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The Electronic Telegraph Warm-up Match: Sussex v South Africa
Mark Nicholas at Hove - 7 May 1999

South Africans hit by injuries

Match abandoned due to rain.

Rain ruined what would otherwise have been a happy day for Sussex here yesterday. The World Cup favourites, South Africa, were the guests, temporary stands were up and certain to be full, marquees stretched the length of the ground opposite the pavilion and giant eggs which have attracted six-hitters for as long as most Sussex fans can remember have been raised from ground level to a third of the way up the now permanent floodlights.

There is 1,000 on offer for the batsman who cracks an egg but the big hitters spent the day in the dressing-room, emerging occasionally to glance at the sky and thump a few throw-downs into the advertising boards before the match was abandoned at three o'clock.

This will have aggravated the South Africans, who play India on this ground a week today. The considerable slope at Hove takes a bit of getting used to, particularly for the bowlers, so the full attack had been chosen for the dress rehearsal.

Allan Donald has recovered from the stomach muscle problem he picked up in New Zealand and the other seamers, notably Shaun Pollock, were keen for a run in the middle.

Captain Hansie Cronje said: ``I'm very disappointed. We would have loved the opportunity to play here. At the captains' meeting, we were specifically told there were no reserve days for these games, also no lights. We spoke about it with Tony Pigott, the Sussex chief executive, but the request was turned down.

``In your preparations, you plan for one or two rainy days but wouldn't mind those days being on practice days. To get out in the middle is really simulating the exercise ahead of us.''

South Africa deserve their billing as favourites in the light of the splendid limited-overs cricket they have been playing. They do, though, have a couple of concerns. Jonty Rhodes, who saw a specialist on Thursday, has his right wrist in a splint, having pulled a tendon while rowing, would you believe, during a recent outward bound bash. He will not play tomorrow at Canterbury, is doubtful for Tuesday at Uxbridge and may well miss the real thing next Saturday.

Steve Elworthy has strained a calf muscle playing touch rugby, so the favourites are down to 13 fit men. Stick to cricket lads.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
Editorial comments can be sent to The Electronic Telegraph at et@telegraph.co.uk