ALEX WHARF, the latest prospect to emerge from the cricket academy in which Yorkshire are investing so much hope during these lean times, will not quickly forget his graduation to the first- class game here yesterday.
A broad-backed 19-year-old seamer from Undercliffe in the Bradford League, David Bairstow's old club, Wharf made an encouraging debut, bowling with the air of a man who had been practising the art for rather longer than he possibly can have done.
His first ball to the left- handed Roger Twose swung in late enough for the batsman to play outside it, although it missed the stumps. His first three overs yielded just one run off the bat before he claimed the wicket of the day with his worst delivery. Wide long-hop it may have been but it was good enough to stem Brian Lara in full flow, the star of the season somehow drawn, presumably by a rush of blood, into chasing the ball and giving Richard Blakey a comfortable catch behind the stumps.
As the buzz subsided, Andy Moles and Dominic Ostler got down to business in rather more prosaic style. Mightily effective they were, too, in guiding the Championship leaders to a position of strength, the platform for a useful first-innings lead provided no disasters befall them this morning.
With Moles at his most adhesive and his partner taking a heavy toll of some unimaginative bowling on a bland pitch, the pair put on 191 in 67 overs before Moles dragged a widish delivery from left-arm spinner Richard Stemp on to his stumps.
Ostler's innings, if not quite a full consolation for Lara's demise, was a fine one nonetheless. He scored a century between lunch and tea and, at 186, was six short of equalling his career-best when knocking up a return catch to Jeremy Batty's off- spin, having hit 21 fours and one six.
He was also credited with a seven, the result of Wharf's throw-in striking the redundant helmet positioned behind the wicketkeeper as the batsmen ran two.Reuse content