Alleyne left to roar alone

Cricket: Gloucestershire 373 Surrey 228-6 dec
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The Independent Online
At a time when every English all-rounder seems to wear the Texaco lion, the neglect by the selectors of Mark Alleyne seems curious. He was 28 last Thursday, is at his peak, with first-class records of 256 and five for 78, and has taken 139 catches.

Sharing the Severn End with Courtney Walsh yesterday, he suffered nothing by comparison, hitting the deck and seaming off it, and if Gloucestershire had held their catches he might have had four wickets by tea and Surrey would have been following by the evening.

Their seventh-wicket pair eased them to safety, with Graham Kersey pulling Alleyne for six after Gloucestershire had twice sought unsuccessfully to change the ball. David Ward took Surrey past the follow-on total, and brought the declaration, at 228 for six, with his second straight six.

Surrey, after losing 86 overs to rain, had sought a quick finish to the Gloucestershire innings in the morning.Tim Hancock, once tipped for England by Eddie Barlow, resumed on a nervous 93, but after 15 minutes he reached his third century for the county.

Jack Russell played his usual games with the bowling, sometimes leaving his shot so late the ball appeared to have passed him. The pair had added 46 in 15 overs when, in some desperation, Adam Hollioake, the Surrey captain, called up Jason Ratcliffe.

Ratcliffe's first ball made Hancock stretch for Graham Kersey, standing up, to take a quicksilver catch. Two overs later, Hollioake took the new ball and Martin Bicknell and Brendon Julian, with winning pace and bounce, docked the tail with despatch and some excellent slip catching.

Surrey were cautious in commencing their innings. Mark Butcher had raised six in 15 overs when Monte Lynch at slip dived to his right and appeared to have pulled off a dazzler, off Walsh. But he couldn't confirm he had completed the catch. The umpires consulted and Butcher stayed - and stayed through two more escapes, at gully and long leg, when 21, after Alleyne had replaced Walsh.

But Mike Smith had already made the breakthrough, straightening up to rap Bicknell on the pads, lbw, and justice was done at 75 when Butcher nicked Alleyne again and this time Lynch's brilliant catch needed no confirming.

Surrey wavered as Hollioake was stumped while Nadeem Shahid tried to pull the returning Walsh, after tea, and fell to square leg. When Ratcliffe ended up run out, after being dumped on his bottom by a bouncer from Walsh, the alarm sounded.