Cricket: Adams puts on show of defiance: Surrey swagger onwards

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The Independent Online
Derbyshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .208 and 224

Surrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .570-6 dec

Surrey win by an innings and 138 runs

SO FAR as his employers are concerned, the one regret about Chris Adams's undying affection for the Surrey attack is that his co-workers do not share it. For the second day running here, Derbyshire's one-man arsenal fired off a century as hasty as it was feisty. Once again, the gesture was futile.

Entering at 74 for 5, Adams made light of a bruised thigh to reach three figures off 95 balls, 86 coming in boundaries, and ultimately collected 109 out of the 150 runs gathered before the curtain finally fell. Such is the strength in those sinewy forearms, even the top-edges flew for six.

Outplaying a side lacking all three first-choice seamers might not be that great a feat, but Surrey have now won all eight of their fixtures this season. More impressive still, they have bounded out of the Championship blocks with a vigour virtually unprecedented in the bonus points era, picking up 71 points out of a possible 72. There is an expectant swagger about them, albeit one that may be tempered by international calls.

Martin Bicknell, who will deputise as captain against Northamptonshire on Thursday while Alec Stewart and Graham Thorpe are at Edgbaston, all but decided the outcome in his first two overs, trapping Peter Bowler mid- shuffle and Tim O'Gorman as he aimed across the line. Mohammad Azharuddin afforded some fleeting glimpses of his genius but when he gloved Joey Benjamin to square leg, any notions of survival evaporated at a stroke.

Azharuddin's partner in a third-wicket stand of 42, the highest of the innings, was the intriguing Adrian Rollins. Built like a linebacker and 6ft 5in, he confounds the insidious racial stereotype that English cricketers of Caribbean extraction are good for little else but flinging balls at batsmen.

To see a forward prod whiz down the ground was to appreciate the power at his disposal, but resolve was the keynote here and Rollins provided plenty until Cameron Cuffy darted one away for Martin Bicknell to plunge at third slip for a superb low catch. The ridiculous succeeded the sublime next ball when Karl Krikken stumbled in mid-pitch, dropped his bat and tried, forlornly, to get home without it.

There had been fond hopes that Stewart might grant David Ward a chance to acquire the six runs needed to record Surrey's first triple-century since Jack Hobbs in 1926. Reasoning, presumably, that to do so would devalue the achievement, Stewart wisely chose to declare at the overnight total, a decision the selfless Ward took in good heart.

(Photograph omitted)

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