Foster fined by Essex for outburst

Lancashire 218; Essex 178-7
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James Foster, the Essex and England wicketkeeper, was in the dog-house yesterday after being fined by the county and severely reprimanded for verbally abusing an Essex member on Wednesday.

The incident happened when the 23-year-old Durham University graduate was trudging off late in the day following his third-ball duck in the Essex first innings.

David East, the Essex chief executive, said: "James has acknowledged that his outburst during our Championship match against Lancashire yesterday was totally unacceptable and has apologised to the spectator. He has been fined £400 by the club and made aware of his responsibilities for the future. With the agreement of the gentleman concerned the matter is now closed."

According to associates at the club, the incident is out of character - although it is not the first time Foster has been in trouble. During England's third one-day international against Zimbabwe in Harare in October 2001 he became involved in an incident with Andy Flower, now a county colleague. On that occasion Foster escaped a fine, but was severely reprimanded. The official charge against Foster being: Disturbed A Flower at the crease.

Very little disturbed the Zimbabwean in this match, not even the delayed start, which cost 45 overs. Indeed, he looked set for a half-century before he made room to cut the 114th ball of his innings and fell lbw to Carl Hooper. Suddenly, Essex were wobbling.

They had earlier lost Nasser Hussain, who had looked in supreme form cutting and driving his way to an attractive half-century in an 88-run stand for the third wicket with Flower. Hussain had hit nine boundaries in his 71-ball outing, including an upper cut for six over third man, when he fell at short leg after Glen Chapple got one to lift sharply.

That was shortly before tea, after which there was further gloom when Aftab Habib was out off a short ball from Chapple that he played on.

For a while Flower and Ronnie Irani steadied things, adding a cautious 34 for the fifth wicket, but first Flower fell, then the Essex captain's off-stump was uprooted by Peter Martin. James Middlebrook was then caught and bowled off Chris Schofield's second ball and when further rain ended proceedings leaving Essex 40 runs adrift.

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