Cricket: Millns doubles the punishment

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire 454-9 dec Essex 163 and 247 Leicestershire win by innings and 44 runs

This was a romantic match for David Millns and the result a boon for Leicestershire. County champions for the only time 21 years ago, they have swept back into the top three in the table. Romance for Millns, 31, was joining the rare breed of those who have taken 10 wickets in a game and scored a first-class hundred, a maiden one at that - more akin in modern times to Sir Garfield Sobers, Mike Procter and Ian Botham.

Millns, an England A tourist, was at his devastating best as he took 6 for 20 in 7.4 overs in the second innings, returned 10 for 128 overall, and offered a reminder of what could have been in a career that began with Nottinghamshire.

His performance meant that Essex were sent packing, back to Chelmsford, for lighter duties in the NatWest Trophy against Durham tomorrow. They were beaten by pure Leicester professionalism: fast bowling and outstanding catches - by Adrian Pierson at wide third slip and Aftab Habib at long- off.

Leicestershire have the bonding factor - the new-age cricket huddle borrowed from rugby. Someone called it "bondage", maybe because when a batsman is dismissed, the fielders link arms in a circle. They also have a designated daily catchword in these post-wicket-taking rituals. It was probably "golf" this time because they were well on course for that before lunch.

As for Millns, he was mean and magnificent, and had a catalogue of success that would have made Essex's Ronnie Irani wince. Irani, omitted by England, dashed from Trent Bridge last week, only to bag a pair in six balls and be dispatched for four an over when bowling.

It was another triumph for Leicestershire, having beaten Yorkshire, also by an innings, in their previous match. They have been lightly regarded for umpteen years, but Essex, with seven assorted titles in the 1980s to Leicestershire's one, do not view it that way. They have now lost five consecutive Championship matches to the county that might be regarded as their Midlands equivalents - home-spun upstarts away from the Test ground focus.

The wickets grabbed by Millns in the second innings were clear-cut: Paul Prichard leg-before to a ball keeping slightly low; Irani dismissed playing a poor stroke; Robert Rollins hanging around and waiting for a caught- at-the-wicket decision; Such and Neil Williams brilliantly taken. Finally, Ashley Cowan's off-stump was clipped, all in 15.4 overs.

Martin Bicknell and Brendon Julian bowled Surrey back into title contention yesterday with their first Championship success against Middlesex for nine years. Bicknell took 4 for 57 and Julian 3 for 54 as Surrey shot Middlesex out for 194 in their second innings at The Oval. Surrey the raced to 61 for 3 to win by seven wickets - and pick up maximum points.