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Hollioake gets a grip for England

By Peter Deeley in Lahore

6 December 1997

ENGLAND'S one-day side kept their feet in the slippery evening dew as Adam Hollioake launched his international captaincy career with a good all-round performance which helped overcome Pakistan by 35 runs.

This was the first of two preparatory games before next week's Sharjah quad- rangular tournament and the opposition consisted chiefly of Pakistan second and third-string players, though four had Test experience.

Whatever the level of the opposition, England were purposeful in every department, not least in the final 15 overs when the evening damp made it difficult for the bowlers to obtain a firm footing or hold on the ball.

England lost the toss which meant they batted first and then had to field for the greater part of the Pakistan innings under the Gaddafi Stadium lights.

Alastair Brown and Alec Stewart gave England a brisk start with 49 in 11 overs, but with their departure there was a slump, three batsmen departing in as many balls. Brown was caught low at cover after hitting seven boundaries in his 31. At the other end Ben Hollioake was plucked out of the air at mid-wicket and Graham Thorpe got a first-ball inside edge.

The elder Hollioake and Graeme Hick added 105 for the fifth wicket in 126 balls. Hollioake was adept in pushing for sharp singles and keeping the scoreboard moving but lost Hick as soon as he had reached 50 off 66 balls when the Worcestershire player bottom-edged Shahid Afridi on to his stumps.

Afridi, 17, who holds the record for the quickest one-day international century, then bowled Mark Ealham with his quicker ball.

Hollioake remained in charge at the other end, however. He lifted off-spinner Arshad Khan straight for six and the fielder at long-off caught the ball with one foot over the ropes.

Eventually Hollioake was lbw attacking after scoring 86 off 99 balls, including six fours, and Matthew Fleming - in the wars when he suffered a grazed nose and a blow in the ribs - remained undefeated on 29.

Although Dougie Brown took four wickets at either end of the Pakistan innings he was expensive in between times. Ealham removed the biggest danger, Akhtar Sarfraz, after he had scored 69 off 84 deliveries and Adam Hollioake's first seven overs went for only 24 runs, including two wickets.

Hollioake's fourth over saw Stewart complete a very sharp leg-side stumping to dismiss Yousaf Youhana. As the dew took effect Hollioake's final over went for 14 and Brown's last three at the death cost 21. In comparison Dean Headley conceded only three runs in his final burst and his overall one for 29 off 9.1 overs emphasised the value of his steadiness.

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 15:02