Carter capitalises on Surrey sloppiness

Surrey 355 Warwickshire 85-1
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The Independent Online

Slapdash probably summed up Surrey's day most accurately. They certainly injected a bit of dash to proceedings, as 56 boundaries and two sixes would attest. But every time the First Division leaders threatened to gallop away from their hosts, Warwickshire, would slap them down. It was the same late in the day when a steady start to their reply certainly left the home side with the edge.

But on a day of three bizarre sessions (the last three quarters of an hour longer than scheduled), it was two remarkable spells by the left-arm pace man, Neil Carter, which put the skids under Surrey hopes of maximum bonus points.

With lunch looming the South Africa-born Carter, playing his first Championship game of the season, plucked out Graham Thorpe and Mark Ramprakash in the space of three balls, the latter becoming the first of the wicketkeeper Tony Frost's four catches. The next spell came late in the middle session and was sparked by Warwickshire's other left-arm seamer Graham Wagg, also making his first Championship appearance of the season, who had Azhar Mahmood caught down the leg side off the last ball of his 15th over.

Carter then marked the start of his fourth spell by having Alec Stewart and Ian Salisbury caught behind and Saqlain Mushtaq taken by Jonathan Trott, at short leg in the space of four balls to claim a Championship best 5 for 75 and only the fourth such haul of his career, two of them for Boland.

That left one Surrey wicket and they had just two batting points to their name. It should all have ended around then, but this was no ordinary day. And Surrey's is no ordinary tail end. Martin Bicknell and in particular Jimmy Ormond, dug out a defiant 67 more runs, salvaging pride and two further points before the bigger-hitting Ormond deflected a Dougie Brown delivery on to his stumps.

Before all that there had been the sight of Surrey captains past and present, Stewart and Adam Hollioake, breezing along, as they hammered a morale denting 150 runs in 31 overs.

It was not altogether orthodox, or in Stewart's case, batting that was in character, but it was certainly effective. It blew away the cobwebs, indeed at times it blew away the field, to judge by the three missed chances that Warwickshire had at the pair, and during the day there were other opportunities to bring premature ends to various Surrey batsmen which went begging, not to mention misfields, of which both sides were guilty.

In the end Hollioake completed a fourth half-century in successive innings against Warwickshire, while Stewart made it five fifties in seven Championship innings this season.