Herzberg the hero

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The Independent Online
Kent 575

Leicestershire 303 and 151

Kent won by innings & 121 runs

BORN in England, brought up in Australia - that seems to be the necessary background for the modern county cricketer. At Canterbury yesterday, Steve Herzberg, a 27-year-old off-spinner, joined those ranks when, making his Kent debut, he took five for 33 to help his county to their first Championship win of the season, after they had begun it with two successive defeats.

Herzberg was born in Carshalton and his family emigrated to Australia when he was nine. He spent 1990 and 1991 playing for the Worcestershire second XI before graduating to Sheffield Shield cricket with Western Australia and then Tasmania.

At 6ft 4in, Herzberg doesn't have the smoothest of actions, but he varied the flight and made the most of limited turn. He is supposed to be able to bat a bit as well, although he was out first ball in Kent's innings.

These were not the most testing circumstances in which to prove one's mettle, though. Having been dismissed for 303 in their first innings, Leicestershire were following on before Herzberg began to make his mark. But with Martin McCague in hostile mood and Min Patel contributing three for 59, he helped end Leicestershire's faint hopes of saving the game.

After beating Essex in their opening fixture, Leicestershire have rather fallen apart, suffering defeat within three days for the second week running.

Much of the damage here was done on the first day and a half, when Kent were compiling a total of 575, their highest ever on this ground. But resuming their first innings on 227 for four, Leicestershire looked reasonably placed to push on towards the draw that was the best they could hope for.

Hansie Cronje, 120 not out overnight, needed to continue batting the way he had on Friday. Instead he was out to the first ball of the second over, offering a simple catch to Trevor Ward at short leg after McCague had got one to bounce steeply.

It was a tame end to a fine innings, and it set a pattern of surrender which Leicestershire could not break. Their last six wickets fell for 68 runs, and when McCague uprooted Cronje's middle stump to reduce them to eight for two in their second innings, the match was effectively over.