Brown century revives Surrey

Middlesex 437 Surrey 460
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The Independent Online

Alistair Brown has made two centuries against Middlesex, both at Lord's, both important. The first, a double hundred, stood briefly as his career best, but yesterday's quite possibly turned the match - weather and luck permitting.

It certainly revived Surrey fortunes, which looked a trifle bleak when a morning X-ray revealed Mark Ramprakash had a hairline fracture to his right thumb.

It has effectively put him out of this match and he is likely to miss the trip to Hampshire next week.

Dominic Thornely, the stand-in overseas player, marked his county debut at cricket's headquarters by scoring a fine 81 and smashing a window in the committee room - the refurbished pavilion was later the focus of a fire scare (after bad light had stopped play) when a burning smell was detected in the Long Room, but the all clear was soon sounded.

Thornely batted magnificently. If he and Brown had stayed together all afternoon then Middlesex would have been shredded.

As it was, when the fifth wicket had realised 184 runs in 41 overs, Scott Styris got one to keep low, nip back down the Lord's slope to beat the New South Welshman's defences.

Crucially, Brown found enough support from the tail, most notably Martin Bicknell, to reach a superb, unbeaten 150, on the way ensuring maximum batting points and a modest first-innings lead.

His four and a half hours at the crease made for riveting viewing. Given the way he and Thornely tore into the Middlesex attack, it was remarkable that the excellent Alan Richardson - surely the signing of the close season - was allowed such an impressive return.

His 6-106 was his third significant haul of the season and in whipping out Jimmy Ormond and Harbhajan Singh in successive balls, he has left himself on a hat-trick next time out.