Cricket: Surrey wary of history

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The Independent Online
MIKE ATHERTON and Alec Stewart, the England captain and his deputy, renew their county rivalry today in the second round of the NatWest Trophy, with Stewart, the Surrey captain, keen to avoid a repeat of the events the last time Lancashire visited The Oval in a knock-out competition.

Lancashire appeared well beaten in the second round of the Benson and Hedges Cup last summer but after a stand of 212 between Stewart and Graham Thorpe, Surrey lost their last nine wickets for 18 runs and Lancashire won the tie.

After a turbulent winter Surrey will draw confidence from the fact that they are on top of the County Championship - having beaten Lancashire by 10 wickets - and reached the semi-finals of the Benson and Hedges Cup. Mike Watkinson, the Lancashire captain, said: 'Surrey are as good a side as anyone at the moment.'

Brian Lara has recovered from a slight knee problem and will be fit for Warwickshire who play Leicestershire at Grace Road, although they do have a doubt about the former England fast bowler Gladstone Small.

The match will give Lara the ideal opportunity to find his form before Saturday's Benson and Hedges final against Worcestershire at Lord's. Worcestershire, will pick from three openers to partner Tim Curtis - Adam Seymour, Phil Weston and Chris Tolley - for the meeting with Nottinghamshire at New Road.