Cricket: Salisbury stirs in vain

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The Independent Online
Sussex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .239-6

Essex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240-2

Essex win by eight wickets

THE Southchurch Park pitch continues on its blameless way. In a positive orgy of batting, 379 runs were scored on a day for the loss of eight wickets as Essex gave Middlesex a sharp reminder that, if they should falter at the top of the table, they will do so at their peril.

Sussex, who were put in, recovered from 115 for 5 through their captain, Alan Wells, who made 110 brilliant runs, to 239 for 6 from their complement of 40 overs. Alas for Sussex this was always unlikely to be enough, and Essex went on to reach 240 for 2, winning by eight wickets with 3.1 overs left.

Bowling was never much fun on this excellent pitch, although it produced one splendid spell which was heavily tinged with intrigue. Before the start of play, Ian Salisbury will have heard from Graham Gooch that he had lost his Test place for Headingley. With Gooch himself and John Stephenson cantering towards victory, Salisbury was called upon to bowl his leg-breaks and googlies.

Gooch had reached 50 in 49 balls and was batting with disdainful ease. The fair-haired and ever- chirpy Salisbury started to pitch the ball on the spot and found some turn too. Suddenly Gooch lost patience and came charging down the pitch - but it was a googly that turned a couple of inches to bisect the gap between bat and pad and went on to hit the middle stump.

Salisbury was in transports of delight which reappeared soon afterwards when he bowled Stephenson round his legs sweeping. Salisbury's eight overs brought him 2 for 32, it was a spell of bowling which told of the determined character we had seen when he batted in the third Test match at Old Trafford. It will not have been lost on Gooch or on Keith Fletcher, who was watching from the pavilion.

When the Essex openers had gone, Mark Waugh and Paul Prichard carried on in the same vein. Both produced a series of lovely strokes against some fairly ordinary bowling, Salisbury excepted of course, and the issue was never for one moment in doubt.