Cricket: Simmons in festival mood

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MIKE GATTING chose the festive setting of Jesmond yesterday to revive memories of his pomp. For the watching Keith Fletcher, however, the taste of defeat was even more familiar.

Gatting uncorked some typically belligerent blows to make 90 off 109 balls, yet his efforts were insufficient to enable an England XI to offer any serious threat to a Rest of the World total of 309 for 5 from their allotted 55 overs.

The star-studded guest side ultimately prevailed by 37 runs, a margin that owed much to a century stand from their West Indian openers. Gordon Greenidge - who took over as captain when Viv Richards cried off with hayfever - made 59 but was overshadowed by his successor as Desmond Haynes's partner, Phil Simmons, whose 104 included three sixes. One cleared some three-storey houses adjoining the ground, allegedly the biggest blow on the tiny Newcastle ground for 44 years.

The Man of the Match award, however, went to India's latest batting prodigy, 22-year-old Ajay Jadeja, whose immaculate timing brought him 87 off 94 balls.