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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas