Cricket: Slater leads Aussie charge

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The Independent Online
A CAREER-BEST 221 by their opener, Michael Slater, gave Australia a flying start to their tour of Pakistan as they reached 438 for 5 against Karachi on the first day of the four-day match yesterday.

Half-centuries by Steve and Mark Waugh further boosted the innings and they exploited the pedestrian Karachi attack, maintaining a run-rate of more than 4.5 an over. The only disappointed batsman was Mark Taylor who scored only one. The last time the Australian captain played here four years ago, he collected a pair.

Slater, dropped on the third ball of the match, batted for over five hours, receiving 260 balls. He hit 24 boundaries and six sixes. He was involved in two fruitful partnerships after Taylor won the toss and elected to bat. For the second wicket, he added 132 runs with Mark Waugh whose 94-ball 66 included seven fours and two sixes. For the third wicket, he put on 221 runs in just 132 minutes with Steve Waugh, who made 92.

The future of Middlesex's Australian coach, John Buchanan, was looking uncertain following a statement issued by the club yesterday. Vinnie Codrington, the Middlesex secretary, said: "There's been much speculation regarding the coaching situation. However, certain individuals will need to be spoken to privately and confidentially before any announcements are made."

It now seems that the way is clear for Mike Gatting, who retired at the end of this season, to take over.

Alan Jones has retired as Glamorgan's director of coaching after 42 years with the county. The 59-year-old opener scored 36,049 runs in first-class cricket, a record for a non-Test player. He was appointed county coach in 1984.

TOUR MATCH (Karachi; first day of four): Australia 438 for 5 (M J Slater 221, S R Waugh 92, M E Waugh 66) v Karachi.