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  Friday, 22 March, 2002, 10:29 GMT
Astle no problem for Malcolm
Devon Malcolm
Malcolm was not known for his economy rate
Former England fast bowler Devon Malcolm said he would have stopped New Zealand's double centurian Nathan Astle in his tracks if he had been playing the Christchurch Test.

Astle scored the fastest Test double ton of all time from just 153 deliveries, and went on to hammer 222 in the first match between New Zealand and England.


I would have given him some short stuff
Devon Malcolm

Malcolm criticised England's captan Nasser Hussain and his bowlers, led by Andrew Caddick, for failing to adapt to Astle's onslaught.

"There is no doubt that Hussain and Caddick and all the bowlers were thinking 'OK, he's going at it, but he can only hit a few fours and sixes and pretty soon he's going to sky one in the air and get out'.

"Unfortunately for the majority of the balls disappeared out of the park," Malcolm said.

"The bowlers took a long time to realise that Astle had switched from Test cricket to one-day cricket.

Nathan Astle
Astle played a once in a lifetime innings
"Length bowling is one of the easists things to hit out of the park when you are in the zone as much as Astle was.

"I would have given him some short stuff. They just needed to mix it up a bit more with few more slower balls and a few yorkers and thrown a few down the leg side to stop him scoring so freely."

Malcolm took 128 wickets in 40 Test matches for England, but was known for his blistering pace rather than for tight bowling.

Caddick may afford himself a smile when he compares his economy rate of 3.03 to Malcolm's 3.35 in Tests.

And Malcolm, who at 39-years-old is still playing for Leicestershire, admits that Astle was in near unstoppable form during the match.

"Astle was hitting the ball very cleanly and things like that only happen once in a lifetime - for someone to go out and constantly smack the ball out of the park like that." said Malcolm.

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Former England bowler Devon Malcolm
"The bowlers should have mixed it up more"
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