England suffer in freak show

Russell's 93 a rare show of defiance as South Africa's whirring dervish of spin destroys the tourists
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ENGLAND'S gentle preamble to this tour suddenly took a wrong turn here yesterday. Forced to follow-on by South Africa A, the visitors ended the day 136 for four in their second innings, still 26 runs in arrears. With the first Test just days away it was, as Raymond Illingworth said, "less than ideal", with the England chairman putting the lapse down to the unusual bowling action of Paul Adams, who added four wickets to the three he took on Friday.

"We were going along just fine," Illingworth said, "until this freak- boy came along. He's a bit unusual when you first face him, but he'll get easier when you've seen him a few times."

Adams, apparently nicknamed Goggo by his Western Province team-mates, wheeled away with his insect-like action. But although the mystique has worn 24 hours thinner, he still bowled well enough for Ali Bacher to be sounded out as to whether he might be added to South Africa's XII for the first Test. Bacherthought it unlikely, but could not rule it out, being unable to contact Peter Pollock, South Africa's convener of selectors.

Adams apart, England were bowled out for 308 by the kind of attack they might see on a daily basis at county level. Once again familiar frailties against an aggressive opposition surfaced and if it had not been for Jack Russell's own idiosyncratic riposte, as well as a spate of dropped catches by the home team, England could have been twiddling their thumbs today.

This, apart from the pyschological dent to their preparation for the Tests, does not even have much R and R value. Despite the cloudless skies and sweltering 100 degree temperatures, Kimberley is not by any stretch of the imagination the vacation capital of South Africa, and Russell clearly felt his time would be better spent at the cricket than poised over the town's main attraction, the Big Hole, with paints and easel.

Wearing sunglasses under his helmet, and sundry bits of padding, Russell looked more like Robocop than a slightly built stumper, and his batting was at times just as savage as he launched himself at anything short and off line. His unbeaten 93 included 18 fours and he farmed the tail quite superbly, eking out 111 runs for the last three wickets.

Only Malcolm's failure to keep out a fizzing Adams' full toss prevented him from reaching three figures, and afterwards Illingworth paid compliments to Russell's "super form" and the way he has improved his batting by "working it out for himself". He even suggested that Russell might bat at six if next week's Test strip were to coax England into playing two spinners.

Illingworth also thought Robin Smith had done enough, feeling the Hampshire man had "got a bit of confidence back". After the first day's play Angus Fraser had lost eight pounds in weight. Smith, always keen to trim his girth, found he had not lost so much as an ounce.

Quizzing the team doctor, Philip Bell, as to why this should be, Smith was informed that the pounds might just begin to slip off if he spent more time at the crease. It was advice he clearly followed with his 133- ball innings of 48, even looking calm and assured against the whirring wrist-spin of Adams.

His captain, Mike Atherton, was looking equally at home on the true pitch until Lance Kulsener brought one back at him off the pitch to have him lbw for a patient 53. It was a fate Atherton endured once more when England batted again, this time for a duck as he padded up to a rare straight ball from the opening bowler Steven Jack.

Atherton, according to Allan Donald who was in Kimberley yesterday for treatment on a strained groin, has been identified as England's key player and will be specifically targeted by South Africa' fast bowlers as a result. However, with Craig Matthews and Brett Schultz injured as well, South Africa may have to start by getting some treatment before dishing it out to England's captain.

With Atherton gone, Alec Stewart, having been dropped at mid-on trying to loft Adams over the top, reached his fifty before being caught by John Commins attempting the same shot to the same bowler. At 97 for two, England were in urgent need of some painstaking repair work. Graham Thorpe looked every bit as ill at ease against the whirring dervish as he had done in the first innings. His running slog at Adams, which offered a simple stumping for Steve Palframan, was sheer desperation.

However Graeme Hick, despite being on a pair, started by pulling his second ball for six over mid-wicket. With Smith's form in doubt, the spotlight has been off Hick, a small mercy he will have been grateful for and he moved powerfully to 22. With one ball to go, Adams slipped Mark Ramprakash the chinaman, a delivery that comes into the right-hander, and one he rarely bowls. Having played well for his 42, Ramprakash, perhaps expecting the bowler's stock ball that turns to off, played half-forward and was adjudged lbw. England's stumble was just another eloquent day in the burgeoning career of Paul Adams.

l Shaun Pollock, the 22-year-old son of South Africa's convener of selectors, Peter Pollock, has been approached by Warwickshire with a view to replacing Allan Donald as the county champions' overseas professional in 1996. Pollock, a fast-bowling all-rounder, is in South Africa's XII for next week's first Test.

Smith's mind game, page 30

Scoreboard

(South Africa A won toss)

SOUTH AFRICA A - First Innings

P J R Steyn c Thorpe b Gough 17

A M Bacher c Watkinson b Gough 116

J H Kallis b Hick 93

*J B Commins c Russell b Fraser 27

L J Wilkinson c Thorpe b Malcolm 16

L Klusener lbw b Gough 61

S J Palframan c Hick b Watkinson 30

N Boje c Stewart b Hick 22

S D Jack b Watkinson 44

R Telemachus not out 9

Extras (b16, lb6, w2, nb11) 35

Total (for 9 dec, 142 overs) 470

Fall: 1-33, 2-214, 3-261, 4-290, 5-294, 6-362, 7-395, 8-418, 9-470.

Did not bat: P Adams.

Bowling: Malcolm 22-3-88-1; Gough 29-6-85-3; Fraser 25-3-78-1; Watkinson 42-8-137-2; Thorpe 4-1-15-0; Hick 14-3-34-2; Ramprakash 6-1-11-0.

ENGLAND - First Innings

*M A Atherton lbw b Klusener 53

A J Stewart b Adams 34

M R Ramprakash c Palframan b Kallis 1

G P Thorpe c Klusener b Adams 1

G A Hick c and b Adams 0

R A Smith c Palframan b Kallis 48

R C Russell not out 93

M Watkinson b Boje 2

D Gough st Palframan b Boje 26

A R C Fraser lbw b Kallis 5

D E Malcolm b Adams 13

Extras (b14, lb9, w9) 32

Total (106.3 overs) 308

Fall: 1-55, 2-58, 3-59, 4-59, 5-135, 6-179, 7-197, 8-245, 9-262.

Bowling: Jack 10-4-31-0; Telemachus 11-2-41-0; Klusener 21-3-67-1; Kallis 15-4-32-3; Adams 28.3-9-65-4; Boje 21-7-49-2.

Second Innings

*M A Atherton lbw b Jack 0

A J Stewart c Commins b Adams 56

M R Ramprakash lbw b Adams 42

G P Thorpe st Palframan b Adams 3

G A Hick not out 23

Extras (b5, w6, nb1) 12

Total (for 4, 54 overs) 136

Fall: 1-2, 2-97, 3-101, 4-136.

To bat: R A Smith, R C Russell, M Watkinson, D Gough, A R C Fraser, D E Malcolm.

Bowling: Jack 2-0-5-1; Telemachus 4-1-16-0; Klusener 2-0-12-0; Adams 19-2-71-3; Kallis 10-3-12-0; Boje 17-8-15-0.

Umpires: D L Orchard and R E Koertzen.

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