December 28, 1999

Caddick's Christmas gift

Durban - South Africa's captain Hansie Cronje called it a bad day at the office but praised England's Andrew Caddick, the New Zealand-born fast bowler for his career best bowling of seven for 46.

Once said to be a difficult character he has, under England captain, Nasser Hussain's influence come on strongly since being brought back into the England squad and has developed on this tour.

The near two-metre tall Christchurch-born fast bowler, grinned shyly and agreed the spell was a "nice Christmas gift" but there was a lot of hard work ahead before the third Test could be won.

South Africa lead 1-0 but there is a possibility by Wednesday England may share the series 1-1 which will at least give the tourists some heart. Caddick read the Kingsmead conditions as well as his captain and when he put his back into it the ball kicked through.

With a tall wiry frame he gets his arm up high enough to extract bounce out of the conditions, which quickened up today after heavy overnight rain had added the pace and carry. It was what Hussain needed to support his gut feel to risk declaring the England innings and allow a bowler such as Caddick, who plays for Somerset but chose England ahead of New Zealand, a chance to make the most of the conditions. An economical bowler he put the ball in the right area at Kingsmead yesterday and beat his previous best of six for 65 against the West Indies in Port of Spain, Trinidad on the 1993/94 tour.

He possibly has the biggest ears in the game, but do not whisper it too loudly within earshot, the verbal bouncer could be as difficult to handle as a lethal bouncer.