THIS game ought to be the biggest mismatch since, well, the Lord's Test, and so it proved for two sessions with the Australians testing the students' bowlers much like a sadistic don setting them questions way beyond them.
Chief among those was where to bowl to Damien Martyn who, faced with a six-three leg field and leg-side bowling, crashed 138 not out off 112 balls largely by stepping back and driving it through and over the off side. His 87-ball century was the fastest of the season and pushed his tour average past 90 - but still he cannot get a Test place.
Martyn's hundred in the middle session followed Michael Slater's before lunch, the first such by an Australian tourist since Bob Cowper punished T N Pearce's XI at Scarborough in 1964. Back then the local hotel may still have been on the clifftop but in cricket there was little change - Ted Dexter was leading England to an Ashes defeat.
Having declared at tea, the Australians found bowling less of a stroll with none of the prospective replacements for Craig McDermott impressing, as the students lost just two wickets in cutting the deficit to 281 runs.
Richard Montgomerie, of Northamptonshire and Oxford, made a smart half-century before falling, inevitably, to Shane Warne. He was stumped by Martyn, wicketkeeper Tim Zoehrer having taken off the pads to bowl leg-spin in tandem with Warne. The inclusion of Warne, who suffered hamstring cramp while batting, means he is unlikely to play against Robin Smith and David Gower at Southampton on Saturday.
Although the broadening of eligibility to non-Oxbridge players strengthens the side - five were drawn from outside - the selectors appear to be following their national partners in their main source of better players, the students including two Australians and one South African.
One, Jason Gallian, played junior and club cricket alongside Michael Slater and was particularly pleased to catch him low at mid-wicket for 111. He followed up with Hayden's wicket, the left-hander driving to cover two short of a century, which presaged a slump as Australia sent in the tail early. Jason Hallett, of Durham University and Somerset, took three wickets in 13 balls before Mark Waugh restored the balance.
The one-sided innings underlined the anachronistic nature of the game. In the Test series Australia are thrashing an England team made up from the counties. They in turn regularly dominate the Universities, whose improved results this year owe much to rain and weak county sides - the only overseas player to play them, Viv Richards, promptly hit what was, until Martyn's assault, the fastest hundred of the season.
Craig McDermott's chances of playing any further part in the Ashes tour have disappeared. McDermott, 28, was taken to hospital during the Lord's Test and underwent surgery on a twisted bowel. Australia are expected to announce today that he will return home over the weekend.
(Combined Universities won toss)
AUSTRALIANS - First Innings
M L Hayden c Windows b Gallian 98
M J Slater c Gallian b Pearson 111
D R Martyn not out 138
B P Julian b Hallett 1
T J Zoehrer c and b Hallett 4
S K Warne lbw b Hallett 5
M E Waugh not out 29
Total (for 5 dec) 388
Fall: 1-189 2-260 3-261 4-271 5-283.
Did not bat: * M A Taylor, P R Reiffel, T B A May, W J Holdsworth.
Bowling: Hallett 19-1-85-3; MacDonald 10-1-68-0; Gallian 13-0-62-1; Pearson 20-1-107-1; Snape 11-1-64-0.
COMBINED UNIVERSITIES - First Innings
R M Montgomerie st Martyn b Warne 52
* J E R Gallian lbw b Holdsworth 1
R Cake not out 33
G B T Lovell not out 7
Extras (b2 lb2 nb10) 14
Total (for 2) 107
Fall: 1-15 2-94.
To bat: J N Snape, M G N Windows, J Wileman, S F Shephard, J C Hallett, R M Pearson, R H MacDonald.
Umpires: D J Constant and R Julian.Reuse content