Cricket: Russell go-slow stripes

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The Independent Online
England A 238

New South Wales 295-3

JACK RUSSELL'S untried powers of captaincy will be put to the test over the next two days as England A try to avoid defeat against New South Wales in Sydney.

Russell adopted negative tactics in an attempt to curb the run flow as New South Wales piled up 295 for 3 in their first innings in reply to England's 238 all out.

Michael Bevan, an outside bet for a passage to England this summer, struck an unbeaten 105 and Richard Chee Quee, making his first-class debut, made 90, but the pair had to work hard for their runs against tight defensive fields set by Russell, who is deputising for the injured Martyn Moxon and leading a team for the first time in a first-class match.

Russell offered no excuses for tactics that reduced New South Wales to a crawl yesterday with a run-rate of 2.7 per over. 'I set out to contain their batsmen and we achieved just that,' Russell said. 'We shot ourselves in the foot by batting badly on the first day and had no runs to play with. It gave me no option.'

Greg Matthews, whose off-spin had hastened England's descent, was distinctly unimpressed. 'I was surprised by England's lack of enthusiasm. It's hard to believe that this group of players are next in line to play Test cricket.'

The saddest aspect of England's performance was the failure of their promising spinners, Peter Such and James Boiling, to exploit helpful conditions as successfully as the New South Wales spinners had in demolishing England.

England's pace attack looked equally punchless with the exception of Andy Caddick, who yorked Chee Quee. The tourists' only other success was David Capel's smart catch at first slip to dismiss Adam Gilchrist off Boiling.

(Second day of four: England won toss)

ENGLAND A First Innings - 238 (M N Lathwell 103, G D Lloyd 60; D Freedman 6-89, G Matthews 4-40).

NEW SOUTH WALES - First Innings

(Overnight: 32-1)

R Chee Quee b Caddick 90

A Gilchrist c Capel b Boiling 47

M Bevan not out 105

T Bayliss not out 36

Extras (lb8 w1 nb6) 15

Total (for 3) 295

Fall (cont): 2-110 3-194.

To bat: B McNamara, P A Emery, G Matthews, D Freedman, W Holdsworth, G McGrath.

Bowling (to date): Millns 14-1-48-0; Caddick 23-5- 46-2; Capel 19-3-45-0; Such 33-7-74-0; Boiling 21- 3-74-1.