CRICKET: Young England confirm promise

Australia U-19 173 & 196 England U-19 171 & 202-2 England win by 8 wkts

GOUGH AND Flanagan does not have quite the same ring as Hutton and Washbrook, or even Atherton and Maddy, but, if the future is kind, there seems no reason why Young England's accomplished pair of openers should not carry their partnership to the summit. Their sumptuous batting here, admittedly on the best surface of the match, took England to a win in the first of a three Test-match series, an encouraging result after their 2-1 loss in the one-day internationals.

Michael Gough, a tall, powerful right-hander, may be the first son of Hartlepool to play for England. Ian Flanagan, a neat, compact left-hander from Essex, complements his partner. Some of Gough's off- driving of the Australian quick bowlers early yesterday carried the crack of cannon. Flanagan, quick off his legs, profits from anything pitched leg-side of middle.

England needed another 184 when play resumed on a drier, faster field. They had scored 15 in six twilight overs on Wednesday and set off so positively that they scored at a run a minute up to lunch, adding 120 in two hours. Gough, when 22, might just have been caught down the leg side off Damien MacKenzie but Sean Clingeleffer would have needed Peter Schmeichel's reach to have held the catch.

The pair had reached 140 when, in the second over after lunch, Flanagan fell at short leg, trying to turn the slow left-arm spinner Michael Clarke, Australia's vice-captain. Gough was 95, with seven runs needed for victory, off 198 balls when he was caught at slip off the off-spinner Nathan Hauritz, and Warwickshire's Ian Bell and Mike Carberry of Surrey had to see England home with fielders breathing down their necks.

England's manager, Tim Boon, praised his captain and his team: "Gough played with flair but he has a solid foundation to his game that will serve him well beyond here. I'm confident these players will go on to greater things."

Australia have two further Tests, at Bristol and Chester-le-Street, either side of an interesting three-day fixture at Harrogate against England Under-18s, the likely nucleus of the side which will defend the Under- 19 World Cup.

Scoreboard, page 23

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