Cricket: Stewart and Bicknell open up old wounds

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The Independent Online
Lancashire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .129 and 342

Surrey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .301-9 dec and 171-0

Surrey win by 10 wickets

THIS second Surrey victory, having dropped only one point from a maximum of 48, was just for openers. Alec Stewart and Darren Bicknell shared an unbroken century stand for the second time in the match as Lancashire stood, stared and licked their wounds, psychological and otherwise.

Surrey rushed to victory, scoring their runs at almost four an over off an attack lacking Wasim Akram, through a strained hamstring. Neil Fairbrother has a similar injury to his left leg but the official word was that both are in the party for today's Benson and Hedges Cup match at Derby.

The unofficial word is that they have precious little chance of playing and that Fairbrother could be absent for at least a week.

This defeat, together with the cabaret of errors presenting Surrey with a Sunday win, adds a further ingredient to Lancashire's cauldron, which is already simmering with its familiar discontent among the members.

In Lancashire's defence, they attempted to defend a total with four uncapped bowlers out of five. It was mission impossible in the best batting conditions of the match. The day was fresh and clear, no swing was available and the greenness of the pitch had disappeared. Surrey's openers basically enjoyed a net.

When Bicknell hit the winning boundary by on-driving Alex Barnett, the most challenging of Lancashire's bowlers despite his figures, Surrey had maintained their brisk tempo which had brought 73 in the first hour and another 56 in the second. Stewart, adding to his first-innings 126, amassed 214 runs for once out.

Among Surrey's many attributes, there is a scoring urgency which will allow extra time to bowl out the opposition and force victory on flatter pitches than this.

Despite Jason Gallian's proud place as the fourth-highest scorer on County Championship debut, with 171, following Phil Simmons, of Leicestershire, less than a fortnight ago, on 247 not out, J Ricketts, of Lancashire in 1867 and Warwickshire's H Venn in 1919, Lancashire's opening stands produced only 12 and six with Michael Atherton suffering worrying failures.

Atherton, the England captain, knows more than most that this will be a long season, but for Lancashire, with their thin bowling

resources, it could be even longer, despite calling upon 10 first-class centurions in this game.

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