Cricket: Lara's quick pay-off

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .365 and 189

Warwickshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .657-7 dec

Warwickshire win by an innings and 103 runs

SO FAR the story could not read much better for Warwickshire (16th last season), who beat Glamorgan (third) comprehensively here yesterday to apply a final gloss to five days in which their immediate future has been brightened as if by several coats of luminous paint.

The signing of Brian Lara caused membership figures to rise as soon as it was announced and since his arrival in England last Wednesday the growth of interest in the man and, by association, the county has accelerated rapidly.

There are already between 500 and 600 new Warwickshire members, paying from pounds 58 to pounds 120 each. This match has realised pounds 7,000 at the gate compared with pounds 2,000 for the opening fixture last season. In the next home game, which begins on Thursday, Lara will be pitched against Phil Simmons (261 in Leicestershire's 10- wicket defeat of Northamptonshire), which makes for about as marketable a match as the County Championship is likely to throw up. The pounds 45,000 that Warwickshire are said to be paying their world record- breaker for his one-season contract seems good value already, although the loss of Allan Donald's wickets cannot yet be calculated.

Lara's inspiration was undoubtedly the key to Warwickshire's victory, completed a little after 2.30pm when Colin Metson's top edge to mid-wicket enabled Gladstone Small to claim his fifth wicket for 46 runs. Glamorgan, who had needed to reach 292 to make Warwickshire bat again, were all out for 189.

The Trinidadian's performance on Friday lifted the entire Warwickshire side, who might otherwise have been daunted by Glamorgan's total of 365. Roger Twose was the most obvious beneficiary, drawing massive confidence from his 215-run partnership with Lara. His 277 not out is the second highest score by a Warwickshire player, their total of 657 for 7 equal to their largest in the Championship.

Glamorgan, once 9 for 2 on Saturday evening, advanced from 65 for 2 overnight only to 89 before Stephen James (61) was leg before to Small and thereafter could never sustain any hope of saving the match. David Hemp was a cheap casualty and Matthew Maynard an irresponsible one, top-edging an ill-chosen pull as Small's opening 10-over spell brought him 3 for 26. Richard Davis, the former Kent left-armer, extracted slow turn as the pitch deteriorated to return an encouraging 3 for 24.

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