Cricket: Nottinghamshire look up to Evans

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Surrey 207 and 34-1

Nottinghamshire 357

IT WAS not so much cor blimey as good Evans here yesterday. Kevin Evans, batting at eight for Nottinghamshire, scored a resolute career best of 104 to build a handsome and unexpected lead over Surrey.

This healthy position in a turbulent season for Nottinghamshire upstaged Martin Bicknell's 5 for 89 between being warned twice by Barrie Leadbeater, the umpire, for following through on the pitch.

Matches do occasional pirouettes, but this has already turned a couple of somersaults. From 123 for 9, Surrey made 207, but Nottinghamshire transformed 125 for 5 into 357. Everyone's favourite batting time has been in the afternoon, the ratio of wickets: 11 before lunch, another four before tea and six afterwards over the two days.

The statutory 10.30 September starts, have done nothing for batsmen and Surrey face another early-bird challenge today, still 116 runs behind with nine wickets intact. They had lost David Ward, caught chasing a wide one from Chris Lewis, in the third over.

Evans, from the mining village of Calverton, slips into the background off the field. They call him the dressing-room ghost, but he emerged with a second first-class century of a nine-year career.

His previous distinctions this summer included only one no-ball in more than 500 first-class overs, a rare achievement for a seam bowler nowadays. Evans had just returned from a fortnight's absence through knee trouble.

Lewis set an example with a punishing half-century off 57 balls. Evans swiftly followed and shared a ninth-wicket partnership of 124 with Steve Bramhall, who also scored a career best, 37 not out.

Bicknell struggled to find his foothold, accidentally and regularly knocked off the bails in his delivery stride, but battled through 36 overs. He returned five or more wickets for the fourth time this season and confirmed his value to Surrey.

Richie Richardson, the West Indies captain, will be Yorkshire's overseas player next season in succession to Sachin Tendulkar. The 30-year-old batsman has signed a one-year contract with the county, a decision that has upset Brian Close, the chairman of the cricket committee, who would have preferred a bowler.