Cricket: Best of Bryson at the last

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The Independent Online
Surrey 207; Nottinghamshire 102-3

ANYONE stepping into the Surrey overseas bowling role vacated for this season by Waqar Younis would have faced an enormous challenge. Rudi Bryson, a South African, was the man and his indifferent performances have prompted nervous shuffling of feet around The Oval committee room.

Until yesterday, that is, when the 24-year-old Bryson, batting at No 10, scored a Championship- best 76, with 10 fours off 90 balls, to save Surrey's innings from imminent extinction at 104 for 8 soon after lunch.

Bryson, like most of his countrymen, believes in hitting the ball out of sight, and shared a last- wicket partnership of 84 in 26 overs with James Boiling.

After the pair batting next to the roller had added 30, Boiling was dropped by Kevin Evans at second slip off David Pennett, a costly lapse, in sharp contrast to the predatory efficiency of Nottinghamshire's earlier fielding.

In eight previous Championship matches, Bryson had taken only eight wickets at almost 110 runs each with a concession rate of four an over. When he yorked Tim Robinson off stump, Bryson had enjoyed the best day of his one-off summer.

Surrey's upper-order batsmen suffered something resembling their worst. The pitch, one of the two usually set aside here for international and Test matches, was a paragon of virtue. Its closest neighbour produced an all-time one-day international record score of 363 for 4 by England against Pakistan last month.

The early start, with its inevitable moisture, balanced the benefits of winning the toss and batting. Within an hour and three- quarters, Surrey were 71 for 7, a capitulation laced with rash strokes. Even Monte Lynch, then the top scorer, flailed and was caught at the wicket.

Pennett, a fair-haired quick bowler, returned 3 for 2 in four overs and Chris Lewis used the slower ball to remove Graham Thorpe, leg-before, and Alec Stewart, bowled off an inside edge, on his way to figures of 4 for 65. Mark Saxelby, dismissed for 43 amid the encroaching shadows, lost the opportunity to extend a Nottinghamshire record, already set this season. Ten of their players have scored a first-class 100 this summer - Saxelby could still be another.