Knight has the right armour

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The Independent Online
Last Monday, England capitulated to the spin of Mushtaq Ahmed in the Third Test, yet a week later they had won the Texaco Trophy. While this is cheering news, it would be unwise to read too much into it, for Pakistan did not exert themselves as they had done in the Test series.

The last two matches were highlighted by magnificent centuries by Nick Knight. On Saturday at Edgbaston he and Alec Stewart gave England the perfect start as they rode their luck early on and destroyed Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in their opening spells, giving England a winning advantage before the game was 15 overs old.

After Stewart and Mike Atherton had been out in Mushtaq's first over, Knight showed his maturity as he quietened down, ensuring the early advantage was not wasted. He did this again when two more wickets fell quickly and then accelerated again to make sure a total of around 300 was achieved.

It was a different innings at Trent Bridge where Stewart was out early on and Knight had to work harder at the start and had to guard against a collapse when wickets fell. He did this most sensibly and made sure that England reached a competitive total, carrying his bat through the innings.

The problem with Knight is to find his best position. In the Headingley Test he made a fine hundred at No 6 but perhaps that the opener spot is the best place for him. He is a left-hander - an important advantage at the start of an innings - and he is a natural stroke-maker who loves to play the bowling on its merit whatever the situation.

He is the type of opener who has the ability to destroy attacks at the start of an innings rather as another left-hander who played for Warwickshire, Bob Barber, used to in partnership with Geoff Boycott. Knight is a splendid addition to this England side, not least because of his brilliant fielding.

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