Gough back in the groove

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THIS match pitted the light blues of England, fortified with a smattering of fresh blood from home, against the dark blues of Western Province. Michael Atherton's side wore the colours of his old university and, with one or two exceptions, they played like them too, losing a tense match by three wickets.

It is not often that a score of 196 is defendable, and although it looked likely at one stage that England might manage it, a stunning knock of 55 not out from only 39 balls from Faiek Davids saw his side home with an over to spare. Eighteen runs were taken from the penultimate over bowled by Craig White.

With the wicketkeeper, Paul Kirsten, to keep him company, Province needed 23 runs from 18 balls. England needed wickets, but neither White, nor Phillip DeFreitas could oblige.

It was England's most embarrassing loss of the tour, particularly as they are being touted as second favourites for the World Cup. If those players who started the tour perhaps lacked the necessary application for this scratch match they should have been tempered by those newly arrived and keen to brush off the British winter. Apart from the mayhem at the end, those who wanted to do well did so.

This did not include the England openers and the visitors were soon 13 for three, with Atherton, Mark Ramprakash and Graham Thorpe all falling to the pace of Meyrick Pringle.

Ramprakash, who went first ball to a brilliant catch at cover by Davids, appeared mortified when umpire Robbie Brooks raised his finger. It was the worst possible start for him and England, though this was expertly turned around by Craig White.

Together he and Neil Fairbrother took the score to 95 before White was caught off Dave Rundle's off-spin. Fairbrother kept the score ticking over until he perished too on 46. From thereon in only Jack Russell, played sensibly.

Darren Gough, who opened the bowling with a no-ball settled quickly and later took his first wicket since November, when he clean bowled Pringle for nought.

Western Province were slowed by some accurate bowling from White and the off-spinner Neil Smith, who took a smart catch off his own bowling to dismiss the left-hander Sven Koenig for 24.

Forced to up the tempo, the home side lost wickets quickly, but just as their prospects looked bleak, Davids bold arrival changed the game.


(Cape Town; England won toss)

G Thorpe c Gibbs b Pringle 7

*M Atherton c Kirsten b Pringle 4

M Ramprakash c Davids b Pringle 0

N Fairbrother c Commins b Davids 46

C White c Davids b Rundle 46

D Reeve st Kirsten b Rundle 23

J Russell b Martyn 29

M Watkinson c Commins b Mitchell 14

P DeFreitas b Pringle 6

N Smith not out 14

D Gough run out 0

Extras (lb6, w1) 7

Total (49.5 overs) 196

Fall of wickets: 1-11 2-11 3-13 4-95 5-129 6-134 7-153 8-166 9-196 10- 196.

Bowling: Pringle 10-1-34-4 (w1), Martyn 9.5-1-36-1, Cilliers 4-0-29- 0, Mitchell 10-1-37-1, Rundle 10-2-27-2, Davids 6-0-27-1.

Western Province

S Koenig c and b Smith 24

D Rundle c Thorpe b DeFreitas 15

H D Ackerman not out 18

*J Commins c Gough b Watkinson 24

M W Pringle b Gough 0

H Gibbs c Atherton b Reeve 5

F Davids not out 55

T Mitchell b White 8

P Kirsten not out 32

Extras (lb7 w6 nb3) 16

Total (for 7, 49 overs) 200

Fall: 1-31 2-50 3-91 4-91 5-97 6-119 7-132.

Did not bat: A Cilliers, A Martyn.

Bowling: Gough 10-2-31-1; DeFreitas 10-2-37-1; White 10-1-42-1; Smith 6-1-16-1; Reeve 8-1-44-1; Watkinson 5-0-23-2.

Umpires: N Bagus and R Brooks.

Western Province won by three wickets.