Smith and Malcolm out of sorts

Cricket

JAMES ALEXANDER

reports from Soweto

England 332 and 282-5 dec SA Invitation XI 210 and 25-1

Devon Malcolm and Robin Smith arrived here as two of England's potential match-winners and men for whom this tour takes on special significance. One is a ballistic bowler who happens to be the only black in the touring party, the other a punishing batsman back in the country of his birth. So far, Malcolm has met Mandela and Smith has met plenty of his old mates, but their cricket has caused concern.

As England went about nailing down their superiority in their opening first-class match, Malcolm was shipped off to a net session at the Centurion Park Test ground 30 miles away. For a player to be excused duties from a match in which he is playing is very unusual indeed - assistant-manager John Barclay fielded in his place in the morning - and an indication of just how worried Raymond Illingworth and the England management feel about their fastest bowler's lack of form. "We needed only one wicket this morning," Illingworth said, "so we didn't see any point in Devon hanging around and doing nothing for most of the day. He needs plenty of bowling in order to reach full pace and there are only two more first-class games before the first Test."

Malcolm's extra practice seemed to work. It might have been the affront to his pride rather than any profound technical adjustments, but he charged in downwind for five overs late in the day. He had the Invitation XI opening batsman Micky Arthur dropped by Jack Russell but then proceeded to hit him on the chest and helmet, a blow which forced Arthur to call for a new helmet.

Smith was caught behind for nought and his four innings have now yielded scores of 12, 33, 4 and 0. He has yet to recapture any fluency in his batting, which is a shame because he was England's best player last summer before having his cheekbone shattered by Ian Bishop.

He has been accused in the past of being too easily distracted and nowhere will the demands on his time be greater than in South Africa. "I hope he is not distracted too much," Illingworth said. "All the players were told before they left to concentrate totally on the cricket. As long as he works hard, there will be plenty of time to see his friends in the evening."

Alec Stewart, another who missed the second half of last season because of injury, has moved instantly into his stride in that strutting, confident way of his. A 70 in the pipe-opener, 94 in the first innings here and now the first century of the tour. Indeed, the first century in Soweto.

Mike Atherton retired hurt with a hamstring twinge - just a precaution this - and John Crawley's mood was volcanic after being given out caught at short leg. He banged his bat on the ground as he returned to the pavilion. Abuse of equipment, they would call it in tennis. Graeme Hick helped himself to four sixes and four fours against some fairly gentle bowling on this slow, low pitch that is getting lower. Allan Donald awaits him on a greentop. England declared with an overall lead of 404, of which the Invitation XI had knocked off 25 for the loss of Arthur by the close.

(Third day of four; England won toss)

ENGLAND - First Innings 332 (A J Stewart 94, J P Crawley 85, M A Atherton 59; M J G Davis 4-68).

SOUTH AFRICA INVITATION XI - First Innings

(Overnight: 209 for 9)

L Masikizana b Illingworth 44

H S Williams not out 1

Extras (lb9 nb3) 12

Total (78.1 overs) 210

Bowling: Malcolm 14-4-32-0; Ilott 14-6-41-1; Fraser 9-2-14-0; Illingworth 25.1-10-76-6; Watkinson 16-5-38-3.

ENGLAND - Second Innings

*M A Atherton retired hurt 22

A J Stewart not out 101

J P Crawley c Rhodes b Davis 1

R A Smith c Masikizana b Pringle 0

G A Hick c Masikizana b Williams 55

R C Russell c Toyana b Cronje 43

M Watkinson b Williams 26

M C Ilott not out 6

Extras (b9 lb5 w1 nb13) 28

Total (for 5 dec, 80 overs) 282

Fall: 1-48 2-56 3-165 4-230 5-269.

Did not bat: R K Illingworth, A R C Fraser, D E Malcolm.

Bowling: Pringle 17-2-87-1; Williams 22-5-77-2; Davis 25-8-66-1; Strydom 4-0-17-0; Cronje 12-3-21-1.

SOUTH AFRICA INVITATION XI - Second Innings

J M Arthur b Watkinson 12

P Amm not out 10

M W Pringle not out 0

Extras (lb1 nb2) 3

Total (for 1, 12 overs) 25

Fall: 1-25.

To bat: *W J Cronje, J N Rhodes, P C Strydom, G Toyana, L Masikizana, M J G Davis, H S Williams, R P Snell.

Bowling: Malcolm 5-1-18-0; Fraser 2-2-0-0; Watkinson 3-1-4-1; Illingworth 2-2-0-0.

Umpires: M Bagus and W Diedricks.

ICC accused, page 27

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