Cricket: Bicknell puts Surrey in charge

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DARREN BICKNELL found top form at The Oval yesterday, scoring 114 for Surrey on the second day of their County Championship match against Somerset and helping his side to 425 for 8, a lead of 226.

Bicknell, 32 next month, had not scored a Championship century since September 1997. That was his last Championship innings until this summer, a back injury keeping him out of first-class cricket last season.

However, Surrey would have been in an even stronger position were it not for a late flurry of dismissals after Somerset belatedly took the new ball, Andy Caddick claiming two wickets in three balls.

Matt Windows and Jeremy Snape batted Gloucestershire into a strong position on the second day of the match with Essex at Gloucester. Windows became the county's first centurion of the season, hitting 118, while Snape contributed a valuable 75 not out. Their efforts helped the home side close on 352 for 7, with a lead of 79.

Durham had a first-day disaster at Headingley, where they were bowled out in 37 overs for 114 by Yorkshire, who closed on 231 for 6. The home team's Matthew Hoggard and Chris Silverwood produced some quality swing and seam bowling.