A sublime fourth-wicket partnership for Oxford on Monday saw
off Cardiff ’s hopes of victory in the Parks after two days
of edge-of-theseat action. It was déjà vu in many ways for
Cardiff, who had posted 364 in their previous game but lost to
Durham, as their bowlers, having reduced the hosts to 32-3,
watched Luke Parker and Will Howard put on 275 runs without loss. Ami Suman began with a bang after Paul McMahon put the
visitors in, removing both openers early on. Rodney Lloyd and
Mark Pettini consolidated from 8-2 before Ian Clayton began a
strong partnership with Lloyd, waiting patiently for bad balls,
leading Cardiff gradually in to the driving seat. The score moved
on to 217 before spinner Michael Munday made the breakthrough,
bowling Clayton for 64. McMahon caught Lloyd from Munday’s bowling twelve runs
short of a century, after a fight lasting 230 balls. He and Mula
Richards then picked up two more each in the space of 16 runs to
leave Cardiff 267-9. By stumps a dogged effort from Cardiff
’s last pair had put on 52 runs to leave the game on a knife
edge. Munday sealed his second five-wicket haul in a week as
Lambert fell for 38, having faced almost 100 balls, early on day
two. Oxford were soon in trouble as the highly-rated Paul
Selvey-Clinton, Josh Knappett and Omar Anwar were all unpadding
within the first hour. Howard and Parker settled, however, and looked more
comfortable as the session went on, with Howard especially
striking the ball to all parts of the ground. By the time a late
glance for four brought up Parker’s century, the score had
moved past 260 and a win was all but secure. Cardiff were deflated and Howard’s 29th boundary,
bludgeoning a full toss down the ground, took his score past 150
in 158 balls. He was caught at square leg off the last ball of
the session but soon after the resumption of play, the winning
total of 327 was reached. One more wicket fell before
declaration, though the stroke of luck for Munday was not enough
to claim any bonus points in the second innings. McMahon praised his side’s discipline, “If we win
our two remaining games, we should be in the final at
Lord’s.”ARCHIVE: 5th week TT 2004