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Brown's bowling excels in build-up

By Peter Deeley in Lahore

8 December 1997

ENGLAND set course in good heart for the Gulf today with two successive one-day wins over Pakistan sides to boost their confidence for the bigger challenge ahead in the shape of the Champions' Cup in Sharjah.

If these games were not against true international opposition, they have done much to knit together both experienced and novitiate members of the 14-man party in what might almost be termed one happy band.

For the second game running Warwickshire's Dougie Brown was both the chief wicket-taker and the man who made the crucial early breakthroughs. He took three wickets in his one spell of seven overs, and Pakistan never recovered from his assault, struggling to 117.

Though Brown does not ignore his roots north of the border - ``I am still Scottish and proud of it'' - he admits it would be the pinnacle of his career if he was selected to play in England's opening game on Thursday against India.

If there were signs of a flaw in the England make-up, it came in the shape of the second mid-order mini-collapse in the two matches. But Graham Thorpe was resolute at one end if rather slow yesterday - his 10 runs took 41 balls - and the captain Adam Hollioake scored the winning run.

England reached their target of 118 for the loss of five wickets with nearly 22 overs to spare. In winning so speedily they slightly shot themselves in the foot.

After winning the toss the idea was to bat second under the Gaddafi Stadium lights to experience the evening dew conditions, but the game was over almost before the damp started to take effect.

Matthew Fleming suffered some bruising around the rib-cage when he was batting in Friday's game and had to stand down, and England, according to plan, brought in the three who missed the first match: Nick Knight, Robert Croft and Peter Martin.

Though Pakistan still fielded four players with Test experience, this was a weaker batting line-up. Brown, who took four for 58 first time out, dismissed former Test opener Salim Elahi in the second over before a run was scored.

Alec Stewart took the catch low down and Surrey players - there are five on this trip - figured in all first five dismissals. When the next two batsmen fell to the same combination, Pakistan were 38 for three. Yousaf Youhana hit Brown for six in the bowler's final over slightly to mar impressive figures of 7-2-25-3.

David Lloyd's only minor quibble about Adam Hollioake's captaincy in the first match was that he failed to bowl his brother, though, Ben made up for lost time.

Mark Ealham plugged away quietly, intelligently using the slower ball and getting some drift away from the right-hander. His two for 17 off the full 10 overs - including a sharp return catch off a firmly struck drive - won him the man of the match award.

In England's reply the dismissal of Stewart, bowled for 33 off 51 deliveries, was the signal for four wickets to fall for 26 runs in 10 overs.

Ben Hollioake was run out in bizarre manner after facing only five balls. He pushed for a quick single, was home as the ball broke the stumps, chanced a second when it rolled into the deep and he was just beaten at the other end.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 15:06