Cricket: Malcolm in peak form

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire. . . . . . .183 and 379

Sussex. . . . . . . . .193 and 174

Derbyshire win by 195 runs

THE case for restoring Devon Malcolm to the Test team has almost certainly been considered and rejected already this summer but must deserve another airing now. His 6 for 57 as Derbyshire won with almost four sessions to spare yesterday represented his best analysis for the county and while five of his victims read upwards from the bottom of a wretched Sussex card it would be unfair to suggest that he was flattered. He was fast and controlled enough to have given any batsman plenty to think about.

Whether he can persuade England to think about him is uncertain. The trouble with Malcolm is that while he may bowl like the wind the effect is as likely to inflate the runs total as to blow away batsmen. But then England hardly have anything to lose.

He claimed his last five wickets in the space of 18 deliveries during which runs were scored only when Eddie Hemmings spooned the ball over the slip cordon for four. Sussex, having set out 10 minutes before noon in pursuit of 370 to win, were thus dismissed at nine mins past five for 174.

'Devon looked a Test bowler today,' said Sussex captain Alan Wells, the one specialist batsman to succumb. 'He pitched the ball up and swung it as well. If he pitches the ball up, he is capable of knocking over any batsman.'

For Sussex, it was a woeful day. Derbyshire made only a modest addition to their overnight 350 for 6, Chris Adams recklessly throwing away his wicket with a century in his sights, but if Sussex entertained any notion of reaching their target it faded as they stumbled to 17 for 3 and then 66 for 5.

Bill Athey, as dogged as ever, carried his bat after anchoring a stand of 93 with Peter Moores which restored some respectability. But when Moores was pouched at deep backward point flashing at Malcolm, the floodgates opened to allow Derbyshire to celebrate their first championship victory since May.