AS A NATIVE son whose father is a director of the newest county, Mike Roseberry could scarcely have been blamed if he had eased up for Durham's first-class debut at Lord's yesterday. There was no hint of divided loyalties, however, as the Middlesex opener plotted a career-best unbeaten 172 to guide his side to a position of some substance.
Unflappable and unspectacular, Roseberry's solitary gesture of violence was a late six into the grandstand off Mark Briers. Indeed, aesthetic pleasures are few when he is in occupation, yet three hundreds in succession and a summer's haul of eight, suggest a considerable talent overdue recognition. An A tour is the least he deserves.
To see Mike Gatting struggling with his timing is not unlike watching a foreign movie blighted by out-of-sync dubbing. This had much to do with the uneven bounce prevalent on a pitch that demanded circumspection, an attitude not commonly associated with Gatting.
All the same, he found the boundary 13 times while contributing 90 to a watchful second-wicket stand with Roseberry worth 167 in 54 overs.
Ian Botham was similarly muted. Resplendent in an extravagant sun hat while wandering with relative anonymity amid the shadows at fine leg, he spent much of the afternoon looking like Roy Rogers in search of Trigger.
He did not concede a run until his 20th ball but rarely threatened more than containment before retiring briefly to nurse his broken thumb. Only when he intercepted Gatting's drive at cover was one reminded of his presence.
For Phil Berry, in contrast, this was a day of revelation. Restricted to seven appearances in six seasons at Yorkshire, he maintained a steady length, permitted few liberties and turned the odd off- break in a manner that will have had John Emburey and Phil Tufnell rubbing their hands in anticipation.
In taking the first three wickets, Berry surpassed his previously modest career-best, no small achievement for a young man with only 14 first-class victims and a career in the balance. Desmond Haynes advanced to be stumped via an unhelpful pad, Gatting was drawn into an airy waft and John Carr taken at mid-on.
Then, as visions of a fourth batting point receded, Berry scaled unforeseen heights as Keith Brown clipped to square leg, Paul Weekes drove to mid-on and Neil Williams charged and missed.
Somerset had advanced to 24 without loss in reply to Glamorgan's first innings of 276 at Abergavenny yesterday. Hugh Morris top scored for the home side with 71 while Adrian Dale contributed 67.
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