Cricket: Assault from Smith helps to turn tide

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Surrey 425

Middlesex 190-3

IF DEFIANT is hardly the most apposite adjective to describe Surrey's recent crease escapades, a stiffening of resolve has been apparent here. It was too late to claw back the ground lost to Warwickshire, but hugely entertaining on a day when the bat established a totalitarian regime and spinners were all but disenfranchised.

From a nadir of 232 for 6 - in itself a relative triumph given 48 for 6, 49 for 6 and 55 for 7 during their previous three games - Surrey rallied by dint of some vigorous clumping orchestrated by Andy Smith. The morning session yielded 153 runs in 32 overs as this slightly built, clean-striking all- rounder hustled to his first Championship 50 of the summer from 54 balls before sticking on 66 for 42 minutes.

Martin Bicknell, Tony Pigott and Joey Benjamin then took turns to give the depleted Middlesex attack a sound hiding, the last four wickets thrashing 193 from 33 overs. So much for the supposed green demons that persuaded Mike Gatting to omit Phil Tufnell. The one bowler able to raise his chin from the vertical was Mark Feltham, formerly of this parish and evidently intent on making a point or three. Maintaining a full length throughout, he bowled Darren Bicknell and Adam Hollioake before the mayhem began, had the younger Bicknell snapped up behind square and held a running catch to unseat Pigott. With five wickets in sight, he was mortified to see Benjamin dropped twice in one over.

Middlesex began solidly but Mike Roseberry's departure to a slip catch prompted an uncertain period. Gatting swatted Benjamin to square-leg, Mark Ramprakash survived a chance to long-leg and Desmond Haynes was caught behind in the closing overs on a day of self-affirmation for the hosts.

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