Pringle is the prize

South Africa A 202 and 325 Worcestershire 77 and 96-3
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The Independent Online
South Africa A coach Duncan Fletcher was left to lament the strength of the opposition put out during this tour as his side established an unassailable position against an inexperienced Worcestershire side.

After 26 wickets had fallen on the first day, it was left to Meyrick Pringle to show that it was not the pitch that was responsible for the previous day's collapse - it was poor batting.

His maiden first-class century came off 108 balls and included 11 fours and three sixes. Two of those sixes came off the bowling of debutant Amjad Mohammed, whose four overs went for 25 runs in an inauspicious start to his county career.

Mohammed was one of two debutants - the other was James Ralph - in a side that contained just three capped players and was missing Tim Curtis, Graeme Hick, Richard Illingworth and Tom Moody.

It prompted Fletcher to remark: "We would have preferred a tougher game. We feel we should have played against stronger sides on this tour. I would have thought some of the better batsmen in the counties would have welcomed the chance to play with no pressure on."

Worcestershire - by no means the offender - were unrepentant. Their coach, David Houghton, said: "At this stage of the season it is difficult to play a full-strength side because you are trying to rest the best players. Tour games at the beginning of the season would be more valid. This game gives us a good chance to see what our up-and-coming players can do."

The answer, it seems, was not much. Bad bowling helped the South Africans to 325 all out, with Pringle ousted just before lunch caught by wicketkeeper Steven Rhodes. Earlier Vikram Solanki dropped a catch in the slips that would have dismissed Paul Adams and left Pringle stranded on 99.

After mustering a mere 77 in the first innings, there was a question mark over whether this game would go into the third day. Fears confirmed when Worcestershire lost three wickets for 54, but a late rally by Solanki steadied Worcestershire and rain ensured the last session was lost.