Groin in fine fettle as Hoggard bowls Yorkshire to victory

Last updated at 17:57 13 June 2007


Matthew Hoggard expects to report for England duty in rude health tomorrow after bowling 10 overs "pain free" in Yorkshire's one-run Friends Provident Trophy win over Northamptonshire.

After Yorkshire had scraped an unlikely Duckworth-Lewis victory - despite

hundreds from visiting openers Usman Afzaal (132) and Stephen Peters (107) -

Hoggard professed himself satisfied with his work-out, just two days before the

start of the fourth Test.

The England seamer took his share of punishment, especially in his third and

final spell, as Northamptonshire racked up 314 for four at Headingley.

But Hoggard also got some revenge with the belated wicket of Afzaal - and

subsequently reported he was encouraged by his only opportunity to bowl in the

middle since he injured his groin in last month's first Test at Lord's.

"I'm quite happy with the way it went," said the 30-year-old, picked in a

12-man squad to make his 64th Test appearance against West Indies at

Chester-le-Street this week.

"It was a good work-out and nice to get three spells, stopping and starting

and making sure I could carry on.

"That was as much of a test as anything. If you can get through 10 overs with

three spells it means that it's fine.

"I can't feel it now, and if I wake up tomorrow and it's still pain free then

there has been no reaction."

Hoggard had no answer, as Afzaal (132) and Peters (107) came within one run of

equalling their county's all-time competition best stand for any wicket against

Yorkshire.

It was Ajmal Shahzad who eventually made the breakthrough, Peters well caught

at cover to end a partnership of 214 in the 41st over.

Hoggard bowled six unspectacular but tidy overs with the new ball and returned

to get rid of Afzaal in his final stint as one of Yorkshire's "death" bowlers in

this north conference match - which had no bearing on the semi-final pairings.

Peters hit 10 fours in his 111-ball hundred, and his left-handed partner Afzaal

reached his milestone soon afterwards - with 10 fours from 130 deliveries.

The former England batsman added the first of just two sixes in the innings,

off Hoggard, only to fall to the very next ball - smearing a catch to point.

Northants, who chose to bat first, seemed to have taken significant advantage -

and after Yorkshire lost both openers cheaply, Hoggard looked very likely to end

up on the losing side.

Instead, an unbroken third-wicket stand of 108 between Anthony McGrath (62 not

out) and Gerard Brophy kept the hosts in the hunt - and the timing of

long-forecast afternoon rain convinced the umpires to take the teams off the

field just as Yorkshire sneaked in front on D-L, with 119 on the board from 21

overs.

It was therefore a doubly happy outcome for Hoggard, who is itching to get back

in the Test reckoning.

He admits he would in an ideal world have preferred a little more competitive

cricket - but he is confident he will let no one down.

He said: "The only issue is going into the game without a lot of match

practice.

"It would have been nice to have a little bit more - but I want to play in the

Test match.

"Now I'm an old head with a lot of experience, I think I can close my eyes and

'wang' it in roughly the right spot.

"It's not as if I'm on debut or in my third or fourth Test match, and I'm not

sure what I'm supposed to be doing.

"I'm happy with the way it's coming out. It's not as if I've come back feeling

like a bag of spanners; I've come back feeling quite good."

Hoggard is increasingly confident too that his injury will not trouble him.

"The groin held up really well, the legs felt fine - and the ball went in the

right areas more often than not," he said.

"In a one-day game, you can't read too much into it - the death overs. In the

five or six overs at the start, I didn't bowl any wides, no-balls or

half-volleys - and it mostly went in the right place."

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