Reeve leads from the front

Cricket: Warwickshire 645-7 dec Sussex 136-5
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The Independent Online
Warwickshire 645-7 dec Sussex 136-5

Warwickshire are going to take some stopping again this year. They continued to sweep through Sussex like some cricketing tidal wave, and this second day was something of a personal triumph for their captain, Dermot Reeve, who played for Sussex from 1983-87.

Reeve is a most compelling cricketer. He is a captain who makes things happen, and there is great self-belief and no little skill in all that he does himself. It is sad that England have not made more use of him, especially in one-day internationals.

He began the day by completing the seventh hundred of his career, and by the time the declaration came, he had reached 168 in 230 balls, taking Warwickshire to the highest score made by either county in matches against each other.

By then, Reeve had clearly decided that it was going to be his day, and he elected to open the bowling in tandem with Shaun Pollock. Reeve bustled in with that slightly idiosyncratic run-up from the Sea end, and in his third over James Hall pushed forward and Dominic Ostler picked up a quick, low catch at first slip.

It was then Pollock's turn. He knocked Martin Speight's stumps all over the place with a fast yorker, only to find that it was a no-ball. In Pollock's next over, Speight aimed to play to wide mid-on; the ball left him, took the outside edge and Reeve held a stinging catch to his right at just above waist height at first slip.

There was no stopping Reeve, although he may have been a shade lucky to win an lbw decision against Alan Wells in his sixth over when Wells thrust a long way forward.

The first Reeve-less wicket fell in the last over before tea when Bill Athey, who had galloped to six in 27 overs, played forward to Graeme Welch and was caught at third slip.

In the last session, Neil Len- ham batted with composure under his yellow crash helmet, and Danny Law, a tall, beanpole of a man, defended stoutly and pulled vigorously.

Even so, the 496 Sussex needed to save the follow-on was light years away, especially when Lenham was caught behind down the legside sweeping.

Pollock was an object lesson for all fast bowlers. He had a lovely, smooth approach to the wicket, a classical action and follow-through, and he bowls from close to the stumps, which makes his bouncer difficult to play. He hit both Athey and Law on their helmets. Pollock also bowls an excellent off-stump line.

Although Reeve took two wickets to Pollock's one in his opening spell, Pollock's influence will have contributed to his captain's success. A bowler of his ability is always going to have a big effect on the number of wickets which fall at the other end.

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