Brown batters Leicestershire

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire 234-7 Surrey 238-5 Surrey win by five wickets

One Englishman Australia did not have to contend with in the Texaco Trophy relieved his frustrations at Leicestershire's expense here yesterday.

Overlooked by the selectors for the opening exchanges with Australia, Alistair Brown almost single-handedly enabled an otherwise depleted Surrey side to strike a blow for the 40-over champions against the current masters of the four-day game.

Brown took Leicestershire's attack apart in the style to which supporters of the AXA Life League champions are well accustomed, battering one bowler after another with an awesome display of power in a career-best innings that surpassed his 142 not out against Middlesex at The Oval in 1994 as his and Surrey's highest individual Sunday score.

Yesterday's unbeaten 157 out of Surrey's match-winning 238 for 5 included a first 50 off 39 balls and a second off 37 as James Whitaker, the Leicestershire captain, was rendered helpless in all attempts to halt the carnage.

He collected 15 fours, plus three sixes. Such was Brown's dominance that the 107 runs piled on in 15 overs before the first Surrey wicket fell included only 16 to Brown's opening partner, Mark Butcher. Although the champions' progress suffered a blip when Neil Johnson removed Jason Ratcliffe and Nadeem Shahid in the same over, followed by Ian Ward's dismissal by Matthew Brimson in the next, victory was never in serious doubt.

Indeed, it was achieved with more than three overs to spare. Leicestershire did not get a flyer quite in Brown's class but Vince Wells and Johnson established a solid enough platform in respectably quick time and it was a pity it was not built on.

After Johnson, who hit 40 off 44 balls, had been bowled by Alex Tudor in the 16th over, no batsmen gained the upper hand until the tall and powerful Jon Dakin went after Ian Salisbury in the last few overs. Dakin's unbeaten 41 off 29 balls included 19 in one over against the England leg- spinner, who had missed the Championship game between these sides but proved his fitness here for tomorrow's Benson and Hedges Cup quarter-final against Essex.

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