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Monday, December 7, 1998 Published at 08:25 GMT

Thorpe injury clouds England lead

An unhappy Graham Thorpe decides he cannot go on

Michael Peschardt: The time is running out for England
The future of Graham Thorpe's Ashes tour is again in doubt after he retired hurt as England built-up a lead against Victoria.

After putting just one run on the board the Surrey left-hander left the field with a recurrence of the back trouble that had already put his tour in doubt.

Pat Murphy reports (BBC Radio 5 Live)
His injury overshadowed a satisfactory day for England, who reached a solid 206 for five after struggling to bowl out Victoria for 300.

John Crawley was the pick of the England batsmen, playing himself back into form with 68.

Thorpe struggling

Thorpe's injury comes just four days before the start of the third Test in Adelaide.

David Graveney: The situation is disappointing (BBC Radio 5 Live)
He missed the second match of the series in Perth after suffering a stiff back on the flight from Brisbane to Perth, and had to pass a fitness test to play in the Victoria match.

After batting for 40 minutes in the second innings he complained of renewed stiffness and withdrew to the dressing room.

Graham Gooch: There is a question mark over Thorpe's inclusion in the 3rd test
Manager Graham Gooch said: "This has to throw doubt over his selection. However, we are going to wait and see what happens.

"He really had to play to prove his fitness for the Test and what has happened now has put a doubt in that."

But the manager refused to speculate about Thorpe's future on the tour itself.

Earlier England's bowlers struggled to dismiss Victoria's more stubborn batsmen.

Resuming on 177 for five and still 196 adrift of England, Victoria were expected to fold in the opening session of the third day with the new ball due after just eight overs.

Headley broke the 130-run partnership between Shawn Craig and Peter Roach three overs after taking the new ball but after that England struggled.

[ image: Dean Headley: Five wicket haul]
Dean Headley: Five wicket haul
Craig, who had battled for three-and-a-half hours to reach an unbeaten 39 overnight, lost partner Roach early on, caught by Mark Ramprakash.

New batsman John Davison progressed to 38 off 36 balls, including four boundaries, while Craig reached 69 at lunch after nearly six hours at the crease.

Davison was caught by Ramprakash, off the bowling of Robert Croft, just after lunch after reaching 42. The tail offered little resistance thereafter.

Dean Headley enhanced his claims for a possible recall in Adelaide by finishing with five for 58.

Despite the loss of opener Michael Atherton, who fell hooking, all the leading batsmen made a contribution to leave England in a healthy position by the close.

Crawley especially enhanced his claims with a confident 68 before being bowled by Craig.

Close of play scorecard

Overnight: England 373 (A J Stewart 126, M R Ramprakash 78, G A Hick 67). Victoria 177-5 (P J Roach 54 no).

Victoria First Innings

S A J Craig not out 83
P J Roach c Ramprakash b Headley 80
J M Davison c Ramprakash b Croft 42
B A Williams c Headley b Croft 1
A S Gilbert lbw b Headley 1
M W H Inness c Hick b Headley 3

Extras lb6 nb21 27

Total (106.1 overs) 300

Fall: 1-4 2-24 3-43 4-43 5-87 6-217 7-281 8-283 9-294

Bowling: Headley 27.1 3 58 5, Fraser 22 6 58 0, Hollioake 19 1 72 1, Croft 31 4 79 3, Ramprakash 7 2 27 0,

England Second Innings

J P Crawley b Craig 68
M A Atherton c Inness b Williams 14
N Hussain run out 28
G P Thorpe retd hurt 1
A J Stewart b Gilbert 36
M R Ramprakash c Arnberger b Gilbert 33
G A Hick not out 15
B C Hollioake not out 4

Extras b4 lb3 w1 8

Total 5 wkts (57 overs) 207

Fall: 1-25 2-82 3-128 4-179 5-188

To Bat: R D B Croft, D W Headley, A R C Fraser.

Bowling: Williams 10 5 14 1, Gilbert 13 5 44 2, Inness 8 2 22 0, Mott 1 0 9 0, Davison 19 3 79 0, Craig 6 0 32 1,

Umpires: T A Prue and G T D Morrow

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