CricInfo Championship: Glamorgan v Northamptonshire at Cardiff, 29 Jun - 2 Jul 2001
Richard Thomas of the South Wales Evening Post

Northamptonshire 1st innings: Day Three: Lunch,
Northamptonshire 2nd innings: Day Three: Tea, Day Three: Stumps, Day Four: Lunch, Day Four: Tea, Match Drawn,
Live Reports from previous days


GLAMORGAN RUE MISSED CHANCES AS NORTHANTS EARN DRAW

After taking four wickets in the pre-lunch session, Glamorgan must have fancied their chances of recording their second Championship win of the season. But two missed chances, and stubborn half-centuries by Tony Penberthy and Russell Warren allowed Northamptonshire to stave off defeat and the game, on a wearing Cardiff wicket, ended in a draw as Northamptonshire reached 349 for 7 in their second innings after following on.

As in the visitors first innings, Robert Croft was Glamorgan's main wicket-taker, with Croft taking 5 for 96 during a marathon spell of 57 overs in the Northants second innings. The off-spinner had a spell of 4-11 in the morning session as Northants slipped from their 126-0 at the start of play to 176-4 at the interval.

In his fifth over of the day, Croft broke the opening partnership as Adrian Rollins edged a ball to Jimmy Maher at first slip. In the next couple of overs, Mike Hussey went on the offensive against Croft, twice hitting him to the cover boundary, but shortly afterwards, Croft gained his revenge as the Australian chopped the ball onto his stumps as he attempted a cut.

Three balls later Russell Warren survived a stumping chance, but Croft was back in the wickets soon afterwards as Mal Loye mistimed a drive and was caught by Steve James at mid-off. Then a couple of overs later, Croft induced a leading edge from Alex Swann, and as he celebrated his fourth wicket, Croft and the rest of the Glamorgan team must have been sensing victory.

However, Glamorgan were thwarted during the afternoon session by a stubborn partnership of 94 in 20 overs by Russell Warren and Tony Penberthy, although Warren had a second life when on 28 he survived a stumping chance off Dean Cosker. Undeterred by the turning wicket, Penberthy and Warren continued to punish the odd loose ball, until on 60 Penberthy edged Cosker into the hands of Jimmy Maher at slip.

Glamorgan's slim hopes of victory were briefly raised after tea when Adrian Dale claimed a wicket in his first over, as he trapped Graeme Swann leg before. But Warren remained defiant at the other end, and he eventually reached his patient half-century off 143 balls.

Having guided his side to safety, Warren's long vigil finally ended when on 77 he pushed forward to Croft and got a thin edge to the keeper. This gave Croft his fifth and final wicket of the innings, plus the splendid match figures of 10 for 191 - his first ten wicket haul of the season, and the fourth of his county career.

Despite not being able to force a victory, Glamorgan will be able to take great heart from Croft's performance, his 90.3 overs in the match, and his innings of 93.

Having spent much of the past month with the England one-day squad, Croft had only bowled 84 overs before this match in Championship cricket with just 4 first-class wickets to his name. If the England selectors need an in-form spinner for the forthcoming Ashes series, Croft has more than stated his fine credentials.



NORTHANTS' RESIST GLAMORGAN SPINNERS

Northamptonshire who took lunch at 176-4 fought back during the afternoon session, losing only one further wicket to reach 282-5 in 110 overs, a lead of 70.

Glamorgan may well rue two missed chances, both involving Russell Warren. He was missed behind the stumps before he had scored during the morning session, and then when on 28 he was lured down the wicket by left-arm spinner Dean Cosker, only for the ball to kick spitefully, with young wicket-keeper Mark Wallace unable to make a stumping.

The ball continued to spin and lift, but Tony Penberthy and Russell Warren watchfully added 94 in 20 overs for the fifth wicket, and punished the loose deliveries from the two Glamorgan spinners.

After making 60, Penberthy's innings was finally ended when he edged Cosker into the hands of Jimmy Maher at slip.

Warren remained undeterred at the other end, and was one run away from a patient half-century when tea was taken, with Graeme Swann the other not out batsman on 9.

Besides the missed chances, Glamorgan were also handicapped by a knee injury to Matthew Maynard, who was off the field after lunch after twisting his knee in the field.



CROFT SPINS GLAMORGAN INTO STRONG POSITION

It's been a good morning for Glamorgan, and Robert Croft in particular, as Northants have slipped to 176-4 at lunch on the final day. All four wickets have been taken by Croft, who bowled unchanged from the River End, and Northants still need 36 runs to avoid an innings defeat.

Michael Hussey and Adrian Rollins had looked comfortable against the spinners in the final session on Sunday, counteracting the spin of Croft and Cosker in contrasting ways, with the tall and burly Rollins using his long reach to nullify the spin, and Hussey using his feet to dance down the wicket and attack the Glamorgan spinners.

It was very different though this morning, as Glamorgan skipper Steve James opted to initially alternate between the pace of Alex Wharf at one end and the spin of Robert Croft at the other. Both bowled accurately, with only 19 runs being added in the first fifty minutes play, and Croft worried both batsmen with his flight and spin.

The off-spinner made the first breakthrough, when in his fifth over of the day, Rollins edged a ball to Jimmy Maher at first slip. In the next couple of overs, Hussey went on the offensive against Croft, twice hitting him to the cover boundary, but shortly afterwards, Croft gained his revenge as the Australian chopped the ball onto his stumps attempting a cut.

