Cricket: Stylish Waugh goes about his work

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The Independent Online
Worcs 448-6 dec and 15-0

Essex 300-5 dec

WAUGH - Mark, that is - and peace were in plentiful supply here as Essex went quietly about their business. Someone had to make runs after Worcestershire had built a sizeable haystack and the Australian answered the call by making his fourth Championship century of the season. With the ball keeping low, progress, though, was slow towards the priorities.

In Essex's case, these all but coincided, 299 needed to avoid the follow-on and maximum batting points in the pocket for the addition of another run. Safe to say that those sitting on high at the head of the table were not to be denied. Meanwhile, a crowd of around 3,000 ringing this pleasant ground lazed in their seats and soaked up the sun.

Visitors to Chester Road should at least get their money's worth on the last of the three days, which has hardly been the case in recent history with five of the previous six matches finishing around lunch. No, we are due for three sessions and the last couple could be pretty lively with Essex facing a long chase.

As for yesterday, it was a time for patience and rewards, Damian D'Oliveira initially benefiting when scoring the 13 needed to take him to his first three-figure contribution in the Championship for two seasons. That was well done, D'Oliveira departing very next ball leg before when relaxing and attempting a reverse sweep.

There was just one more wicket to fall prior to the Worcestershire declaration as midday approached. Essex, typically, then set off briskly. Neal Radford applied the brake and picked up the wickets of Paul Prichard and John Stephenson and for a while the new ball produced a succession of edgy shots.

Essex, mind, appeared to be in no great danger on this wicket and Waugh, like Tom Moody, his Australian colleague the day before, warmed up for forthcoming Sri Lankan pre-tour training with a healthy haul. With Nasser Hussain for company, the pair had added 153 in 39 overs before Hussain was run out in bizarre circumstances.

On 78, he straight drove Phil Weston, the ball lobbing up gently off the bowler's foot to mid-off. Hussain next appeared at the non- striker's end and had no option but to continue on his way to the pavilion. Waugh continued to occupy the crease and was still there on 138, his four and a half-hour stay laced with 14 fours and a six, when Essex declared 148 behind.

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