Cricket: Whitaker fails to stem tide

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .318 and 188

Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .337 and 170-4

Nottinghamshire win by six wickets

PUTTING pressure on Warwickshire, the potential quadruple champions, is developing into a stealthy co-operative operation involving all the other counties. On Thursday at Edgbaston, Nottinghamshire take their turn, only 39 points behind the leaders, with five matches remaining. Half centuries from Paul Pollard and Graeme Archer yesterday lifted them to sixth place.

Leicestershire's own hopes were dented by this defeat, though they stand 26 points behind Warwickshire with a game in hand. Little love is lost when they meet Nottinghamshire, their traditional big brothers, and this match had a thread of irritation and, indeed, petulance in one instance.

David Millns, given out leg-before, first ball to Chris Lewis, pointedly looked at the bottom of his bat, thrashed it against his pad in his first stride away from the wicket and stabbed it into the turf as he left the field, with his brother-in-law, Andy Pick, the Nottinghamshire fast bowler, among those watching.

The match, slow on the first two days, eventful on the third and mostly attritional in its finale, boiled down to Nottinghamshire needing 170, starting 10 minutes before lunch.

Whitaker's second half-century, alongside two hundreds in his past seven innings, had deferred the start of Nottinghamshire's victory quest. Having arrived at 18 for 2, Whitaker was eventually bowled nine short of a deserved century by a Lewis express at 187 for 8. Millns was dismissed next ball, but Alan Mullally prevented a hat trick.

Mullally later experimented with five overs of slow left arm in an attempt to exploit the bowler's rough and emulate Jimmy Adams and Andy Afford, who combined to take six wickets, but victory was achieved with 15.5 overs to spare.