Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

This Is a Fine New Home for England

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

This Is a Fine New Home for England

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Rushworth

Test cricket arrived at Riverside yesterday, but there was no historic first ball for Steve Harmison. Chief Sports Writer Simon Rushworth reports.

Riverside's evolution from farmer's field to field of dreams is nothing short of remarkable and yesterday's historic second Test provided a fitting tribute to the team behind the transition.

Former England favourites turned media pundits Derek Pringle and Mike Gatting may have been miffed when faced with their meagre lunch rations on the day Durham offered a menu of first class international cricket.

Yet even those hungry old pros must have been mightily impressed with the glorious sight which greeted the gathering crowds at the northern-most Test venue in the world.

Beneath a beaming sun, this fabulous venue glistened against the imposing backdrop of Lumley Castle and looked every inch a home befitting England. A beautifully prepared pitch, passionate backing and the threat from protesters restricted to the periphery, Chester-le-Street offered the perfect setting for Nasser Hussain's men.

Having won the toss, England's captain lost the sun but this was no bad day for cricket.

Those who had journeyed to the North-East with the express intent of perpetuating the popular image of gravel skies and pouring rain were left sorely disappointed as an uninterrupted day's play got under way.

By choosing to bat, Hussain had, of course, denied a strong local contingent their opportunity to see the Ashington Express steaming in on his home county track.

Steve Harmison's role was restricted to that of balcony attraction as a succession of family, friends and various well-wishers waved madly at England's Northumberland-born bowler.

Looking down from his perch in the packed main stand, the 24-year-old was at least afforded the opportunity to enjoy this most memorable of days from the comfort of the home side's dressing room. …

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