Knight and Pooley prosper

NICK KNIGHT and Jason Pooley, who scored centuries as England A reached 298 for six against the Patron's XI in Lahore yesterday, both acknowledged debts to England's coaching back-up.

Knight (107) said one-to-one clinics with the England batting coach John Edrich before the tour had paid dividends while Pooley, whose unbeaten 100 was his first big innings of the tour, praised the technical advice given him in the past week by the team manager John Emburey.

The appointment of Edrich and Peter Lever as national squad batting and bowling coaches and the identification of Emburey as the man most likely to be England cricket's next supremo, have been successful features of Ray Illingworth's regime this year.

Emburey's first tour in management has so far brought England A five victories in five matches, but the growth of a successful relationship between Nasser Hussain's young team and Emburey has also been behind the 100 per cent record.

Pooley and Knight, left- handers both, dominated the first day's play in a three-day fixture which gives England A their last practice opportunity before back-to-back Tests in Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

But while Pooley, only on the tour as a replacement for Andrew Symonds, was grabbing his chance to make a name for himself, Knight was producing an innings designed to make England's selectors take notice of a player they decided not to take on the senior tour of South Africa after he had impressed in the last two Tests against the West Indies last summer.

Knight made his runs out of 165 and Pooley, even more impressively, out of 138. The Warwickshire opener hit a six and 17 fours and the Middlesex batsman 13 boundaries in his innings.

The pair's display disguised an otherwise patchy batting display on a pitch green in the middle but bare at both ends - and correspondingly encouraging to both seam and spin.

(First day of three; England A won toss)

ENGLAND A - First Innings

N V Knight b Anwar Ali 107

J E R Gallian c Anwar Ali b Aamir Wasim 19

*N Hussain b Azwar Mahmood 23

D P Ostler c Javed Qadir b Anwar Ali 9

J C Pooley not out 100

A McGrath c Javed Qadir b Anwar Ali 2

C White b Shadid Nazir 12

S D Udal not out 14

Extras (b4, lb4, nb4) 12

Total (for 6, 87.2 overs) 298

Fall: 1-62, 2-136, 3-160, 4-165, 5-191, 6-243.

To bat: T A Munton, R D Stemp, A M Smith.

Bowling: Azwar Mahmood 11-2-21-1; Mohammad Ali 9-0-53-0; Shadid Nazir 11-2-31-1; Aamir Wasim 12-2-46-1; Manzoor Akhtar 10-1-26-0; Akram Raza 13.2-3-47-0; Anwar Ali 21-5-66-3.

PATRON'S XI: Nadim Younis, Shakeel Ahmed, Atif Rauf, *Akram Raza, Anwar Ali, Javed Qadir, Azwar Mahmood, Mohammad Ali, Shadid Nazir, Aamir Wasim, Manzoor Akhtar.

Umpires: Mian Mohammad Aslam and Ikram Rabbani.