Cricket: Reiffel has Test in sights

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The Independent Online
Australians 378-9 dec and 152-2

Surrey 231

PERHAPS the prophets are being a little too gloomy. Despite their convincing Texaco tune-up, Australia appear to have more questions than answers at present. Between now and next Thursday the tourists must find a third seamer and a second opener, but nothing has happened here to ease their task. Of the quicker men on duty, the slingy Wayne Holdsworth was sharp but erratic, Brendon Julian delivered eight wides and only Paul Reiffel, the pragmatic candidate, seemed capable of blending line and length.

At the top of the order, Matthew Hayden had another sketchy knock against a home attack deprived of its three main prongs while Michael Slater reached 50 before succumbing to the last ball of the day, all of which suggests David Boon will revert to his former berth at Manchester.

Shane Warne's leg-spin has been given the usual hype, but while his 3 for 68 was due reward for a long, accurate stint, he was repelled with some ease by the tail, culminating in the 14-run salute from Tony Murphy that averted the follow-on.

In the Surrey innings, Darren Bicknell drove two fours in Holdsworth's opening over before edging the last ball to second slip and Graham Thorpe followed three overs later when a mistimed drive off Julian looped to Warne at mid-on. This brought together Monte Lynch and Alistair Brown, who proceeded to share 15 fours and a six while adding 83 in 12 overs. In the next dozen, five wickets tumbled for 15.

Brown, bar one imperious clout over long-off, treated Warne with surprising deference. In the over after Warne had bowled Lynch round his legs, he drove a Reiffel half-volley to mid-off and departed with self-disgust writ large.

With the Crazy World of Arthur Brown becoming the latest 1960s' popsters to jump on the psychedelic revival bandwagon, welcome to the crazy world of Alistair Brown.

Paul Johnson has resigned as vice-captain of Nottinghamshire, days after his record-breaking 167 not out against Kent on Sunday. Johnson said his decision does not affect his future with the club.