Cricket: Spinners make mark

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire 321 and 199

Essex 233 and 42-2

THREE Essex bowlers have played for England this summer, but when this game began only two Essex bowlers were in the top 50 of the averages, and they were both batsmen (for the record: Salim Malik and John Stephenson). A mean, dusty wicket here has changed that. With five wickets each, Peter Such and John Childs bowled Essex back into the game against Leicestershire and themselves back into a more respectable position in the averages.

Essex are used to winning here and they badly need to do so now. After winning twice on this ground last July, they established a 51-point lead in the Championship. This year they need a win to get themselves into the top half of the table.

Such and Childs gave the batsmen a target of 288. Such's match figures were 10 for 146; Childs's 8 for 170, and Such's might have been even better looking had Nasser Hussain caught Winston Benjamin at slip when he was 15. Benjamin went on to score a bold 44.

It was a pity it had to be Hussain because in the morning he had completed a splendid 103, his fifth century of the season. He twisted his knee in doing so and was off the field for a while during the afternoon.

Indeed he was joined briefly by Graham Gooch, who hurt his hand taking an excellent diving left-handed catch to dismiss James Whitaker when he was looking dangerous.

But they both came back, and the only bad news about Gooch is that he did not get a long second innings, being bowled by Benjamin for 25 when Essex were 30 for 1. At the close of play another wicket was down and there were still 250 to get. It is probably too much, but Essex usually bat well on this ground (their first innings excepted) and Southend could well be worth a detour tomorrow.

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