Cricket: Maynard's manifold mastery worthy of Test place

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The Independent Online
Australians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .414-4 dec and 146-4

Glamorgan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .363-8 dec

FOR ANYONE who saw Matthew Maynard's 132 from 115 balls against the Australians at The Gnoll, it is inconceivable that England could refuse to pick him for Thursday's fourth Test. It was a performance of genius and yet, inevitably (since England had a side to select), the gallery did not contain a selector.

Australia's choice may well not include Tim May, who damaged a hamstring when fielding. Mark Taylor has knee ligament trouble and will not be 100 per cent fit for Edgbaston.

Maynard's magnificent strokeplay, which was responsible for the major part of the 217 runs scored in the 135 minutes before lunch, enabled Glamorgan to reach 363 for 8 declared, giving Australia a lead of 51. This was increased to 197 when they scored 146 for 4 in their second innings.

It is hard to know where to start with Maynard's century before lunch. He had hardly reached the crease before he was whipping the ball from only just short of a length, wristily and dismissively off his body to the leg-side boundary from the bowling of Paul Reiffel and Wayne Holdsworth.

His 50 came in 55 minutes with his ninth four, when he drove Holdsworth back over his head. Searing cover drives, exquisitely timed forces off the back foot through the off side, delicate authentic leg glances and an outrageous flick past square leg off Merv Hughes's slower ball brought an endless succession of boundaries.

Reiffel may have taken five wickets in England's first innings at Headingley, but here his first five overs cost 46. Holdsworth's first four produced 29 and Hughes went for 49 in six overs. There were two blemishes: at 95, Allan Border should have caught him at slip and at 122, David Boon dropped him at cover.

But the rippling leg glance, which brought him to his hundred with his 20th four from only his 73rd ball and equalled the fastest serious hundred of the season, was a supreme moment. Maynard had reached 110 when Shane Warne came on and once again put a game into a new perspective. Maynard did not play the wrist spinner especially well and was short of a plan when he pitched his beguilingly flighted leg break six inches or so outside the leg stump.

In the last over before lunch Maynard tried to turn Mark Waugh to leg and was lbw.

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