County round-up: Pietersen back to lead Surrey after recovery from surgery

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The Independent Online

University matches are not normally big news, but today's game between Surrey and Cambridge MCCU at Fenner's should buck the trend. The reason? Kevin Pietersen, on the route back to fitness after his double hernia surgery six weeks ago, will captain the Oval side.

Apart from Pietersen, who joined the Brown Caps at the tail end of last season from Hampshire, Surrey's XI will be largely made up of youngsters and second-teamers. How Pietersen, who barely played for Hampshire during his time there, responds to the challenge of leading such an inexperienced XI will be fascinating given the sour end to his England tenure.

Marcus Trescothick, meanwhile, set out against Durham at Chester-le-Street yesterday as if he had some fairly unpleasant memories of his own to erase. And he probably did: the Somerset captain was facing Durham for the first time since the last game of last season, when a draw meant his county were denied their first title by the narrowest of margins. Things were far sweeter yesterday, however, as he struck 144 to help the West Country side hit 383 for 4 by stumps.

Nick Compton also went to three figures (finishing on 149 not out) on a day of almost total domination for the away side in the north-east. They raced along at nearly four an over to continue their revival after a dismal start to the season. They are seeking a third Championship win on the trot having lost their first two games.

There were few bright spots for Phil Mustard's side after Callum Thorp removed Arul Suppiah with the seventh ball of the day. Trescothick's 249-run partnership with Compton ended when he sliced a drive high in the air to point, where Ruel Brathwaite held on. Later, James Hildreth and 19-year-old Alex Barrow were also out.

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