Cricket: Thorpe on high: Michael Austin reports from Trent Bridge

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Surrey 207 and 377-5; Nottinghamshire 357

GRAHAM THORPE is enjoying a champagne week, metaphorically at least, with selection for another England A tour sandwiched between the caviar of a career-best 216 for Surrey against Somerset and a century here yesterday.

Thorpe, at just 23, becomes the only ever-present on all four winter trips so far for the A team when going to Australia. He even embarked on the first two to Zimbabwe and jointly to Sri Lanka and Pakistan as an uncapped county player.

The upshot of Thorpe's 10th first-class century was Surrey's advance towards a lead of 227 with five wickets in hand as the match took another dizzy turn on a benign pitch reaching its dotage. Alec Stewart, the Surrey captain, was himself threatening to become a centenarian, making 85 before chopping Mark Crawley into his stumps with five lights glaring on the scoreboard and the quicker bowlers removed from the attack to perpetuate the play.

Nottinghamshire's first-innings lead of 150 was swept aside. Every Surrey batsman, minus David Ward, dismissed the previous evening, fuelled the bowling arm of their left-arm spinner, Neil Kendrick, with runs to defend today. Kendrick has exceeded 50 wickets this summer and could be the match-winner - if there is one, because for the first time a draw looks possible.

The spectacle was far from riveting but the execution of Surrey's revival was supremely clinical, except when Monte Lynch thrashed 70 off 108 balls before Chris Lewis sent his off stump reeling.

Otherwise, hardly a ball passed the bat. The only anxiety was Darren Bicknell's. When batting, he could have muttered darkly about his brother Martin for following through on the pitch the previous day and twice being warned.

Martin's footmarks became the line of the off stump for the left- handed Darren, who survived Andy Afford's attempts to bowl into the 'rough' by becoming the second of four half-century makers.

Alistair Brown aims to become the next. He has scored at almost a run a ball in a burgeoning first-class career but circumspection is in order this time. For Nottinghamshire, forcing victory is imperative in their quest for second place, together with pounds 23,000 prize-money.