Cricket: Salisbury pins down Durham

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The Independent Online
THIS WAS drip-fed cricket at its best. A trickle of runs, the occasional splash of a wicket. Everyone earned their corn in between the showers.

There were three stoppages, the longest in the morning session for the best part of an hour-and-a-half and one that was absorbed by an early tea.

In all 29 overs were lost to the weather, but Surrey were able to make up some of that towards the end of proceedings by bowling their spinners Saqlain Mushtaq and Ian Salisbury in tandem for more than 40 overs.

And what time was left for action produced some fascinating cricket, a real battle between bat and ball - Durham's John Morris ploughing a lone, but very straight, furrow against some excellent Surrey bowling.

Early on Martin Bicknell bowled beautifully, beating the bat at regular intervals. The Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain was at his bamboozling best, while Salisbury's lower delivery of his leg spin appears not only to eliminate the over-abundance of four-balls, but also eliminates batsmen. His devastating late-evening spell of 3 for 7 in 14 balls turned this match Surrey's way.

For much of the time Durham, led by Morris, resisted admirably. He and Jon Lewis dug themselves in so deep it was difficult at times to spot their helmeted heads above the parapet. They added 85 for the second wicket, a stand which occupied 40 overs.

Morris played some exemplary cricket, using his head and his feet to deal with the spin. Lewis was not as daring in his approach, there were three boundaries and a lot of dot balls in his three-hour stay. He fell driving at Salisbury and things began to wobble for Durham.

Saqlain finally claimed a wicket in his 23rd over, taking a smart return catch to account for Jimmy Daley. The captain David Boon suffered an uncomfortable nine overs before he sparked Salisbury's hot spell and the dam finally burst. Paul Collingwood and Martin Speight both fell to him while, in between, Saqlain got the big one. Morris had been in for three-and-a- half hours when he was well taken down the leg side by Batty having passed 50. The tail needs just four more to avoid the follow-on today.