Harmison takes six wickets but is still disappointed

Stephen Harmison yesterday took a huge stride towards confirming his place on England's tour of Sri Lanka when he claimed 6 for 91 for the Highveld Lions in South Africa, but the fast bowler was far from delighted with the way he bowled. The England selectors asked Harmison to play first-class cricket in South Africa to prove his fitness and form before naming him in a 16-man squad that will play three Test matches against Sri Lanka in December and his performance against the Cape Cobras ought to have helped him achieve this.

Harmison had figures of 2 for 57 on the opening day but his pace and hostility proved too much for the Cape Cobras' middle and lower order. In 13.3 overs the 29-year-old took 4 for 34. Harmison's frustration came from the fact that his 27.3 overs contained nine no-balls and 14 wides.

"The wickets weren't everything to be honest," admitted Harmison. "I was disappointed with the way it [the ball] came out. It was difficult, to be honest. I've not really played a lot outside and I must admit I did spray it a little bit.

"I bowled a lot of wides. In the last two or three years I bowled six no-balls and I bowled nine in this game, so that tells its own story. I'm a bit rusty and I'm not fully with it, so there were good things and bad things. The positives were that I got 28 overs under my belt, I fielded for 102 overs in decent heat in very, very good competitive cricket and got six wickets.

"The downside was that my action wasn't as good as I would like, but we're a month away from the first Test match and there is still a lot to work on. I'm over the injuries and I'm fit, but the one thing I'm not is bowling fit. That's a big difference that any bowler will understand. I need to get overs under my belt and hopefully these next three or four weeks will do that."

Harmison will play a further four-day match for the Highveld Lions next week and it is hard to believe the selectors will decide to leave him out of their Test squad for Sri Lanka. But if he is to push for a place in the first Test on 1 December he will have to show greater consistency and control than he has displayed over the past two days.

Mike Watkinson has been ruled out of contention to become the director of the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough after rejecting the chance to coach the England Lions during their trip to India later this month. Watkinson, the current Lancashire coach, was interviewed twice for the position but he has been told by David Collier, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, that he is no longer on the shortlist to be Performance director.

"I'm very happy to be staying at Lancashire," said Watkinson. "It's a job that I've done for six years and I'm really happy that I'm able to continue my work to help build something special. I excused myself from the India trip because I had issues at Lancashire to sort out, such as trying to find a new captain, and I just didn't think that it was appropriate despite seeing it as a great opportunity."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue