England youngsters backed by Botham

By Carl Markham
Wednesday 18 December 2002 01:00
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Ian Botham believes England must persevere with the raw pace of the youngsters Steve Harmison and James Anderson if they are to have further success in Australia and in the future.

Durham's Harmison, 24, picked up 2 for 39, and the 20-year-old Lancashire seamer James Anderson 2 for 48, as they propelled England to a 43-run win over Sri Lanka in the VB one-day series in Brisbane, the tourists' first victory in 14 matches since arriving in Australia nearly nine weeks ago.

Having posted 292 all out, thanks to major contributions from Nasser Hussain (79) and Alec Stewart (64), the pair between them claimed the prized wickets of the Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu and Kumar Sangakkara and were the mainstay of England's bowling.

What was more remarkable was that Harmison was making his one-day international debut while Anderson, who had previously played only three limited-overs games for his county, this was in only his second international game.

"If that is inexperience I'll have a bucketful of it because I thought they were magnificent," said Botham, who was recently voted the greatest sporting Briton by Independent readers. "They got the ball at good pace in the right area, the Sri Lankans had no answer to it.

"That is the future for English cricket. You have got to have a bit of pace and bounce or exceptional control or a wrist spinner and we have got guys who are tall, have got pace and bounce – let's use them."

Botham was pleased with England's overall performance. "I thought they all chipped in. The openers [Nick Knight 29, Marcus Trescothick 27] got off to a reasonable start and then Nasser came in he played well," the former England all-rounder said. "Paul Collingwood, Stewart, they all chipped in. Ian Blackwell got a quick 24 off 12 balls and they all did it.

"It was what was required. At 70 for three after the first 15 [overs] we thought: 'Here we go, it's going to be a bit tight' but in the end they performed well and got the total up where it should be on a belting wicket."

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