Cricket: Newport casts a spell on Lara

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire 129-3 v Worcestershire

THERE was a hat-trick of sorts here yesterday, even if its completion did rob a large gathering of the chance to see Brian Lara in full flow. Worcestershire, meanwhile, were understandably chuffed, the run-maker back in the pavilion almost as soon as he had arrived and the Championship leaders groping under cloud.

Indeed, dull moments were plentiful with never less than one light indicator glowing on the scoreboard, while in another sense, the lights well and truly went out when Lara offered up a return catch to Phil Newport. A big breakthrough, certainly, but Newport takes all this in his stride.

In fact, nothing could be simpler. Lara may have tucked away 1,743 runs in the Championship and a few records besides before arriving at New Road, but Newport has put the evil eye on him. When the West Indies visited here in 1991, Newport dismissed the left-hander for 26.

Last month, in the Benson and Hedges Cup final, Warwickshire may have wiped the floor with their neighbours, but Newport sent back Lara for eight and the swing bowler did him again yesterday for five.

It could have been for a boundary less, too, Lara leg- glancing his first ball dangerously close to Tim Edwards, standing in for Steven Rhodes behind the wicket.

As for Newport's second delivery, a painful blow in the box softened up the Trinidadian and, having partially recovered, Lara then drove too early at the next and holed out to his aggressor. That left Warwickshire at 72 for 2, which called for a partnership involving damage limitation.

Put in, Andy Moles and Roger Twose had got the innings off to a solid start, Moles welcoming the introduction of Richard Illingworth's slow left-arm with a straight six. He fell, though, next ball attempting to repeat the shot.

When Lara went, Twose and Dominic Ostler added a half-century for the third wicket. Twose, having batted for nearly three hours for his 39, then became victim to Stuart Lampitt, caught and bowled. The action was nearly over in a day when 62 overs were lost to the weather.

Dominic Cork rescued Derbyshire at Chesterfield with his maiden first-class half-century of the summer to frustrate Gloucestershire. Derbyshire were in trouble at 117 for 4 but Cork and Adrian Rollins made a stand of 89. Rollins grafted for 79 and Cork made 55 before he was caught behind off Robert Dawson. When rain washed out play, Derbyshire were 240 for 8.

Mark Lathwell scored a half-century to complete a bad day for Durham at Taunton. The Somerset opener hit 10 fours in 67 runs off 103 balls. Somerset ended on 132 for 3 in reply to Durham's 171.

Robin Smith hit 69 off 78 balls to produce the highlight of a rain-hit opening day of the 152nd Canterbury Festival, where Hampshire reached 136 for 5 off 44 overs.