White's century shifts balance of power

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Patron's XI 237 & 49-1 England 433

Patron's XI 237 & 49-1 England 433

It was a measure of Craig White's reduced status as a batsman that when he went to the crease at the start of play here yesterday the Patron's XI assumed he was a nightwatchman.

White had come in the previous night, faced 22 balls, defended well and now the opposition wanted him to do the decent thing, finish his shift and push off. To encourage him, they gave him a degree of what cricketers call "chirp", which was their second mistake.

Not only was White not a nightwatchman, he was inspired by the verbal attention. Some four hours later the home side were well aware of their oversight. They might not have been aware that they had been unwilling witnesses to White's first century for two years, which propelled England to a position of such command that they might well win this warm-up game on a wearing, fourth-day pitch.

The tourists are 147 runs ahead, the Patron's XI have nine of their second innings wickets left. The ball is turning and it is up England's spinners to turn it. The indications were that they will.

The Yorkshire all-rounder who was threatening to drop the batting part of his trade stayed for 258 minutes and struck 14 fours and two sixes. It was a bristling innings which began with a studied watchfulness and ended with a series of powerful, unfettered lofted drives.

It would be an error on the scale of that made by the Patron's XI to assume that this makes White a Test No 7 to be reckoned with, but it was a pleasantly overdue display. He had made the eighth and most recent century of his career in September, 1998, against Surrey. In 1999, White's first-class batting average was 17.69 (compared to a career figure above 30) and last summer he reduced this to 12.50.

There was a purposefulness about him as he plundered the spinners, Munir Ansari and Mohammad Shafiq. Paul Nixon gave him hesitant support, Ashley Giles and Ian Salisbury were rather more assured. It can only have helped them all to play spin slightly better.

White was asked what method of playing them he would adopt. "I'll probably sweep more than usual," he said to groans. But he added with a smile: "And then I'll go down the wicket and hit them over mid-off." A nightwatchman indeed.

Third day of four; Patron's XI won toss

PATRON'S XI First innings 237 (Qaisar Abbas 71; M J Hoggard 5-62).

ENGLAND

First innings

(overnight: 212 for 4)

M A Atherton c Mohammad Shafiq b Mohammad Sami 22 M E Trescothick c Imran Abbas b Mohammad Akram 8 M P Vaughan c Javed Qadeer b Mohammad Akram 3 *G P Thorpe c Mohammad Wasim b Qaisar Abbas 88 G A Hick c Naveed Ashraf b Mohammad Sami 81 C White c Javed Qadeer b Mohammad Akram 120 ÿP A Nixon b Mohammad Shafiq 31 D G Cork b Mohammad Shafiq 0 A F Giles lbw b Qaisar Abbas 39 I D K Salisbury not out 17 M J Hoggard b Mohammad Akram 0 Extras (lb10 nb14) 24

Total (120.5 overs) 433

Falls: 1-21, 2-33, 3-52, 4-196, 5-223, 6-306, 7-306, 8-389, 9-433.

Bowling: Mohammad Akram 23.5-3-105-4 (nb3); Mohammad Sami 15-2-69-2 (nb5); Mohammad Shafiq 37-10-99-2 (nb5); Salman Shah 3-1-12-0; Munir Ansari 22-2-90-0 (nb1); Qaisar Abbas 19-5-34-2; Mohammad Naveed Ashraf 1-0-14-0.

PATRON'S XI

Second Innings

Naveed Ashraf not out 23 Imran Abbas c Nixon b Salisbury 12 Kamran Ali not out 12 Extras (b1 lb1) 2

Total (for 1) 49

Fall: 1-26.

Bowling: Hoggard 5-1-10-0; Cork 5-2-9-0; Giles 6-3-10-0; Salisbury 6-0-18-1.

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