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England held up by Majid

By Peter Deeley in Lahore

5 December 1997

ENGLAND comfortably won a one-day warm-up game for the Sharjah Tournament yesterday by nine wickets, but only after 51-year-old Majid Khan had taken a half-century off their bowling.

Majid, now chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, played the last of his 63 Tests 15 years ago. He still plays occasionally for England's opponents, the local Gymkhana Club.

England's management had originally wanted to split their 14-man squad, adding four local players apiece to make up two sides. But they were persuaded to field a full XI and provide three players - Dean Headley, Matthew Fleming and Ashley Giles - for Gymkhana.

The home side were nine for five in conditions made difficult early on by the dew. But Majid rallied them with an unbeaten fifty off 89 balls, including four boundaries and a straight six off Graeme Hick.

Dougie Brown and Peter Martin both took three wickets and the home side reached a paltry 141 for eight in their 40 overs.

Alistair Brown's 57-ball 67 gave England a flying start and the target was passed for the loss of Brown after only 19.4 overs. The two sides agreed that England should bat on and set themselves to score 282, double the Gymkhana total.

Nick Knight holed out on the midwicket boundary to give Giles his single success - but only after he had hit 79 from 76 balls and underlined his claims to be at the top of the order when England play Pakistan A today and Sunday in further warm-ups.

Alec Stewart perhaps looked in the best form of all, striking the ball with crisp power and including two sixes and six fours in an undefeated 78 off just 67 deliveries. Captain Adam Hollioake said: ``Even though most of us were in shorts there was still a fair amount of diving and sliding around and the scrapes players got on their legs showed me their commitment.''

A Pakistan newspaper yesterday attacked Brian Lara for ``doing the greatest damage to West Indies'', suggesting his talent and ability were exaggerated.

Commenting on West Indies' poor Test displays, The Nation said: ``Too much dependence on Lara has destroyed the team and it is time he was dropped. Lara might find his touch again (for Warwickshire) against mediocre English bowling, but he is doing more harm than good to West Indies.''

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 14:59