Cricket: Tourists' youngsters thrive

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The Independent Online
S Africa 416-8 dec and 288-4 dec Gloucestershire 403-9 dec and 134 South Africa win by 167 runs

SOUTH AFRICA'S second-string attack bounced back from the disappointment of their first-innings display to claim an emphatic victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol yesterday.

Fighting for places in this week's first Test against England at Edgbaston, the tourists' back-up bowlers failed to impress by allowing Gloucestershire to recover from 122 for 2 to declare 13 runs adrift on 403 for 9.

However, the South Africans' inability to wrap up Gloucestershire's innings was quickly shrugged off, after their county opponents were dismissed for a lowly 134 in just 31.5 overs having been set a victory target of 302 off a minimum of 66 overs on a good batting wicket.

The young fast bowling pair Makhaya Ntini and Mornantau Hayward, claimed three wickets apiece to lift the tourists' spirits ahead of the Test. Hayward grabbed 3 for 34 in a hostile 11-over spell, claimed a vital catch and played a significant part in running out Martyn Ball while Ntini, the first player from the township development programme to represent South Africa, produced an equally-threatening burst after an ineffective first-innings performance.

Lance Klusener, favourite to claim one of the bowling spots at Edgbaston, began the collapse by dismissing Gregor Macmillan, caught in the deep by Hayward, before trapping Dominic Hewson leg before three balls later.

But it was Hayward's introduction which confirmed South Africa's inevitable victory with five wickets falling in as many overs, beginning with the crucial dismissal of opener Tim Hancock, the only Gloucestershire batsman who had looked capable of withstanding the pace attack.

Hancock had battled 59 minutes for his 35, hitting six boundaries before edging Hayward - the only member of the tour party yet to play international cricket - to Darryl Cullinan at slip, and Ntini induced captain Mark Alleyne to chop onto his stumps next over.

Rob Cunliffe also had his stumps broken in Hayward's next over, and Ball followed, run out while chancing a two against the fielding of Jonty Rhodes and Paul Adams.

Reggie Williams was the next to fall, gifting Liebenberg a simple catch, while Matt Windows was caught behind off a hostile Ntini delivery. Ntini completed his three-wicket haul by having James Averis caught behind without scoring to leave Gloucestershire struggling to reach three figures.

But an unlikely last-wicket stand of 48 between Mike Smith and Jon Lewis rescued them from complete humiliation.

Lewis was last man out having hit 23 off 41 deliveries, caught by Gary Kirsten at mid-on off Brian McMillan, while Smith remained unbeaten on 31 off just 17 deliveries as Gloucestershire's innings subsided in just two-and-a-half hours.

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