Cricket: Munton hastens collapse

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The Independent Online
AFTER a glorious July in which they won four of their six Championship games and moved into second place, Leicestershire, the Britannic team of the month, are crashing back to earth with a heavy bump. On the evidence of events at Edgbaston, where Warwickshire have been overwhelming them with both bat and ball, August could well provide the hangover after the party.

Following an early declaration, Warwickshire's formidable seam attack of Allan Donald, Gladstone Small and Tim Munton ripped into Leicestershire's top order to leave them reeling on 72 for 5 by mid-afternoon. Memories of last season, when they finished second bottom in the table, will have been rekindled as wickets tumbled in rapid succession. Laurie Potter,s half-century provided the only resistance as Munton finished with five wickets to leave Leicestershire following on 264 runs short on the first innings.

On the university pitch at Durham, meanwhile, the home side were experiencing similar difficulties. Needing to score 242 to avoid an innings defeat, Durham will have been trying to forget the depressing fact that they have scored in excess of 235 just once in their last seven attempts.

The remarkable emergence of Alistair Brown, who has scored two centuries in his first four Championship games for Surrey, continued as he moved his overnight score of 120 to 175 before being dispatched by Ian Botham after just 164 balls, striking one six and 25 fours. Durham's hopes of a positive reply disappeared as Wayne Larkins, Phil Bainbridge and Mark Briers were all dismissed cheaply. But with the name of a certain I T Botham appearing on the scorecard Surrey will be taking nothing for granted until the big man is safely back in the pavilion. In an unbeaten partnership of 74 with Ian Smith he helped bring about Durham's much needed recovery.

Runs continued to flow at Swansea, where Glamorgan added another 78 runs to their overnight total before declaring on 354 for 7 after a solid performance by their batsmen, with all- rounder Robert Croft undefeated on 60. Trevor Ward gave Kent a good start in response before he fell to Croft's off-spin to be caught behind by Colin Metson. Carl Hooper's hundred from 75 balls was one of the quickest of the season and included three sixes and 13 fours. With Glamorgan's openers Hugh Morris and Steve James looking well set in the second innings, and with wickets few and far between on this pitch, a draw seems to be the likeliest result.