Cricket: Slow South Africa hit record score

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The Independent Online
Sussex 358-7 dec and 91-6

South Africa 613-8 dec

Match drawn

FARCE visited the the south coast yesterday. The funniest lines came when South Africa declared at tea but forgot to tell anyone.

Rules are rules and Kepler Wessels, the captain, was the fall guy as Peter Wight, the senior umpire, shooed fielders and batsmen away.

The tourists, no doubt inadvertently, slipped past the highest score they had ever made against a county - 611 when the South Africans played Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1904.

Peter Kirsten and Brian McMillan, already in residence overnight, went on to make centuries. By this stage, Sussex may have felt like raising the white flag, but then they had taken an age over their own run-making on Wednesday and had batted on the following morning.

'It suits us to have some batting practice,' Mike Procter, the South African coach, said, 'with the one-day matches against England following the Test series at the end of the tour.'

Alan Wells, the Sussex captain, did try to hasten things by bringing himself on to bowl. He had not sent down a single first-class ball last season and there were not too many of them now, come to think of it.

Wells did, however, remove McMillan, the man of the match, for 132, his only victim here since Steve Rhodes was sent packing in June 1991. These little snippets are useful on such days when the Tetley Bitter Challenge is anything but, even if South Africa did have Sussex rushing to pad up after Pat Symcox, the spinner who came close to a hat-trick, had claimed three wickets in eight balls for a four-wicket haul.

At that point, the tourists must have regretted not declaring earlier.

SOMERSET have fined the spinner, Brad Donelan, pounds 250 for ball-tampering. Donelan admitted lifting the seam during a Second XI match against Nottinghamshire this week. The Test and County Cricket Board has approved Somerset's decision and will take no further action.