County Championship round-up: Sarwan enjoys state of Grace away from Tests


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The Independent Online

It will be the opinion of more than one judge on the first day of a West Indies Test series in England that Ramnaresh Sarwan is wasted playing in the Second Division for Leicestershire.

The former West Indies captain has not played international cricket since July last year and lost his central contract in September, amid concerns over his form and fitness. The West Indies coach, Ottis Gibson, has told him he has a future if he can demonstrate he is back to his best.

The 31-year-old batsman is making a good case for his recall. Yesterday he scored 117, his second century in his sixth Championship match for Leicestershire, sharing a stand of 216 with Josh Cobb as Matthew Hoggard's struggling side recovered from 29 for 3 against Essex at Grace Road.

In the First Division, Somerset's Nick Compton, seeking to be the first man since Graeme Hick in 1988 to score 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May, moved to 819 in a run-heavy day at The Oval. Surrey's Mark Ramprakash will be still less pleased to have been dropped. Compton was not one of Somerset's two centurions, however, falling leg before to the medium pace of Zander de Bruyn for 83. Arul Suppiah and James Hildreth were the men to make Surrey regret their decision to rest fast bowler Jade Dernbach.

In the Second Division, Glamorgan took a batting bonus point – their first of the season – but were still bowled out for 236 by Derbyshire, their innings bolstered by 79 from Marcus North on his debut for a sixth county. Simon Katich, another Australian, playing for his fifth county, was 180 not out as Hampshire closed on 352 for 5 against Yorkshire at Headingley. The Northamptonshire opener Rob Newton will be out for four to five weeks after suffering a cracked forearm when facing Kent's Matt Coles at Canterbury.