Cricket: Lathwell flashes with brilliance: Derek Hodgson reports from Chelmsford

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Essex 394; England A 174 and 217-6

THIS match is the nearest Ted Dexter and his embattled England committee will come to a proper Test trial this summer, a considerable handicap when, by common consent, the England team is due for its greatest overhaul in years.

For two and a half days all Dexter and his fellow selectors learnt was that Essex were county champions and that the A team were tyros. Yesterday afternoon, after a start delayed by overnight rain for 30 overs and after the A team had been ordered to follow-on, a cool wind blew in the selectors' favour.

The Essex off-spinner Peter Such finished with 5 for 26 and then ambushed the A team's middle-order after they had recovered from the early loss of Mike Roseberry, out cheaply for a second time, with a respectable stand between Mark Lathwell and Martyn Moxon.

This match is as much about Lathwell as anyone. The 21-year-old Somerset opener has played some electrifying innings in a first-class career which has just entered its second year. He made a painstaking 30 in the first innings, enlivened by a marvellous hook for six, but yesterday, in better light, he employed some flashing drives and cuts. He has a champion's eye and plays the ball very late; some of his scoring shots are so delayed the bowler may be momentarily deluded into thinking the ball has been forgotten.

Moxon responded to his younger partner, and from being 195 behind with nine wickets standing the A team found respectability, only to lose it again when John Stephenson removed Lathwell and Graham Thorpe with successive deliveries. Lathwell had reached 84 off 143 balls (11 fours) when he mistimed a drive to be caught at mid-on.

Such's return, on a grey evening, plunged the innings into further trouble. He had Moxon leg before sweeping, while John Crawley, pushing forward, played on. Graham Lloyd, in one of his tempestuous moods, attacked the spinners to reach 50 off 54 deliveries including eight fours and a pulled six off Such.

The selectors have had an encouraging view of possible bowlers. Andrew Caddick, with his high action, bowled well but finished with disappointing figures while the left-arm Paul Taylor was less immaculate but more successful. Dominic Cork stays in the 'future all rounder' file and Ian Salisbury was given 27 overs, unheard of for a leg-spinner at this time of year.

(Third day of four: England A won toss)

Essex - First Innings 394 (N Hussain 118, G A Gooch 88)

ENGLAND A - First Innings

(Overnight 137 for 8)

D G Cork lbw b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

I D K Salisbury b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

J P Taylor not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

Extras (lb2 nb8). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174

Fall: 1-2 2-41 3-72 4-88 5-108 6-110 7-113 8-116 9-143.

Bowling: Pringle 13-6-17-0; Ilott 19-2-59-2; Topley 6-1-23-0; Childs 16-3-47-3; Such 13.5-6- 26-5.

Second Innings

M N Lathwell c Childs b Stephenson. . . . . . . . . . . . . .84

M A Roseberry b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

*M D Moxon lbw b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

G P Thorpe lbw b Stephenson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

G D Lloyd not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

J P Crawley b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0

R C Russell b Such. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

D G Cork not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Extras (lb2 w1 nb2). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Total (for 6). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .217

Fall: 1-26 2-135 3-135 4-145 5-145 6-207

To bat: A R Caddick, I D K Salisbury, J P Taylor.

Umpires: K E Palmer and B Leadbeater.

OTHER MATCH: Fenner's: Combined Universities v Middlesex, no play.

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