Cricket: Lathwell's premature check-out

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The Independent Online
South Africa A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .357

England A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54-2

IT WOULD have been no surprise last night to find Mark Lathwell hanging around the England A team's hotel safe with a jemmy and gelignite. For among the travellers' cheques and bundles of rand locked away by the tour manager Bob Bennett are a passport and air ticket that would enable him to escape his two- month South African nightmare.

The 22-year-old's ordeal remains unabated after another disastrous innings yesterday in which he lasted just four deliveries and failed to score. His dismissal forced England, requiring 158 to save the follow-on and 500 to take charge of this A 'Test', into a vulnerable position which deteriorated when John Crawley was dismissed 13 minutes before stumps.

With Hugh Morris having survived a very sharp bat-pad chance England reached the close still 104 short of the follow-on target. It is already hard to see how they can achieve a winning position, even with three days to play.

Lathwell's dismissal provided a reprise of all the arguments against him opening. Neither feet nor head moved as he held his bat out to a shortish ball outside off stump and gave a simple edge to the wicketkeeper. To Meyrick Pringle's next ball, of similar line if pitched up slightly further, Crawley moved smoothly into line to play a textbook back-foot defence.

He proceeded to bat as well as a man can, placing firm defensive pushes to the boundary and defending with a classic elegance. Which made it all the more distressing when, on 29, he played across the line and was palpably leg before.

For the bowler, Eric Simons, the wicket compensated for the cherished maiden century his earlier batting had deserved but failed to achieve. At 31, with two one-day internationals against Kim Hughes's Australian rebels far behind him, Simons is unlikely to play Test cricket, his selection for this match emphasising South Africa's determination to avoid defeat.

Resuming with the out-of-sorts Adrian Kuiper - the one-time big- hitter took 99 balls to reach double figures only to be dismissed two deliveries later - Simons launched the first attack since the opening morning. With the admirable Derek Crookes he added 72 in 18 overs as South Africa, to the relief of their fuming coach Eddie Barlow, finally took advantage of the flat wicket.

Simons was eventually leg before to Robert Croft but it was Mark Ilott, with 4 for 71, who was again England's premier bowler.

(Second day; South Africa A won toss)

SOUTH AFRICA A - First Innings

(Overnight: 173 for 4)

A P Kuiper lbw b Ilott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

E O Simons lbw b Croft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88

] S J Palframan lbw b Ilott . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

D N Crookes c Wells b Such . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41

C Eksteen c Rhodes b Ilott . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

M W Pringle lbw b Gough. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

A Martyn not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Extras (lb5 nb6) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357

Fall (cont): 5-191 6-197 7-269 8-305 9-357.

Bowling: Ilott 34-11-71-4; Gough 28.1-9-64-2; Croft 33-7-94-1; Dale 15-2-35-0; Such 43-17-88-2.

ENGLAND A - First Innings

M N Lathwell c Palframan b Pringle. . . . . . . . . . .0

* H Morris not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

J P Crawley lbw b Simons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29

M C Ilott not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Extras (lb6 nb1) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Total (for 2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

Fall: 1-4 2-49.

To bat: A P Wells, M B Loye, A Dale, S J Rhodes, R D B Croft, D Gough, P M Such.

Bowling (to date): Pringle 5-0-12-1; Martyn 5-2- 16-0; Simons 6-3-8-1; Eksteen 7-2-11-0; Crookes 1- 0-1-0.

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