Cricket: Ramprakash sees red as the going slows down

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The Independent Online
Kent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .265 and 392-8 dec

Middlesex . . . . . . . . . . . . . .311 and 231-5

Match drawn

FROM a glance at the scoreboard you might assume that it was all happening here. Nothing, though, could be further from the truth, Middlesex never once really suggesting that they were interested in chasing a target of 347 at a shade under four an over as they plodded towards a bore-draw.

Thank heavens then for the lady in red, who caused quite a stir when minding her own business at the Nursery End. Seated behind the sight-screen in the Edrich Stand, she became the centre of attention for Mark Ramprakash, who was having troubled picking up the ball.

He was also having trouble picking up runs, taking 54 minutes and 35 deliveries to shift himself off 13. It was after that that he saw red, a fellow spectator coming to the rescue with a white sweater. Ramprakash had blamed his dismissal here against the Australians on a similar occurrence.

Much more of this and you would not put it past officialdom to impose a coloured-clothing bar ('You can't come in here wearing that - more than my job's worth'). When things settled down again, Ramprakash reached his second Championship half-century in successive matches with his seventh boundary.

By then, though, he had been in for 182 minutes and had faced 149 balls. It was that sort of an afternoon, John Carr having also become becalmed on five for 35 minutes. The superb six over long-on which Matthew Fleming treated Mark Feltham's fifth delivery of the morning appeared light years away.

Kent had batted on for nine overs, in which Martin McCague's short-arm savagery of a ball from Angus Fraser brought another six besides gasps of appreciation.

As for the rest, it was prod and plod, Middlesex five down and still 116 adrift with Carr's overall undefeated occupation in this match stretching eight and a half hours for 178 runs. To give an idea of Middlesex's slow progress yesterday, Carr's half- century took him 166 minutes.