Collapses like Lancashire's on Wednesday are not unknown at The Oval, and Surrey will have been all too mindful of their undignified exit from last year's NatWest Trophy at the hands of Nottinghamshire as they went about their business on this rain-enforced second day.
The morning could hardly have made a better start for them, with Brown and Stewart both playing some handsome strokes. Stewart hooked and drove while Brown drove and cut and, while they were together, the only question was whether or not the lunchtime picnic basket would have to be taken home unopened.
In the 19th over, at 81, Brown then made room to cut Gary Yates and chopped the ball into his leg stump. Three runs later Stewart played back and edged Glenn Chapple, and Andrew Flintoff held a fine catch two-handed low to his left at first slip.
Graham Thorpe flirted with danger outside the off-stump against Yates, rather as he had done against the off-spin of Carl Hooper in the recent series in the West Indies. He once straight-drove him into the pavilion for six, but then pushed forward to one that turned and lifted a fraction and was caught behind.
At 113, Jason Ratcliffe checked his drive against Wasim Akram's slower ball and was caught at mid-off. Three overs later, Butcher, when three, cut at Yates and Wasim dropped a quick catch two-handed to his right at slip - and that was effectively Lancashire's last chance.
Butcher cut and drove in fine style while Adam Hollioake's chunky belligerence was splendid. He drove Ian Austin over wide mid-off for six and repeated the stroke against Peter Martin before Butcher was caught behind driving. There was just time for two effortless strokes from Ben Hollioake before Surrey won with 4.2 overs to spare.
l After being bowled out for 305, New Zealand reduced Sri Lanka to 251 for 7 at the close of the second day of the first Test in Colombo. Mahela Jayawardena scored 52 while Chris Cairns took three wickets.Reuse content