Cricket: Ramprakash passes nets test

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The Independent Online
MARK RAMPRAKASH successfully came through a voluntary net session at Headingley yesterday to calm England's fears about his fitness for the deciding Test against South Africa, which starts tomorrow.

The Middlesex batsman has suffered from tonsillitis since just before the last Test at Trent Bridge, where he shrugged off his discomfort to score an unbeaten 67 in England's first innings.

The illness has lingered in the week since England levelled the series with an eight-wicket victory in Nottingham, putting Ramprakash's participation at Headingley in doubt.

But there is a desire within the England camp to play in this crucial Test and Ramprakash was joined by Andrew Flintoff, the captain Alec Stewart, Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain at the voluntary session.

"I'm hoping to play, but the illness does leave me feeling a little tired and lethargic," Ramprakash admitted. "I never really got rid of it since before the Trent Bridge Test and then I played six successive games including the NatWest quarter-final.

"The blood tests I have had have all come back fine. They have ruled out glandular fever or anything like that."

The chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said: "I would be amazed if he is not fit enough to play."

The match referee, Ahmed Ebrahim, is expected to speak to the South African fast bowler Allan Donald about his criticism of the umpiring at the Nottingham Test by Mervyn Kitchen before making a decision about whether to take disciplinary action.

Donald claimed Kitchen made "a few shocking decisions" and "looked like he was struggling" - a clear breach of clause eight of the International Cricket Council's Code of Conduct.