Cricket / Third Test: Schoolboy errors

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The Independent Online
IT IS sometimes gratifying for ordinary cricketers to see Test players commit the sort of elementary howlers which gives schoolmasters grey hairs. The muddle between Alec Stewart and Mike Atherton was a case in point.

The early loss of Graham Gooch was a body blow and when the spinners found they could turn the ball sharply before the first hour was out, the batsmen again found themselves under pressure.

The leg-spinner, Anil Kumble, came on to bowl his first over after almost an hour's play and Stewart pushed the last ball to Sachin Tendulkar's left at cover. It took Stewart a moment to realise a run was on and then he called Atherton, who responded for about four paces before pulling up.

Stewart kept coming and was much more concerned with Atherton's refusal to respond than with what was going on behind him. Tendulkar's throw went to Kiran More's right and through his hands, and was then fumbled by Pravin Amre.

When eventually Amre picked up the ball and threw down the stumps, the two England batsmen were both in the crease at the bowler's end where neither was willing to admit that he was out. In the end it was Stewart who was given out, even though the television replay showed he had grounded his bat first.

There was a catalogue of errors. Stewart hesitated in calling for the run, Atherton should have refused the call instantly and loudly, and after that both batsmen were guilty of not watching what was going on at the wicketkeeper's end. If either had, he would have had time to make his ground.

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