Cricket / Second Test: May the spinners' role long continue

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The Independent Online
FOR all England's shortcomings this has been another most convincing performance by Australia and, wonderful to relate, one that was put in place not by unrelenting fast bowling, which can become so boring, but by the skill of two admirable spin bowlers.

Tim May has been around for some time and, like so many finger spinners, is showing how they mature late on in their careers. He is 31 and bowling better than ever. The wickets of Graeme Hick and Chris Lewis before lunch on the last day were both a delight and illustrative of how he has come of age.

While not quite in the class of Fred Titmus, who was for so many years the off-spinning magician at Lord's, the arm balls which brought him both of these wickets were gems. Bowling from close to the stumps at the Pavilion End, the ball floated up the hill and away from Hick.

It was the line of the ball which made this such a fine delivery. Having prepared himself to play an off break which would have come back into him, Hick found himself much too open chested when the ball carried on up the slope.

The line was so good that he could not be certain that the ball was going to pass the off stump. With his body in the wrong position, therefore, having moved neither back nor forward, he stabbed at the ball and edged it to slip. It was a lovely piece of bowling.

Soon after this, Lewis advanced in something of a daze to another from May which was not dissimilar and was easily stumped by Ian Healy for a most dismal pair of spectacles. At the other end, Shane Warne's leg-spin accounted for a small matter of nine wickets in the match.

And even before that, a young man, Michael Slater, had started things rolling with 152 on Thursday, which caused one or two old players who should have known better to start muttering things about Don Bradman.