Cricket: Ghostly Zoehrer haunts Surrey: Australians continue winning ways

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The Independent Online
Australians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .378-9 dec and 171-4 dec

Surrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 and 144

Australians win by 174 runs

THE two greatest English batsmen of all joined forces for the first time yesterday when a handsome brick sculpture of Sir Len Hutton was unveiled by his widow just inside the Hobbs Gates. Reminding the luminaries present that patriotic pleasures may be few and far between this summer, Australia's reserve wicketkeept promptly filched the limelight.

So firmly ensconced is Ian Healy that Tim Zoehrer's presence on tour will probably prove to be a ghostly apparition. If so, he certainly made the most of his 15 minutes with eight victims in Surrey's excuse for a second innings, equalling the Australian first-class record. May the memory comfort him while he pours out the orange squash at Old Trafford.

In world terms, Zoehrer's total of six catches and two stumpings lags only behind the eight catches and one stumping by Tahir Rashid for Habib Bank last winter. On the other hand, Tahir did accomplish his feat against the might of the Pakistan Automobile Corporation.

Surrey were scarcely worthier opponents. Given the reluctance of their captain and leading bowler to participate, you would never have guessed that they were the ones playing for pounds 4,000 from the seemingly bottomless Tetley Bitter barrel, twice the sum on offer to the tourists.

In Ashes' terms, the most significant display came from the ex-beach bum, Shane Warne. Surfing through the tail on a wave of orthodox leg-breaks spiced with googlies, top-spinners and even the occasional flipper, the Victorian lived up to part of his advance billing.

After Mark Taylor had acquired his highest first-class score of the tour, 80, Allan Border set an eminently reasonable target of 319 off a minimum of 84 overs. The grizzly pallor of the skies doubtless as much a factor in his calculations as his

seamers' erratic exploits first time round.

Border would also have been aware that Surrey has a habit of fluctuating between pig-out and pig's ear, and the latter loomed when Darren Bicknell failed to pick up a shortish one from Brendon Julian and bade his leave in the first over.

Eager to atone for his cheap, if unlucky, first-innings dismissal, Graham Thorpe looked Test material with a searing cut to the ropes off Julian to open to account before Paul Reiffel enhanced his Manchester hopes by inducing a nick from Monte Lynch, then evicting Alistair Brown via a slice to gully.

Bowling from the pavilion end for the first time, Warne floated the ball into the footmarks and the rest was largely a procession. Thorpe coped better than anyone, cutting his first offering for four and reading the turn well from the back foot, but once he was caught down the leg side off one that bounced and spat, the last six bottles toppled for 45 in 19 overs. England can probably consider themselves Warned.

----------------------------------------------------------------- FIRST-CLASS KEEPERS ----------------------------------------------------------------- 9 (8c 1st): Tahir Rashid (Habib Bank v PAC, Gujranwala) 1992-93 8 (6c 2st): Tim Zoehrer (Australians v Surrey, The Oval) 1993. 8 (all ct): Wally Grout (Queensland v Western Australia, Brisbane) 1959-60. 8 (all ct): David East (Essex v Somerset, Taunton) 1985. 8 (all ct): Steve Marsh (Kent v Middlesex, Lord's) 1991. -----------------------------------------------------------------