Hollioake delays Surrey's visit to guillotine

Leics 165 and 472-8 dec Surrey 102 and 281-6
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The Independent Online

Rediscovering some backbone a day too late, Surrey's batsmen hung around long enough to extend this match into a fourth day. With the forecast questionable the champions may yet avoid their first County Championship defeat for over a year, but it would be an undeserved reprieve.

An obdurate innings by captain Adam Hollioake and the loss of 27 overs to bad light and rain conspired to prevent Leicestershire bringing down the guillotine, though unimaginative and in the circumstances unnecessarily defensive leadership by Vince Wells did not help the home team.

Prevented by poor light from throwing the ball to the first-innings destroyer Devon Malcolm, Wells was forced to start with the gentler offerings of Phil DeFreitas. The veteran seamer broke through in the sixth over of the day, Michael Carberry edging a ball which moved fractionally away.

Daniel Marsh won a questionable lbw decision against nightwatchman Saqlain Mushtaq, sweeping at a ball which might have pitched outside leg stump but with the light worsening, Adam and Ben Hollioake put together Surrey's first respectable stand of the game.

Both reached 50, Adam playing solidly, Ben flakily, as is his wont. The younger man might have been out several times, edging DeFreitas twice over the slips, before he reached his first half-century of the season and then brought up the 100 partnership with another edge through a vacant third slip.

Given Surrey were on 153 chasing 536 to win, it was hard to understand why he was not under more pressure, not least since Wells was bowling at the time. The captain must have been a relieved man when Hollioake Jnr's luck finally ran out five runs later, the victim of James Ormond.

Shortly after tea Adam Hollioake chopped a wide one from Wells onto his stumps, and when Ally Brown's flat-footed prod at Ormond resulted in a catch behind the wicket it looked all over. Instead Alex Tudor and Gary Butcher played with some thought until the close.