Cricket: Brown adds dash of colour

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire 153; Surrey 321-7

ON GREY DAYS such as this, even a brief splash of colour will do. Thank goodness Alistair Brown and Monte Lynch were there to provide it.

Rain delayed the start by 45 minutes here yesterday, but the opening over more than atoned for lost time. Jack Russell, unnerved perhaps by Alec Stewart's accomplished glove- work the previous day, did the unthinkable and conceded a bye. Courtney Walsh glowered then perked up two balls later when Darren Bicknell played him gently into the covers and ambled casually to the other end as Mark Davies swooped to hit direct.

Russell then fumbled again and the over ended with Paul Atkins slicing into the slips, where Marcus Wight and Tony Wright got in each other's way.

Atkins made the most of his luck, driving pleasingly through the off- side, while Graham Thorpe settled into his acquisitive mode: nothing flamboyant, nothing rash, just commonsense batting on a pitch devoid of pace and demanding careful navigation.

Atkins, though, lost his bearings after lunch, driving loosely at Kevin Cooper and losing his off-stump, a fate that also befell Stewart in the next over as he pushed forward to Walsh. Thorpe then moved sedately to his 50 before an intemperate swish off Ricardo Williams gave a simple catch to Russell.

Whether Brown or Lynch know the meaning of the word temperate is doubtful, yet the fifth-wicket pair were barely into their bellicose stride when both were reprieved off the same delivery. Brown edged Mark Alleyne to slip, but Wright failed to hold on.

Noticing that Lynch had advanced half-way down the pitch, Wright promptly threw wildly to the bowler's end. Chris Broad gathered and lobbed the ball back towards the stumps but missed by some distance as Lynch dived in a forlorn bid to regain his ground. Thus was Gloucestershire's season summed up in a few desultory seconds.

Brown and Lynch capitalised with some fine strokes, adding 41 in six jubilant overs after tea before Alleyne returned to win a leg-before decision against Brown. When Lynch succumbed to Alleyne's grubber six overs later, 10 short of his first hundred of the summer, more than an hour remained. Russell's subsequent dropping of Waqar Younis was merely sad.