Cricket / Round-Up: Foster fined pounds 250 by Essex

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NEIL FOSTER, the Essex bowler who has been recalled to the England Test team, was fined pounds 250 by his county yesterday after last week's outbreak of stump abuse, writes

The 31-year-old fast bowler, due to face the Australians in the second Test starting at Lord's on Thursday, lost his cool on the first day of a Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford. Frustrated by several near misses and a dropped catch, Foster kicked two stumps out of the ground. He helped the umpire, Barry Meyer, to repair the damage, but was called to the umpires' room at the close of play.

The Australian tourists' quest for a beer-money bonus of pounds 50,000 is in some jeopardy after a wash-out at Bristol yesterday. No play was possible on the scheduled final day of their three- day match against Gloucestershire, which was abandoned as a draw.

The Australians suffered the same fate in their previous Tetley Bitter Challenge game at Edgbaston last week: they have now won only four of their seven first-class matches against the counties. In order to qualify for the sponsors' bonus they need at least 10 victories from the 14 fixtures.

The tourists are confident that their wicketkeeper, Ian Healy, will be fit for the second Test. Healy fractured a thumb at Bristol, but Bobby Simpson, the Australian coach, said: 'He's 60-40 to play but, knowing Ian, you can make that 80-20.'

All yesterday's Britannic Assurance County Championship matches fell victim to the weather, and were abandoned as draws. Play was possible only at The Oval, where Glamorgan managed 17.1 overs of batting practice against Surrey.