Cricket: Surrey pride restored by Hollioake

Surrey 224 Sussex 99-2
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The Independent Online
CHAMPIONS-IN-WAITING they may be, but Surrey made a dreadful mess of yesterday morning's play before Adam Hollioake and Martin Bicknell added 121 restorative runs either side of lunch.

On a green wicket and in a buffeting wind, James Kirtley sprinted downhill for a 10-over spell that included four wickets for eight runs in 26 balls. Kirtley is a quick, straight bowler of considerable potential, and the Surrey batsmen simply could not judge the pace of the ball off the pitch. Once Jason Lewry had made the first breech in the third over, when Ian Ward snicked a ball that moved away from him, Kirtley took over with a sprightly display of line and length at speed.

There was no play at Hove on Wednesday, in spite of blue sky and a mocking gale - torrential overnight rain had turned a patch uphill from the wicket into a stubborn marsh. In conditions that would usually have pointed towards bowling first, Hollioake was anxious to establish Surrey's superiority with the bat. An hour later his top five men were back in the shed, with a sixth soon to follow.

As Adam Hollioake and Bicknell rebuilt the Surrey innings, there was no dramatic change in conditions, although the early spite had no doubt been trampled out of the strip. A captain's innings was required, and Hollioake applied himself. Bicknell lived more dangerously - a four snicked between the slips, a reprieve just before lunch when Richard Montgomerie grounded a slip chance off Robin Martin-Jenkins, and one or two wafts - but the Surrey fast bowler played far more handsome strokes than injudicious ones, reaching 50 with a brace of boundaries.

In the afternoon, bowling honours switched to Martin-Jenkins, who bagged his own four cheap wickets, also down the hill, with rangy swing bowling. Though with less than full pace, he uses his height to thump the ball into the pitch and achieves a steep, awkward bounce. He broke Surrey's only stand and brushed away the tail at tea-time.

At Surrey's lowest point around midday Hollioake would probably have accepted an eventual total of 224, and in what has become a three-day match, it gave the openers Bicknell and the veteran Joey Benjamin something to bowl at. After Montgomerie and Toby Peirce had fashioned the basis of a secure Sussex reply, Saqlain Mushtaq ruffled the home side with two wickets in two balls but Peirce and his captain, Chris Adams, guided Sussex safely to stumps.

n Derek Kenway, a 21-year-old opening batsman, scored the first century of his career to help Hampshire gain maximum batting bonus points at Southampton. Kenway made 102 against a depleted Warwickshire attack.