Franklin puts a dent in Surrey's early optimism

Gloucestershire 333 Surrey 18-3
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The Independent Online

However gloomy the heavens were yesterday evening, they were as nothing to the black cloud that settled over the Surrey dressing room after they discovered that life in the Second Division is going to be just as tough as it was in the top flight of the County Championship.

The fact that two sessions had been lost to the weather could prove irrelevant in the grand scheme of things after Surrey lost their first three wickets in the space of just 13 balls.

Having wrapped up the Gloucestershire innings in five overs for the addition of just 12 runs, Surrey found themselves struggling in the face of some hostile and accurate bowling from Jon Lewis and New Zealand left arm paceman James Franklin. Perhaps the speed at which they had despatched the visitors' last two wickets, should have served as a warning as to how difficult conditions were becoming.

Umpires Neil Mallender and Steve Garrett had just held their first consultation about the light moments before Gloucestershire picked up their first wicket, Surrey opener Laurie Evans losing his middle stump to a ball of yorker length from Franklin.

The gloom deepened, prompting a further chat by the officials an over later. Surrey gratefully accepted the offer of bad light but that relief was short-lived. Just 13 minutes later the torment resumed

The first ball, again bowled by Franklin, hit acting Surrey captain Michael Brown's off-stump. It was harsh on Brown, who had become the first Surrey debutant since Nigel Bennett in 1946 to captain the team.

Half a dozen balls later the home side's plight went from bad to dire after Matthew Spriegel fell lbw to Lewis and Surrey were flopping around like stranded fish at 11 for three.

It wiped out all the joy of polishing off the Gloucestershire tail, thanks to André Nel, who finished with 4-52 and Jade Dernbach (4-79). When they went off for bad light for a second and final time, Surrey were still a distant 315 runs adrift.