Cricket: Hollioake looks a class apart

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The Independent Online
Surrey 201-9 dec Nottinghamshire 73-1

After losing the first two days of this match to rain, it will require considerable ingenuity from the captains if a definite result is now to be achieved. They will surely have tried to work out something, but their plans may not have been helped when Surrey did not bat well on a pitch which allowed some lift and movement.

If Surrey had batted through the day, one would have expected both sides to forfeit an innings, leaving Nottinghamshire to better Surrey's first innings total in their second innings. With Nottinghamshire going so slowly in the final session, there seems little room left for manoeuvre.

After winning the toss, Surrey lost four wickets for 21, two each to Paul Franks and Kevin Evans, who were lively. Mark Butcher, Graham Thorpe and Adam Hollioake all felt for balls outside the off stump and were caught behind the stumps or in the slips.

This let in Ben Hollioake, who proceeded to play an innings that was in a different class from anything else all day. He began by not so much taking a step as strolling down the pitch to Mark Bowen and driving him past mid-off. Hollioake, who is 19, already has a dominating presence at the crease. He has more time than most to play his strokes, he has a lovely sense of timing and there is an easy authority about his strokeplay which seems surprising in one so young.

Yet true class is not something a batsman acquires: if he is lucky enough, he is born with it. It would be impossible to see too much of him batting unless you happen to be one of the bowlers.

He should have made 100 but, when six short of his 50, he hooked and was caught off the top edge at mid-on. The rest of the innings centred round Chris Lewis, who concentrated hard for his 48 and the last four wickets added 98. Surrey were without Alec Stewart, whose wife is unwell, and his place was taken by James Knott, son of Alan. He kept competently enough in the evening.

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