 98 runs in a one-day fixture, Klusener hit the small matter of 142 not out from 132 balls. Not bad for the Test No 9.

Opening the innings, as he often does in the one-day game, Klusener struck 19 fours and dominated a third-wicket stand of 185 with his skipper Cronje. Cronje made a 78-ball 77, and rarely fails these days in the limited-overs arena. Two sixes and seven fours punctuated his progress and - after an 80-minute rain break had reduced the contest to 45 overs a side - he and Klusener added a further 112 in the 15 overs that remained. Northamptonshire required 287 from their 45 overs in reply to South Africa's 275-3, but could manage just 189 for 8.

England will have to work very hard indeed to bowl out South Africa twice - the minimum requirement if Alec Stewart's side are to get back into this summer's series.