England bowler makes first-class return against Cobras November 9, 2007

'Rusty' Harmison back with six-wicket haul

Cricinfo staff

Steve Harmison: 'I'm a bit rusty and I'm not fully with it' © Getty Images
Steve Harmison admitted to being rusty even though he took 6 for 91 from 23 overs on his debut for the Lions against the Cobras in South Africa's SuperSport Series.

"It was difficult, to be honest," Harmison admitted at the end of the day. "This is sort of my pre-season. It's the first real sort of cricket I've bowled since the middle of July, and even then it was only sort of eight overs, so probably since the fourth Test match in England at the end of June.

"I've not really played that much outside and I must admit I did spray it a little bit. But I've got six wickets and I'm happy with that. The wickets weren't everything to be honest. I was disappointed with the way it came out."

Harmison, who is playing in South Africa in a bid to get match fit ahead of England's Test series in Sri Lanka, struggled early on for control and bowled nine no-balls and 14 wides. "I bowled a lot of wides," he shrugged. "In the last two or three years I bowled six no-balls and I bowled nine in this game, so that tells its own story. I'm a bit rusty and I'm not fully with it. So there were good things and bad things.

"The positives were I got 28 overs under my belt, I fielded for 102 overs in decent heat in very, very good competitive cricket and got six wickets. The downside was my action wasn't as good as I would like to, but we're a month away from the first Test and there's still a lot to work on.

"I'm over the injuries and I'm fit, but the one thing I'm not is bowling fit ... that's a big difference that any bowler will understand."

Meanwhile, Harmison's Durham and England team-mate Liam Plunkett took 1 for 62 for the Dolphins against the Warriors in East London.