Cricket: The depressing spectacle of the modern game

Somerset 275-9 v Surrey

THIS WAS a thoroughly modern day's county cricket. Until Somerset were seven wickets down there was relentless seam bowling from both ends, a dreadful over-rate, with bad light ending play at 7.10pm, when there were still seven overs left, and a gradual wearing-down of the Somerset batsmen who, after being put in, fought their way to 275 for 9.

As a spectacle it did not have too much to recommend it. As an operation by Surrey, who began the day third in the table, four points behind Glamorgan, it was not especially satisfactory either.

Alec Stewart was back in charge and he was clearly prepared to take his time in bowling out Somerset. There was no obvious danger in the pitch, but with a slight tinge of green and a full house of fast bowlers against a county which has been in moderate form, it made sense for Surrey to bowl first.

Somerset's captain, Chris Tavare, who is retiring at the end of the season, is not well and Richard Harden was in charge. Somerset have usually been seen at their best over the years under a captain who is prepared to take a chance and at the moment it seems they badly need an injection of imagination in their cricket.

Paul Parker has been mentioned as a possible captain next year and he seems just the sort of wholehearted and enthusiastic performer that Somerset badly need.

Worcestershire bowled out Warwickshire, who are signing the Indian international Manoj Prabhakar next season, for 206 and scored 31 for 0 by the close.

Paul Pollard and Wayne Dessaur shared a record-breaking opening stand of 291 for Nottinghamshire, who finished at 320 for 3 against Derbyshire.

Craig White scored his maiden century for Yorkshire as they made 326 for 4 against Durham.

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