Tendulkar leaves no stone unplugged

Cricket: Sussex 190-1 v India
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The Independent Online
So far this summer, this has been a place for home truths, with Sussex recording one of their poorest starts to the season. Yesterday, as a rasping north-easter decimated an inquisitive early crowd, it was the visitor's turn to face reality as the home side eased their way to 190 for 1, before rain brought a premature end to a miserable day's play.

If India are to have a hope of winning a Test match this summer, they need to take wickets. On the evidence so far, candidates for this necessary function are thinner on the ground than Brighton football stadia. Unless pitches begin to take spin, India will be hoping for rather than expecting wickets, especially if Javagal Srinath should continue to be wicketless, as he was here.

In truth, the paceman bowled beautifully. His controlled hostility with the new ball, allied to swing and cut, deserved far more than the wicketless opening spell of 8-6-9-0. But if his length was a yard short of the optimum, the movement he obtained troubled both openers, Keith Greenfield taking 51 minutes to get off the mark.

Once started, Greenfield soon overtook his partner, Bill Athey, twice hooking Paras Mhambrey for four, when he dropped short having been given both slope and wind for his second spell.

Athey, now bespectacled, was obdurate to the point of cussedness, his Yorkshire roots betraying a certain amount of tutelage under the man who now pokes keys into pitches, but formerly combined his famously crooked smile with a straight bat.

If his team-mates were happy with Athey's dour knock, the spectators were less enamoured and the deckchairs around the ground were largely unoccupied, though arctic winds that razored through all but the hardiest windcheaters may have had something to do with it.

Having been thrashed by Warwickshire, there was talk that Sussex were considering playing Giles Haywood, a 16-year-old schoolboy. When you consider Sachin Tendulkar had played for India at the same age, it is not as preposterous as it sounds and his presence would surely have enlivened the fixture.

In the end, it was a day that demanded activity and movement, and, as India's acting captain, Tendulkar duly obliged, utilising eight bowlers in a bid to make light of losing the toss on a belting pitch - one that provided more than five hundred runs on Sunday when Sussex played Warwickshire.

In the end it was Tendulkar - who carefully removed some white earplugs to bowl - who took the only wicket to fall, that of Greenfield, as he induced the batsman to chop the ball on to his stumps for 65.

At the beginning of the tour, Tendulkar made it known that he would consider a return to county cricket. Yorkshire, he said, would have first refusal, but yesterday there were rumours about Hove that Sussex may be considering an approach.

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