Warne working hard in quest for the magic touch

Middlesex v Hamsphire

Warne completed the third-fastest hundred of the season in the second over of the second day of this game against Middlesex. He slogged the first ball of the day to the extra cover boundary, and two off the first ball of the second over brought up his second century of the season.

He had come in with the score on 176 for 6 and taken it to 342 for 9. It was a true captain's innings. He modestly raised his helmet to his teammates and with hardly a pause, edged Mel Betts to first slip on 101. His hundred took 79 balls, he was in for 91 minutes in all, and he hit three sixes and 12 fours.

But we had not come to watch Warne bat. He started to bowl with three overs left before lunch, and continued directly after lunch, clearly intending to make up for time consumed by domestic turmoil. Bowling unchanged between lunch and tea, he sent down 19 overs, with three maidens, and took two wickets for 52 runs.

The bowling was not quite as good as the figures. The first of his two wickets came from a stupendous leaping catch at square leg, by Shaun Udal, to dismiss Ed Joyce just when he was beginning to get the measure of Warne.

The second hit short leg on the back before ballooning to Dimitri Mascarenhas at square leg. But with overs under his belt, he had begun to settle and the middle order found him difficult to score off.

He is still fascinating to watch - and listen to, because he grunts as if he was playing at Wimbledon.

These days, the arm sometimes looks surprisingly low, especially when he wants the ball to bite. When he pitches the ball up, the arm comes across higher and, yesterday at least, he tended to over-pitch and a number of full tosses were belted to the boundary.

Warne versus Ed Joyce was the most interesting, and potentially important, passage of play. Joyce, the hero of Ireland, aspires to a place in the England team, though the International Cricket Council seems determined to obstruct a quick transfer. While he did not always look comfortable against Warne - he survived one passionate shout for lbw from the Australian - he took nine off one over, straight driving and pulling boundaries.

There were six fours in Joyce's fifty, and the delivery that dismissed him could just as easily have flown for four. This was Joyce's 11th score over 50 in 14 innings this summer and in this round with Warne, he would have won on points.

Whether Warne was lucky or not, he was leading Hampshire into a strong position against Middlesex on a wicket which is reputed to be the softest featherbed in England.

Not in this match. John Emburey, Middlesex's coach, asked for more bounce and carry, and he was getting it at the cost of his own batsmen.

Mascarenhas took 2 for 35 and two catches as Middlesex's sixth wicket fell when they were still more than 150 in arrears. And when the seventh wicket fell it was to a superb catch wide to first slip's left hand. The catcher? Warne of course.

Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing