Cricket: Morris sets tempo of the final assault: Confident Lathwell

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Northern Transvaal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .138 and 162

England A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .205 and 96-2

England A win by 8 wickets

IAN CHAPPELL, as perceptive a commentator as he was a captain, said during last week's dramatic Sydney Test: 'There are two things you need to know about a cricketer. What he's got in his mind and what he's got in his heart.'

After the debacle of Durban, the England A team manager Phil Neale wanted this match to be a test of the first quality. Instead, thanks to the vagaries of a rogue pitch clearly unfit for four-day cricket, it was a test of the latter.

But the tourists' eight- wicket victory, achieved before lunch on the third day, was no less valuable a character examination for that. While Neale must wait to see if his players can bat with discipline and patience, he knows they can do so with courage and enterprise.

Though England, in a match dominated by bowlers, were very well served by Mark Ilott and Dominic Cork, it was a batsman who stood out. Hugh Morris, twice having to bat overnight, made a brave, dogged 57 in the first innings that put England in control. Then, with England batting last and vulnerable, he changed his approach to lead a bold assault on a deceptively difficult victory target of 96.

Though he perished for just 14 yesterday - all made in the morning in 24 balls - the pattern of the innings was set and, despite a slight wobble, England never looked like losing.

There may also be a beneficial side-effect in the revival of Mark Lathwell's confidence. Bowed by successive failure and homesickness, this has been a difficult tour for the introverted 22-year-old. But yesterday his natural game, which makes him so fragile early on, was perfect and while Morris drove he hooked with enthusiasm.

It should not, however, be seen as an affirmation of his place as an opener. While his persistence in going for his shots indicates a stronger self- belief than is always apparent, it does lead to a very high proportion of early dismissals and a move down the order, as advocated by his former Somerset team-mate Jimmy Cook early in the tour, would still be a wise move.

Lathwell was finally out missing a huge drive at the impressive Steve Elworthy. With Morris caught cutting fiercely to gully in his previous over, England, at 37 for 2, were suddenly shaky. But Northern Transvaal let the chance go, Clayton Lambert dropping Alan Wells at second slip. The unperturbed Wells and John Crawley knocked off the remaining 59 at five an over and England's ninth win in 10 matches was secured.

'With the emphasis on scoring while at the crease, rather than building an innings, it was not quite what we wanted but we showed a lot of guts and everyone applied themselves,' Neale said. 'We felt we under- achieved at Natal and it was important to get back on track,' Morris added.

Dean Jones marked his first international appearance for 10 months with a swashbuckling 98 as Australia crushed South Africa by 48 runs in their World Series Cup match in Brisbane yesterday. The 32- year-old intimidated the South African attack at the Gabba as Australia hit 230 for 9 from their 50 overs. Although Gary Kirsten made a defiant 51 for the tourists, they stumbled to a disappointing 182 all out.

(Third day of four; N Transvaal won toss)

NORTHERN TRANSVAAL - First Innings 138 (B J Sommerville 60; M C Ilott 4-32).

ENGLAND A - First Innings 205 (H Morris 57; S Elworthy 4-55).

NORTHERN TRANSVAAL - Second Innings 162 (D G Cork 4-50).

ENGLAND A - Second Innings

(Overnight: 5 for 0)

M N Lathwell b Elworthy . . . . . . . . . . .21

* H Morris c Sommerville b Elworthy . . . . .14

J P Crawley not out . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

A P Wells not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

Extras (b1 lb1 nb2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Total (for 2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96

Fall: 1-32 2-37.

Did not bat: M B Loye, A Dale, S J Rhodes, R D B Croft, D G Cork, M C Ilott, M J McCague.

Bowling: Elworthy 8-2-25-2; Bryson 4-0-19-0; Van Noordwyk 7-1-23-0; Bosch 4-0-27-0.

Umpires: B Lambson and S Marais.