Russell Warren then had an early life as Wallace missed an attempted stumping, but Croft was back in the wickets as Loye mistimed a drive and was caught by Steve James at mid-off. A couple of overs later, Croft took his fourth wicket as Alex Swann got a leading edge and was caught and bowled by a delighted Croft.

In the final few overs before lunch, it was spin at both ends, as Dean Cosker replaced Darren Thomas at the Cathedral Road End, and much will depend on Russell Warren and Tony Penberthy if Northants are to avoid a heavy defeat.



NORTHANTS GRATEFUL FOR HUSSEY'S RESISTANCE

Northamptonshire have not won a County Championship match at the Sophia Gardens ground in Cardiff since 1976, and this sequence looks like continuing after they were forced to forced to follow-on in mid-afternoon after being bowled out for 344 as Glamorgan secured a healthy first innings lead of 212.

Robert Croft was the Welsh county's leading bowler with 5-95, and following his first innings score of 93, it was a timely reminder to the England selectors of his excellent credentials with both bat and ball. He also had good fortune when claiming the wicket of Mal Loye, who on 73 attempted to sweep the off-spinner, only for the ball to ricochet off the body of Mike Powell at short-leg into the hands of Steve James at short mid-wicket.

But for Michael Hussey, the contest might already be almost over. The Australian left-hander used his feet well against Croft and Cosker to score his first Championship hundred for Northants. He received useful support from Mal Loye and also Graeme Swann, but after the dismissal of Swann who bottom edged a ball from Darren Thomas into his stumps, the follow-on was a formality, as wickets continued to fall at regular intervals at the other end.

Firstly Darren Thomas dismissed David Ripley as the visiting captain lobbed a short delivery into the hands of Adrian Dale running in from square leg. Then in the next over Dale took another catch as Paul Taylor attempted a pull against Dean Cosker. After some brief defiance from Michael Strong, Cosker dismissed the Northants seamer, before Croft ended Hussey's fine innings by bowling the Australian for 159 - his highest score for Northamptonshire.

There was little time however, for the left-hander to rest on his laurels, as ten minutes later, he was back at the wicket as Northants began their second innings. Together with Adrian Rollins, Hussey continued to defy the Glamorgan bowlers, as the two Northants openers occupied the crease throughout the rest of the day to finish on 126 without loss after 46 overs, with Hussey unbeaten on 50, and Adrian Rollins on 64 in his first CricInfo Championship match of the season.

Northants still need 86 runs to avoid an innings defeat, and much will depend on Michael Hussey if they are to stave off defeat on the final day on a wicket that appears to be giving increasing help to the spinners. Hussey has so far been on the field for all of the match, and with 209 runs to his name so far, Northants will be hoping for at least another hundred runs from the elegant left-hander.



CROFT LEAVES NORTHANTS IN A SPIN

Northants were forced to follow on in mid afternoon after being bowled out for 344 as Glamorgan secured a healthy first innings lead of 212 on a wearing wicket at Sophia Gardens.

Robert Croft was the Welsh county's leading bowler with 5-95, and following his first innings score of 93, it was a timely reminder to the England selectors of his excellent credentials with both bat and ball.

Resuming at 262-5 at lunch, Hussey continued to thwart the Glamorgan bowlers after the interval, but wickets regularly fell at the other end. In the sixth over after the break, Graeme Swann bottom edged a pull into his stumps, and in the following over, Darren Thomas accounted for David Ripley as the visiting captain lobbed a short delivery into the hands of Adrian Dale running in from square leg.

In the next over Dale took his second catch as Paul Taylor attempted a pull against Dean Cosker.

Michael Strong offered more resistance, striking two boundaries off Cosker, before the left-arm spinner gained his revenge by bowling Strong. Six balls later Croft ended Hussey's fine innings bowling the Australian for 159 his highest score for Northamptonshire.

There was little time however, for Hussey to put his feet up, as ten minutes later, his side were following on, and the Australian was back at the wicket.

By the tea interval, Northants were 27 without loss off nine overs, still 185 runs behind.



HUSSEY FIGHTS TO AVOID FOLLOW-ON

Glamorgan had a good morning at Sophia Gardens, as Northants stuttered in their first innings from 116-1 overnight to 262-5 at lunch, with Robert Croft taking 3 for 48 in 13 overs on a wicket increasingly giving help to the spinners.

Northants started the morning still 440 runs behind, and Mike Hussey and Mal Loye began in positive vein, with Loye striking Dean Cosker straight for six, and also pulling Alex Wharf to the midwicket boundary.

Croft came on after 40 minutes and in his second over he dismissed Loye, albeit with good fortune, as Loye swept the off-spinner, only to see the ball ricochet off the body of Mike Powell at short-leg into the hands of Steve James at short mid-wicket.

Three balls later Russell Warren edged to short-leg, and three overs after that Alec Swann was trapped leg before by Darren Thomas. Hussey then found a useful ally in Tony Penberthy, adding 59 in 13 overs during which the Australian reached his first Championship century for Northamptonshire.

But shortly afterwards, Penberthy was caught by Matthew Maynard at first slip to give Croft his fourth wicket of the innings, and to leave Northants in danger of following-on.

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Date-stamped : 02 Jul2001 - 22:25