Cricket: Versatile White makes his case

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 408-5 dec

New Zealand 173 and 98-1

IT MAY be as hard now to keep Craig White out of England's Test team as it is to keep him out of the headlines. For the second day running here yesterday, the 24-year- old Yorkshire all-rounder stole the show.

After his fluent 59 from 65 balls on Tuesday, White turned in an eye-catching performance - wearing his bowling hat - to be instrumental in another rotten day for the New Zealanders, who were dismissed for 173 in reply to Yorkshire's 408 for 5 declared. For the second time in the Tetley Bitter Challenge series, the tourists were required to follow-on.

White's 5 for 42 comes hard on the heels of 108 not out and a career-best 5 for 40 against Essex last week, since when he has been the name on everyone's lips here, including, significantly, those of the chairman of selectors. Ray Illingworth's regard for White's potential has scarcely been concealed.

There is a nagging worry that this may be another bandwagon of only temporary momentum, but the case for his inclusion at Trent Bridge is strong, if only on the basis of striking while the iron is hot. White, who bowled off- breaks during his upbringing in Australia, changed to medium-pace seamers only last season. The surprise factor is thus fresh and the pace he generates off a short, gentle run - not far behind Darren Gough's when he lets one go - confuses his opponents.

It was discomfiting enough for the tourists here to bring a rapid decline. Reduced to 17 for 2 by Peter Hartley's opening spell, their recovery was derailed when White entered the attack. In the space of 12 balls his changes of pace accounted for Ken Rutherford and Mark Greatbatch.

His speed off an easy-paced track also unhinged Stephen Fleming and although Blair Hartland, one short of a half- century, and Adam Parore - struck on the head and hand in one painful over - contributed to their own downfall, White's figures were no better than he deserved, overshadowing a two-wicket Yorkshire debut by the West Indian bowler, Lesroy Weekes.

The tourists made a better fist of things second time around - Hartland unbeaten on 60 when bad light ended play early - but, inevitably, it was White, although flagging by now, who made the first breakthrough.