Swing king Smith

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The Independent Online
ANYONE torn between watching cricket at Gloucester and England's entrance on the World Cup rugby stage had Mike Smith to thank for ensuring that they achieved their aim of watching both. Soon after midday yesterday there was time for a leisurely lunch at Archdeacon's Meadow before the drive home to a seat in front of the television.

Smith, bowling left arm over the wicket on the brisker side of medium, had helped swing the match Gloucestershire's way with four wickets in the first innings. His career best six for 57 second time around, with five of his victims claimed on an extraordinary final morning, wrapped up Worcestershire's lame rearguard in no uncertain fashion.

The absence of Courtney Walsh has seemed to make Gloucestershire hearts beat faster. This was their second Championship victory to go with a draw in four outings, triumphing over a Worcestershire side for which this was a third Championship defeat, and second in succession by an innings.

Gloucestershire built up a winning total around a century from Bobby Dawson, and Smith, backed up by four wickets from Javagal Srinath, did the rest in conditions favouring swing and on a wicket where the odd ball kept low.

Spectators had to be in their seats promptly yesterday to enjoy the inroads made by Smith. With the wicket of Gavin Haynes to his name from the previous evening and Worcestershire already three down and 154 in arrears, he whistled through the order once Srinath had accounted for Richard Illingworth, taken at short leg by Dawson.

The rest was a procession, Smith bowling Curtis with one in the block hole and taking out Steve Rhodes with a caught and bowled. Lampitt, Radford, and Thomas completed Smith's five-for-35 spell of destruction, as the 27-year-old master of swing celebrated a match haul of 10 for 125. And home in time for tea.