Cricket / County Championship: Benjamin's sweet six buoys Surrey

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire 263; Surrey 104-1

LEICESTERSHIRE won the toss on a day when The Oval seemed chock full of runs, but soon after lunch they found themselves scratching their heads and looking at a score of 101 for 6 against the Championship leaders. The last four wickets then put this start into a more real perspective by adding another 162.

Joey Benjamin had taken three wickets and Andy Smith two with his off breaks, and as the afternoon wore on, Benjamin picked up three more and finished with 6 for 81, taking his season's tally of first-class wickets to 46. Benjamin bustles into the wicket and, with a quick action, relentlessly attacks the batsman with an exuberant hostility. He bowled three batsman and had another leg before.

There was not much movement and Leicestershire have mostly their own batting to blame for the early collapse. Nigel Briers was soon out, lbw on the back foot to Cameron Cuffy, and Benjamin then found the edge of Tim Boon's as he drove. Phil Simmons was in spanking form until Smith beat him in the air and held a powerfully hit return catch, and, one run later, James Whitaker carelessly missed a pull. Leicestershire's Ben Smith pushed defensively at Benjamin in the over before lunch and was caught at slip. Peter Hepworth was then lbw half forward to the same bowler.

Paul Nixon now joined Vince Wells and for the first time the bat was in charge as they drove, cut and played off their legs in style. Both reached fifty and they added 85 for the seventh wicket. Gordon Parsons also played some firm strokes late in the innings before Surrey themselves made a good start to their innings in the evening mostly as a result of Alec Stewart's efforts.