Lancashire left in tatters by Tudor's career-best burst

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The Independent Online

THe Balanced nature of the Surrey attack was further in evidence here yesterday when Alex Tudor tore through the Lancashire batting to record a career-best return and help consolidate the Championship leaders' position at the top of the First Division table.

THe Balanced nature of the Surrey attack was further in evidence here yesterday when Alex Tudor tore through the Lancashire batting to record a career-best return and help consolidate the Championship leaders' position at the top of the First Division table.

There was little sign that Lancashire were a mere four points behind their opponents at the start of this match as the batsmen filed in and trudged off with disheartening regularity. Tudor's figures of 7 for 48 in 15 overs helped to establish an imposing 190-run first innings lead for Surrey.

There were raised eyebrows and frowns when the whole Lancashire team emerged from the dressing-room 10 minutes later, when only the opening batsmen had been expected, but Adam Hollioake's decision not to enforce the follow-on looked good after Mark Butcher and Ian Ward hit an effortless half-century partnership at four an over.

Hollioake had adopted the same approach against Yorkshire, setting a total that was out of reach and thus requiring them to bat out the day and force a draw. The scene is set for a repetition today when Saqlain Mushtaq can be relied upon to mesmerise and bamboozle any batsman who remains after Martin Bicknell and Tudor have weighed in.

Saqlain picked up two wickets yesterday. Andrew Flintoff, who had created mayhem on the same ground last week, was gathering like a black cloud on the sunny Surrey horizon after Lancashire had been reduced first to 7 for 3 and then 33 for 4.

After a subdued start, Flintoff had taken two fours and a monster six off the Pakistani Test off-spinner, when he pushed forward to one that popped up and presented Nadeem Shahid with a simple catch. After lunch came the second vital wicket, Joe Scuderi attempting to cut and edging to wicketkeeper Jon Batty.

But Lancashire, whose experiment to open with Glen Chapple had failed when he became the first of Tudor's seven, were well and truly out of it long before then. After Chapple had gone, they lost captain John Crawley and a ball later the Indian Test batsman Sourav Ganguly to a bizarre dismissal.

Ganguly had turned Tudor neatly off his legs, but in setting off for a run he stepped back on to his middle stump. Neil Fairbrother and Graham Lloyd both departed in Tudor's eighth over to give him a spell of 4 for 20 in 20 balls.

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