Cricket: Dale deals with erratic Surrey attack

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan 351-9 v Surrey

Everyone has the occasional bad day at the office. Yesterday it was Surrey's turn, only in their case it was a bad day in the field. If they were not taking (and breaking) wickets with no balls, then they were breaking their bowlers' hearts by uncharacteristic fielding errors and wild throws which resulted in a couple of fives to the grateful Glamorgan batsmen.

The day had begun badly for the second-placed side when the wicketkeeper, Graham Kersey, pulled out with a fractured right thumb, leaving Alec Stewart to don the gloves. The Surrey captain then had the misfortune to lose the toss on an unhelpful wicket. With just one recognised spinner, Richard Pearson, compared with Glamorgan's two - Dean Cosker and England's Robert Croft - the portents were not good.

Mind you, it was not all plain sailing for Glamorgan either. News leaked out of a little local difficulty concerning their overseas player, Ottis Gibson. The signing for two years of Waqar Younis, the Pakistan fast bowler, means there is no place for the Barbadian all-rounder in the future. Gibson took the future to mean now and was left out of the side, because of what was diplomatically described by Glamorgan as a lack of commitment.

The early departures of Steve James and Hugh Morris must have set hearts fluttering and raised hopes in Surrey breasts; both sentiments, however, proved wide of the mark as first Matthew Maynard and then Adrian Dale dealt comfortably with everything that Surrey could bowl at them. Maynard had already scored four Championship hundreds and must have kicked himself when he clubbed a Joey Benjamin delivery straight at Pearson when 18 runs away from a further century.

Dale took up the cudgels and, as the Surrey attack wilted in the long afternoon, hit his way to within sight of three figures. However, after more than three hours, he suddenly played across a straight ball from Pearson and was bowled.

The new man Cosker was bowled in the next over, his leg stump hit by Brendon Julian, but such was Surrey's luck that although the delivery broke the stump and a substitute had to be found, Cosker survived, because the delivery was deemed a no ball. Martin Bicknell, too, had little to cheer. He was twice warned for running on the wicket - once at each end; a third transgression would have seen him "sent off" for the rest of the innings.

Bicknell corrected the problem and was there at the close - by which time Surrey had picked up a vital fourth bowling bonus point, the first of their targets for this match. Today they must match that feat with the bat.

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