McGarry livens day of slumber

High summer arrived in Essex just in time for the football season, and on a sleepy wicket here the Worcestershire batsmen pottered along at a soporific two runs an over. After a dreadful start to the season Paul Pollard ran into form last week against Nottinghamshire, with 53 and 74, and he continued the progress yesterday, albeit with excruciating caution. He and David Leatherdale built the day's only stand of substance, a painstaking 117 in 49 overs.

High summer arrived in Essex just in time for the football season, and on a sleepy wicket here the Worcestershire batsmen pottered along at a soporific two runs an over. After a dreadful start to the season Paul Pollard ran into form last week against Nottinghamshire, with 53 and 74, and he continued the progress yesterday, albeit with excruciating caution. He and David Leatherdale built the day's only stand of substance, a painstaking 117 in 49 overs.

The sizeable and sun-baked crowd showed commendable patience, and raised the biggest cheer of the day when Pollard scored a single to move off 71, where he had remained scratching about for 40 minutes and 10 overs. Another round of applause greeted the mercy killing of the big left-hander Ryan Driver, whose one run took 38 balls to compile.

The bowler was Andrew McGarry, who also ended Pollard's five and a quarter hour vigil four overs later. McGarry is 18 years old, tall and correct, and has been whistled up from South Woodford in the Essex League because of injuries to Ashley Cowan and Ricky Anderson for his first Championship debut. He maintained a commendable line and achieved variation on a track offering little. Driver nicked the ball on to his leg stump, while Pollard was stranded back on his wicket.

In a six-over spell McGarry removed the pair for 10 runs, having accounted for opener Phil Weston earlier. This was not a day for memorable deeds, but it will happily linger in young McGarry's mind. Persistent bowling and cautious batting have set up a keen, if as yet undramatic, four-day contest.

* Middlesex have won their appeal to the England and Wales Cricket Board against the eight points deducted for a poor pitch at Southgate for their match against Glamorgan.

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