Cricket / Second Cornhill Test: England are given touch of menace by Gough: The Headingley faithful have something to cheer about as a Yorkshireman embodies a lone revial

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England 477-9 dec; South Africa 31-1

IN THE list of historic landmarks, 'man lands on moon' is a more recent entry than 'Yorkshire win County Championship', and even though Headingley crowds rarely turn up nowadays overdosing on expectation, most of yesterday's cricket in the second Test would have tested even their powers of stoical endurance.

Much of the day was spent watching England inexorably grinding their way into a position from which even they will find it difficult to lose, but the crowd had their reward four overs from the close when Darren Gough struck an important pyschological blow with the wicket of Andrew Hudson. As Gough hails from Barnsley, the previous five and a half hours of trench warfare was instantly forgotten in a spontaneous outbreak of delirium.

England's batting may not have raised pulse rates to dangerously high levels, but 477 runs on a pitch of increasingly uncertain bounce gives them a more than decent chance of levelling this series at 1-1. It was also the highest total made against South Africa in the 16 matches since their return to Test cricket.

Until Gough's late strike, by far the greatest moment of excitement arrived in mid-afternoon, when Gough himself walked out to bat. At any other venue, this would not have caused much of a commotion at the bar (except perhaps to get into it) but as the last Yorkshire player (as opposed to Yorkshireman) to wield a bat in a Headingley Test was Chris Old in 1981, Gough received a standing ovation all the way to the middle.

Headingley is no longer on the permanent Test rota, largely because the crowds have dropped off, and the crowds have dropped off largely because England no longer select Yorkshire players. Gough's selection alone made a vast difference to ticket sales at an abidingly parochial venue.

It is not difficult to believe the story of the spectator at a Headingley Test years ago, puzzled at the non-arrival of his chum. He finally arrived and said: 'Sorry I'm late, but the wife's left me.' His companion replied: 'And a've even worse news for thee. Hutton's out.'

Whatever else has come of this summer, and not a lot has, then Gough is a genuine plus. Apart from having Andrew Hudson snaffled up by Mike Atherton at third slip, Gough once again bowled with genuine hostility, even though the nastiest ball of the day was delivered at him rather than by him.

Allan Donald, decidedly miffed at having twice been hit for four by Gough, bowled a bouncer of such venom that it not only left a burn mark on Gough's visor, but it also resulted in the batsmen running a bye when the wicketkeeper could only get his fingertips to it.

Otherwise, Donald (handicapped by a badly bruised toe) was largely as ineffective as South Africa's other bowlers yesterday, and the lack of variety which is the inevitable consequence of not selecting a spinner told heavily against them, even on a ground where England are currently picking specialist spinners on a seven-year cycle.

This was also another sultry day on which the ball, rather oddly, failed to swing. The groundsman has a curious theory about Headingley, in that the ball only swings when the ground and air temperatures react to suck up a strip of mist from the subsoil of a square which is built on an old corporation rubbish tip.

So now we know. Forget all this old tosh about dollops of lip salve, scratching up one side with a bottle top, and handfuls of dirt, all you have to do is lay 22 yards of turf over some old decaying fishheads and a few empty baked bean cans.

There was a short period before lunch in which the ball was mostly swinging after it had cleared the onside field, but once South Africa had worked out that half-way down the pitch is not the place to bowl to Alec Stewart, the day settled down again into England chiselling out as many runs as possible.

John Crawley's contribution of 38 in a stand of 115 with Stewart was more important than his actual output, and not least to his own confidence after a nervous debut at Lord's. However, for someone with such a sweet cover drive, Crawley is so on-side biased that he is an lbw decision waiting to happen. Sure enough, on the stroke of lunch, he shuffled across and missed a straight one from Chris Matthews.

Stewart, 11 runs short of an eighth Test century, was bowled playing back to a ball from Brian McMillan which darted inside his bat, and England's run-gathering was then left to Steve Rhodes and Gough.

The exiled Yorkshireman took three and a half hours over his 65 not out, while Gough batted like a man who could barely wait to get out and bowl. And when he did, it was compelling stuff.

----------------------------------------------------------------- HEADINGLEY SCOREBOARD ----------------------------------------------------------------- (England won toss) ENGLAND - First Innings (Overnight: 268 for 4) A J Stewart b McMillan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 (228 min, 171 balls, 15 fours) J P Crawley lbw b Matthews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 (158 min, 113 balls, 6 fours) S J Rhodes not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65 (200 min, 144 balls, 11 fours) P A J DeFreitas b Donald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 (50 min, 34 balls, 2 fours) D Gough run out (G Kirsten-Richardson) . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 (75 min, 60 balls, 3 fours) A R C Fraser c Cronje b de Villiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 (32 min, 18 balls, 1 four) Extras (b1 lb5 nb12). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Total (for 9 dec, 680 min, 160.3 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . 477 Fall (cont): 5-350 (Crawley), 6-367 (Stewart), 7-394 (DeFreitas), 8-447 (Gough), 9-477 (Fraser). Did not bat: P C R Tufnell. Bowling: Donald 29-2-135-1 (nb5) (3-0-18-0, 3-0-12-0, 7-1-35-0, 7-1-30-0, 3-0-13-0, 6-0-27-1); De Villiers 39.3-12-108-3 (nb8) (2-1-6-0, 6-2-11-1, 5-1-23-1, 4-0-17-0, 8-2-27-0, 8-5-8-0, 6.3-1-16-1); Matthews 39-7-97-1 (7-2-13-0, 5-2-12-0, 6-0-20-0, 8-1-20-0, 4-2-5-1, 6-0-16-0, 3-0-11-0); McMillan 37-12-93-3 (5-3-6-0, 5-0-26-0, 7-3-11-2, 6-2-19-0, 6-2-14-1, 8-2-17-0); Cronje 16-3-38-0 (nb1) (1-0-4-0, 1-1-0-0, 4-0-7-0, 7-2-11-0, 3-0-16-0). New ball: 86 overs, 271-4. 300: 401 min, 93.4 overs. 350: 476 min, 112.2 overs. Lunch: 350-5 (Stewart 79, Rhodes 0) 114 overs. 400: in 581 min, 136.3 overs. Tea: 425-7 (Rhodes 25, Gough 21) 142 overs. 450: 651 min, 153.3 overs. Innings closed: 5.17pm. Stewart 50: 122 min, 86 balls, 8 fours. Rhodes 50: 183 mins, 131 balls, 8 fours. SOUTH AFRICA - First innings A C Hudson c Atherton b Gough. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 (18 min, 19 balls, 1 four) G Kirsten not out. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 (37 min, 18 balls) D J Richardson not out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 (18 min, 18 balls, 2 fours) Extras (lb1 nb1). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Total (for 1, 37 min, 9 overs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Fall: 1-13 (Hudson). To bat: W J Cronje, * K C Wessels, P N Kirsten, J N Rhodes, B M McMillan, C R Matthews, P S de Villiers, A A Donald. Bowling: Gough 5-0-25-1 (nb1); DeFreitas 4-1-5-0 (one spell each). Umpires: S R Dunne and D R Shepherd. Replay umpire: J C Balderstone. -----------------------------------------------------------------

County reports Scoreboard, page 19

(Photograph omitted)

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