Cricket: Surrey's spinning throwbacks

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Surrey 201-9 dec & 123-6 dec Notts 73-1 dec & 120 Surrey win by 131 runs

Shades of the Fifties at The Oval as Saqlain and Salisbury sent Nottinghamshire reeling to defeat yesterday. Just as Laker and Lock used to bemuse and beguile sides in the heady days when Surrey won everything, so leg-spinner Ian Salisbury and off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq tied Notts up in, well, knots.

Salisbury finished with summer-best figures of 6 for 19 off 18.1 overs, the last wicket falling with five balls remaining. Saqlain's impressive return was 2 for 34 off 26 overs and it all contrived to give Surrey their first Championship win of the season.

There was some thoughtful captaincy by Adam Hollioake, who kept the pressure on the batsmen, switching the spinners from one end to the other and swapping his field around incessantly. By the end Surrey had all nine fielders around the bat, in addition to wicketkeeper Jamie Knott, for the spinners.

Nottinghamshire almost held out. Wayne Noon was ninth out after 80 minutes' resistance, Paul Franks was unbeaten at the end after 28 minutes, but last man Mark Bowen fell to a superb catch by Knott

The whole thing was set up, beginning with Nottinghamshire's declaration on their overnight score. The plan was for Surrey to set a target of around 250, but they threatened to make a pig's ear out of it. While Surrey, thankfully, did not have to contend with what has been termed flighted filth, they did have to cope with some awkward stuff from the likes of Kevin Evans and Franks.

At 66 for 5 it even looked as if they might not have to declare but after lunch Knott managed to hang on at one end while Chris Lewis unleashed a flurry of cultured strokes which left a target of 252 off 59 overs.

Surrey are a hard side under the leadership of Hollioake. They seem to thrive on attrition, wearing down the opposition. Their lack of success this season is as much to do with the weather as it is with under-achievement or over-confidence.