Cricket: Wild Wylie strikes a blow for youth

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The Independent Online
Worcs 203 and 28-0; Notts 233

ALEX WYLIE yesterday proved exactly why Worcestershire have great expectations of him. The 20-year-old Wylie, though wild in direction, bounced out Bruce French, a maiden first-class victim, hit wicket, on another attritional day.

Wylie, who wears a special boot because of a slightly deformed foot, hit French on the left shoulder - who later needed a precautionary X-ray - with a sharp lifter and the batsman keeled over into his stumps. Paul Pollard kept wicket as deputy for French at the start of the second innings

Worcestershire were still the dishevelled ones, seeing the potential bowling benefits of 129 for 6, a lead of 74, disappear as Greg Mike came closest to a first half-century in this blissfully sunlit game.

With odd exceptions, the initial feeling about the four-day Championship format is that teams are not scoring more runs, but just doing it more slowly. The two on view here have added weight to that view, on a pitch that on the second day was showing increasing signs of response for the bowlers.

Wylie, Tamworth-born and Bromsgrove-educated, bounded in with youthful exuberance. Twice he sent four wides hurtling past the bemused Steve Rhodes, who is unused to such eccentricities from the reliable line and length merchants who helped Worcestershire to two successive Championships in the 1980s.

They look likely to be without Ken Benjamin, their new West Indies Test bowler, for another week as he is required as cover for Ian Bishop in the Caribbean but the not-so-old faithfuls operated efficiently. Stuart Lampitt, at 26, needing to cement his future in the game, dismissed Pollard, Derek Randall and Mark Crawley for 33 runs and Phil Newport also took three wickets, including the important one of Chris Cairns, caught in the gully when going well.

Cairns, and later Mike, were the solitary players to use the middle of the bat as the ball moved around, despite the bright, clear conditions.

Before he had scored, Mike offered a two-handed, low return catch to Illingworth, who then failed in a side footed run-out attempt as the batsman scored his first single in an innings which may have considerable relevance to the outcome.