DURHAM HAVE been bowling out sides all season, missing out on maximum points just once. If their batsmen could show similar form they might well be heading the County Championship instead being at the bottom.
They did it again yesterday, with Stephen Harmison, the pick of the attack, finishing with his first five-wicket haul of the summer as Surrey were bundled out in a day.
Only a late rally had pulled the championship leaders out of trouble. Initially they came off second best until stolid resistance from their wicketkeeper Jonathan Batty, the leg-spinner Ian Salisbury and finally Martin Bicknell saw them through to three bonus points.
Salisbury, who scored his maiden first-class hundred here against Somerset last month, made a prudent half-century, a rarity in a Surrey innings that had proceeded with indecent haste, bordering on arrogance, from the moment they won the toss on a hard and fast track.
The morning session resembled Sunday League stuff as they smashed their way past 150. Ian Ward was in superb form, displaying some exquisite shots and perfect timing. But, having reached fifty for the fifth time this season, the left-hander mis-hit an attempted pull. Like many of the wickets to fall, it was a needless one.
Ben Hollioake was in similar touch and a similar frame of mind. There is no doubt that he is rich in talent, but his highest score for Surrey is 76. His two first-class hundreds were scored overseas for England A two winters ago in Sri Lanka.
His demolition of Graeme Bridge in one over promised much as he took four fours in five deliveries off the 18-year-old. In company with Alistair Brown he treated the Durham bowlers with something bordering on contempt, the pair crashing, banging and walloping 71 in 10 overs. During that torrid spell all that could be said of the bowling was that it was consistently accurate - finding the middle of the Surrey bats with unnerving frequency.
They had blasted their way almost to lunch when Brown pulled a ball from outside off stump. It travelled low and hard to John Morris who swooped and scooped up an ankle-high catch. It was difficult to assess who was the more surprised, the batsmen, the fielders or the catcher.
Hollioake, who had reached fifty for only the second time this season a couple of overs earlier, then tamely steered a lifting delivery from Harmison, who looked particularly fast, to second slip.
Until Hurricane Hollioake blew him out of the attack, Bridge, one of the stars of last winter's England Under-19 tour, had been enjoying a modestly successful first-class debut, having bowled five overs for eight runs; 20 came off the next two and he was rested. He did return and looked none the worse for his battering, picking up a wicket and bowling another 22 overs.Reuse content