Sajid's talent fails to save Lancashire

Sussex 470 & 44-2 Lancashire 214 & 297 Sussex win by eight wickets
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The Independent Online

Sajid Mahmood, Lancashire's 22-year-old Bolton-born fast bowler, is expected to be included in the England squad for the NatWest one-day series, to be revealed today. If he can bowl for England as well as he has batted in this crushing defeat for his side he will be on the fast track for full caps, as an all-rounder.

Sajid Mahmood, Lancashire's 22-year-old Bolton-born fast bowler, is expected to be included in the England squad for the NatWest one-day series, to be revealed today. If he can bowl for England as well as he has batted in this crushing defeat for his side he will be on the fast track for full caps, as an all-rounder.

He has bowled better, when he appeared to be cutting down on his speed to exert greater control, than on Wednesday, when he conceded 102 runs off 19 overs. The word is that Lancashire would prefer him to develop his pace.

But the unexpected factor has been his batting, with 94 off 66 balls, with three sixes, in the first innings. He added another six, and two fours, in the second for his 24, clean hitting through the ball. We may be seeing the emergence of a major talent.

Sajid's resistance was part of a Lancashire reluctance by the middle and tail to accept a defeat looking inevitable when they restarted, 35 minutes late after rain, still 108 behind with six wickets remaining.

Carl Hooper, still feeling an injured thumb, was their leader and their hopes were raised slightly when, after bowling beamers at the nightwatchman, Gary Keedy, and Hooper, the umpire Vanburn Holder ordered Sussex's captain, Chris Adams, to take off the clearly frustrated Pakistan seamer Akram Mohammed, with Jason Lewry having to complete the over.

The two teams parted amiably enough, with handshakes, but the incident will hardly help Sussex's poor showing in the new Spirit of Cricket League, where they are currently only above Middlesex.

Keedy, nursing a bruised right hand, went next ball and when Hooper was leg before to Mushtaq Ahmed's sharp turn five overs later for 55, Warren Hegg and the tail-enders concluded that audacity was more appropriate than grit.

An innings defeat was averted and, when Sajid was last man out, Lancashire left Sussex a sufficient target, 42 runs, to exercise their own fast bowlers before the visitors achieved a first win here since 1992.

* Peter Martin should be fit to play in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy semi-final against Yorkshire here on Wednesday , when Lancashire are expecting a 10,000 crowd, but, with Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson available, he may be held back for the key Championship game against Warwickshire.

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