Cricket: Thorpe rights captains' wrongs

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The Independent Online
Kent 260; Surrey 261-6 Surrey win by four wickets

ENGLAND'S two captains had one of those days at Canterbury yesterday. One fell on his sword, the other was put to it. The dismissals of the Test captain, Alec Stewart, and Adam Hollioake, England's one-day leader, looked suspect at the very least. Honour was served though as holders Surrey, in beating Kent in a reprise of last year's Benson and Hedges Cup final, moved through to a home tie in the quarter-finals.

They did so with the help of yet another superbly judged half century - his third on the trot in this competition this season - from the Gold Award winner Graham Thorpe. The England left-hander finished unbeaten on 85 as he saw Surrey home with three overs to spare.

There was never any chance that Stewart would contest Min Patel's claim for a caught and bowled. He was barely 24 hours into his new job and would not want a controversial start to his reign. But although the third umpire was not called, television replays indicated that the return drive by Stewart was grounded before being embraced awkwardly by Kent's slow left- arm bowler.

The umpire John Harris did not spot anything wrong and Stewart, after a nano second's hesitation, walked before the umpire could raise his finger, having made a good-looking 40. Later Patel said: "As far as I was concerned I caught the ball cleanly." Stewart said: "Min nodded his head. The umpire nodded his head. I've got no problems with Min. I wandered off."

Adam Hollioake replaced him and the hoodoo struck again. He was within sight of his half-century when Matthew Fleming sent down a leg-side wide. The ball rebounded off the wicketkeeper Steve Marsh's chest and gloves before dislodging the bails. The replay showed Hollioake was not out of his ground when the bail was dislodged, but the appeal for a stumping was upheld by umpire Harris at square leg.

To suffer one run-out may be deemed unfortunate, to suffer two an unlucky coincidence, but for Kent to allow three was downright careless. Matthew Walker, Alan Wells and Carl Hooper all departed to run-outs, and only Walker's could be put down to the opposition's brilliance. The others were foolish. Hooper was in full flow when he fell for 69.

To make matters worse for Kent, in the same over they had already lost Mark Ealham after a belligerent half century in better than even time. He fell to the leg-spinner Ian Salisbury, who ended with a very respectable 2 for 36. Thankfully Marsh was able to flay the Surrey attack for 18 brutal balls in which he made 37, including two sixes in Saqlain Mushtaq's last over.

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