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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home