Cricket: Murali's efforts let down by batsmen

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The Independent Online
MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN suffered the indignity of taking 14 wickets and still finishing on the losing side at Southport. Warwickshire achieved a 19-run win against Lancashire despite the Sri Lankan claiming 14 for 117 on his home debut.

It was Warwickshire's third win in four Championship matches and, with Allan Donald still to come, they are looking genuine title challengers. But Lancashire are near the bottom of the table after three defeats and, if Murali's input fails to inspire them to victory, they must wonder what can.

Lancashire's problems stemmed from weak batting in the first innings and they tried hard to make up for that in chasing a target of 285. At 71 for 4 all seemed lost, but John Crawley produced his best performance of the season, hitting 76.

Mike Watkinson helped him add 107, but they both fell to Dougie Brown and Lancashire slipped to 237 for 9. Warren Hegg and Paul Ridgway then teamed up in a defiant last-wicket stand. Hegg claimed a 93-ball half- century, but Brown soon trapped him lbw for 58.

Middlesex were last night celebrating a win inside three days as Glamorgan eventually succumbed to the inevitable at Cardiff - suffering an innings and 113 run defeat.

A seventh-wicket partnership of 72 in 22 overs between Mike Powell and Keith Newell only held up Middlesex's success as Glamorgan subsided to 214 all out.