Cricket: Moxon foils DeFreitas

Click to follow
The Independent Online


IF Ted Dexter rang here yesterday with a one-word question, 'DeFreitas?', he would have almost certainly been given a one- word answer: 'Moxon.'

The fitness of the Lancashire seam bowler is important to Dexter's committee. Playing in a senior match for the first time since breaking down at Chelmsford, 'Daffy' ran in loosely enough in what appeared to be more of an arm-turning than pitch-banging operation.

In his two spells he bowled 14 overs for 47 runs; to play him at The Oval next Thursday would be a risk but, then, so was playing Devon Malcolm at Lord's.

Martyn Moxon, meanwhile, is in prime form after centuries in his last two matches. On a pitch that offered the bowlers only a gentle turn until early afternoon, when Mike Watkinson and then Alex Barnett began to win a sharper response, batting had been a pleasure as Moxon and Simon Kellett confirmed by running up 137 runs in 37 overs to lunch.

Neil Fairbrother, unaware that he was only five short of Lancashire's best individual score in a Roses match since the war (170 by Cyril Washbrook in 1948) declared overnight, hoping that DeFreitas and Peter Martin would make inroads before the ball became worn.

In fact the openers had 59 on the board in 15 overs despite the overcast sky and an outfield dampened by early morning rain. Not until Ian Austin appeared, bowling his niggling medium pace at the off-stump to an offside field of seven, including two gullies, did Fairbrother find a brake.

But Moxon was not subdued for long, driving the seamers, cutting the spinners with a power few England batsmen, perhaps Gooch and Smith apart, can surpass.

The pair reached 102 in 102 minutes and Moxon was 10 short of a splendid hundred when he went back to Watkinson and was bowled by a ball that turned considerably, the first to do so in the match. His 90, off 142 balls, included 14 fours.

Kellett and David Byas added 46 in 17 overs as the spinners reduced the tempo. Kellett needed nine for his 100 when he misread Barnett's length; Byas fell to the left-arm spinner, sweeping.

Sachin Tendulkar, starting with four boundaries in two overs, was also tied down until, after tea, he produced a string of pearls including an almost effortless six into the Football Stand and a bullet- straight four with no more than a wrist-flick. Moxon declared as soon as the fourth point was won, 99 behind.