Cricket: Such files class action

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Essex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .394 and 75-1

England A . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174 and 294

Essex win by 9 wickets

PETER SUCH, the Essex off-spinner, finished with career- best match figures of 11 for 124 as the county champions duly defeated the England A team in what has been possibly the most useful match, for selectorial notes, for many years.

The A team resumed two runs behind, after a start delayed until 2 pm, and resisted forcefully for another 95 minutes, their last four wickets adding another 77. Graham Lloyd, 64 overnight, continued in his favoured style, that of a heavy machine-gunner on thin ice, and had reached 95, off 117 balls, when his luck finally ran out, a skied cover catch being held on the run.

Dominic Cork had already become Such's first victim in the close-field trap and Andrew Caddick soon followed. Ian Salisbury we now know to be a considerable last-ditcher; Paul Taylor is learning, and the last pair surprisingly added 34 before Graham Gooch's double bowling change finished the innings five minutes before tea. Essex lost John Stephenson as soon as Salisbury appeared but the captain would brook no further interruptions.

What the selectors will have learned is that Mark Lathwell is confirmed as the country's most promising young batsmen. On his own admission he knows little of spin, yet he defended as well as anyone except John Crawley, who was unlucky in his second innings. Nasser Hussain has re-emerged as a prospect.

They will probably have found the bowlers on view more informative and encouraging. Mark Ilott is fit again and quick and looks ready to become the long-term replacement for John Lever for Essex and England; Caddick, winning bounce and movement, is starting to appear a Test-class bowler in English conditions.

If there is a find in this match it is Such. The off-spinner will soon be 29. Essex are his third county but his two previous clubs, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, grievously under-employed him.

Given his chance to bowl long spells by Gooch and on tour by Martyn Moxon he has developed an individual style that is bringing success, bowling his off- breaks at medium pace while his arm ball is distinctly fast-medium, ripping out stumps. The evidence is that Such is John Emburey's successor.

So if Ilott, Such, Caddick and Lathwell all emerge as full Test players in the next 18 months they will represent the first vindication of Ted Dexter's re- structuring of the nursery and training systems and even more of a triumphant graduation of the A team concept.

England A were scuttled in part by a pitch that turned by the afternoon of the second day, a development Moxon did not anticipate when he invited Essex to bat and one that he will have filed away: Yorkshire are the first Championship visitors here.

Essex have done little to diminish their Championship prospects by this performance. Salim Malik arrives this week, and Neil Foster, despite a sore knee, would have played had points been at stake. Their rivals have to hope that England call on Essex more frequently.

Graham Gooch yesterday scotched speculation about his willingness to lead England against Australia. 'I have thought long and hard about the situation and I am keen to do the job if the committee wants me to carry on,' he said. The England committee meets on Friday to decide the issue.