Cricket: Brown turns on the power: Surrey sneak home in Sunday league

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The Independent Online
Essex 207-9; Surrey 208-8. Surrey win by two wickets

SURREY have a rare talent for getting themselves into trouble. After another breathtaking exhibition of stroke-play by Alistair Brown had appeared to hand them victory, the middle order contrived to get themselves out. Although Mark Butcher stayed to steer them home, it had all been much too close for their comfort.

After winning the toss Essex struggled on a very slow pitch to reach 207 for 9 and Graham Gooch coming in at No 5 was the only one to bat with any conviction. Surrey were given a remarkable start by Brown who made 52 in 41 balls and when he was out in the 16th over the score was 85 for 2.

Alec Stewart and Graham Thorpe seemed to have the situation well under control and it did not appear to be significant when Thorpe was stumped trying to get after Peter Such. This brought in Monte Lynch who, almost at once, collided in mid- run with Stewart and both had to be treated by the physiotherapist. Stewart's shoulder was clearly making life difficult for him but he says he should be fit for England's game on Wednesday. Lynch straight drove John Stephenson for six but next ball was well picked up by Jonathan Lewis.

Stewart followed immediately, caught behind, and David Ward lunged forward to Stephenson and was stumped. Waqar Younis joined Butcher who played some lovely strokes as the light improved.

Waqar joined in and brought up the 200 when he swung Mark Ilott over midwicket for six but when he tried to repeat the stroke to the next ball he was bowled and James Boiling was bowled by the one after that. Joey Benjamin survived the hat-trick and Butcher made sure of a victory which had seemed increasingly elusive as the evening wore on.

Earlier, Brown's innings had been a real joy. He played a succession of authentic strokes with power and timing, hitting five fours and two sixes.

Essex dropped Nasser Hussain for the game against Surrey. Graham Gooch said it was 'an internal matter'.