Hollioake's chill warning

Surrey 355 and 450-5 dec Warwickshire 245 and 425 Surrey win by 135 runs
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The Independent Online

What was unnerving about this result was not the gulf between the sides, though it was obvious, nor how easily Surrey swatted last season's runners-up, but the message afterwards from Surrey's captain, Adam Hollioake. Fresh from a victory song in the visitors' dressing room, he emerged to say: "I know we can get better."

They certainly made mistakes. Martin Bicknell and Jimmy Ormond have bowled better this season and uncharacteristic fielding lapses were made, but Surrey still dominated from the start.

They needed seven balls after lunch to polish things off, Saqlain Mushtaq inducing a bat-pad catch to dismiss the stubborn Dougie Brown and in the process earn himself his third five-wicket haul of the summer.

It left Warwickshire with even more time to contemplate where they are going wrong. The most obvious area is in attack. They don't have the penetration needed to nail down sides as full of batting as Surrey. According to those in the know, while plenty of young batting talent is coming through, few - if any - eye-catching youngsters are filling gaps in the bowling front.

Their surprise overseas signing, the Kenyan Collins Obuya, has to be regarded as questionable. In the two innings in which he has been allowed to turn his arm, the leg-spinner has gone for five an over and 60 per wicket. He won't win them matches in the way Saqlain does for Surrey.

To underline further their shortcomings in attack, it is worth noting the boundaries that Warwickshire have conceded in this season's Championship. No fewer than 637 fours and 43 sixes have been made - representing 57 per cent of the 4,864 runs scored against them. The figures tell their own tale. On the other hand, they have managed to bowl out a side in both innings on just one occasion to record their solitary victory.

It is all in marked contrast to Surrey, who look more invincible as the season goes on. Throughout this match the way they have batted and bowled has displayed a certain implacability. Their strength in depth is jaw-dropping. If one fails, rather like the Hydra, then two more spring up to continue the job.

"We have not been fired up yet this season," said Hollioake, "but I can feel it building." Indeed, the feeling yesterday was that the spin duo of Saqlain and Ian Salisbury were toying with the batting of the opposition, like bored cats patting around a mouse and delaying their delicious coup de grâce for as long as possible.

It did give Brown the chance to score his second half-century of the game, but neither will mean anything to the all-rounder since they were made in a lost cause. A feeling of desperation hung over the team as they drifted out of the pavilion trailing their gear behind them. On being asked how he felt, one dejected player replied: "Fine. Or I will be once we start winning." That had better be soon, or last year's runners-up may find themselves struggling to avoid relegation.

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