Cricket: Martyn's full-blown frustration

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The Independent Online
Australians . . . . . . . . . . . . .391-4 dec

Kent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .114-2

THE formative incident of Damien Martyn's life was the cyclone that ravaged Darwin, his infant home, at Christmas 1974 and led his parents to move the family from the cricketing outpost of Australia's Northern Territory to Perth, one of the sport's centres.

Martyn has since batted like a whirlwind for most of his short career, the West Indies and New Zealand being among the attacks that have suffered at his hands but, thanks to the strength of Australia's upper order he has been restricted this summer to flaying county and student attacks.

Even this, on a frustrating tour, now appears to have lost its attraction for the precocious 21- year-old and yesterday he was more zephyr than hurricane as he gently breezed to his fourth - and slowest - hundred of the tour in four-and-a-half hours. It was Australia's 35th century in all matches on tour (to 11 made against them) and enabled them to raise 391 for 4 between showers before declaring at tea.

The tourists have reached the stage when rain - as long as it is outside the Test arena - is greeted with the sort of enthusiasm an outback farmer displays when it ends a drought. So they were not too unhappy at the 2.30 start or the later 20-minute rain- break. In between there was just time for Alan Igglesden to bowl Steve Waugh on the charge.

In reply, Graham Cowdrey took 46 minutes to get off the mark but David Fulton, playing his third first-class match, was already on 20 and went on to an encouraging 40 not out at the close. He lost Cowdrey and Nigel Llong, caught at slip. Cowdrey was leg before to a Warne 'flipper' the ball after hitting him for six over 'cow corner'.

Perhaps Cowdrey's moment will come in a second innings chase today. For all their great players, from Woolley and Wright to Knott and Underwood, Kent have only beaten the Australians once this century, in 1975. Then Colin Cowdrey, in his last season, hit an unbeaten 151 and Bob Woolmer, despite a trip to the adjacent hospital after being hit on the head, 71 not out as they chased down 354 at more than a run-a-minute. A repeat today would be appreciated as much as it is unlikely.