England back Hoggard despite one-day problems

Stephen Lamb

July 3, 2002

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England captain Nasser Hussain insists that England will persevere with Matthew Hoggard despite two below-par performances in the NatWest Series.

Hoggard finished with one for 53 from four overs during England's three-wicket win over Sri Lanka at Headingley, but Hussain believes he can bowl his way out of his current difficulties.

"I thought with the breeze at Headingley it would be good for Matthew to swing it and he did swing it, but he probably did it too much," explained Hussain.

"He's struggling a little bit at the moment, but he's a hard worker and straight after the game yesterday he was on at the coach about videos.

"He will work hard and we've got to persevere with him because he's a good white ball bowler and if we're going to have a World Cup squad we're going to need players who can take wickets with the new ball - and he's done that in the past."

Hoggard's Yorkshire team-mate Darren Gough made an effective return to England colours, finishing with three for 45, and the winning runs which sealed England's triumph.

"It was a gamble playing him and we discussed it long and hard between myself, the coach and a few of the management boys," said Hussain. "Playing him had a lot to do with the inexperience in our attack.

"If we'd maybe had someone like Andy Caddick we could have held on for another couple of games for Darren, but not having the experience out there against teams like this is crucial.

"You do need someone out there who knows when to bowl the slower ball or the yorker and talks to the other bowlers - that's why we rushed him back against Sri Lanka."

"I think if we are honest we were poor this afternoon and he (Jayasuriya) played brilliantly. And obviously Trescothick is going to his own levels. Today was one of the weaker batting line-ups, but with Alec Stewart coming in at eight you always have a chance.

"There was a lot of pressure on them and they went about it the right way and it was important we won today."

Although Jayasuriya was made Man of the Match for his magnificent century, Marcus Trescothick's 82 was a vital contribution to England's triumph.

"Those sort of scores were very realistic on that wicket. You could see how it was playing from very early on," said the Somerset left-hander.

"It was always going to be one of those high-scoring matches even with reduced overs, because of the pace of the ball on to the bat and off it.

"I was very disappointed with the way I got out. I just thick-edged it straight to long-on. If I had stayed in the game was won. But the two guys who came in batted brilliantly. It was the sort of thing we have been crying out for for a long time."

Meanwhile Jayasuriya blamed poor bowling for his team's defeat. "I think we got a good start but it is disappointing, and we had the best opportunities to win this match. We didn't bowl well at all. We've put in a lot of hard work coming to this competition, and we mustn't let it go."

England now move on to Durham for Thursday's day-night match with India at Chester-le-Street.

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