Ormond on the Waugh path

Surrey 376 and 381-7 dec Essex 252 and 247 Surrey win by 258 runs
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The Independent Online

There is something of the Steve Waugh in the way Surrey play cricket, in that they are consistently aggressive, disciplined and very committed.

That much is obvious from the quality of their bowling, exemplified yesterday by James Ormond, although more usually by Martin Bicknell, the depth in their batting that forced them to choose between two Test players, Graham Thorpe and Mark Butcher, earlier in the season and from the manner in which they compete, whatever the match situation. Witness the lower-order recovery on the first day here, taking them from 51 for 5 to 376 all out.

Every ball is contested as they challenge the opposition to measure up, and their body language fairly bristles with intent. It is the basis of Waugh's game and Surrey should be applauded for adopting it. It was certainly too much for Essex yesterday as Ormond, all fire and brimstone and with plenty of skill, dismissed five of the top order, took his season's tally to 19 and ensured Surrey's second Championship win.

Accused after his only England tour two winters ago of being unfit, he has been a forgotten man since and his initial overs in the morning looked a little laboured. But Will Jefferson was only half-forward and Paul Grayson caught athletically down the leg-side by the impressive Jon Batty. Encouraged, Ormond cranked up the pace, unsettled all with well directed bouncers and generally looked the part as a "nasty fastie".

He was a little fortunate to win an lbw decision against Darren Robinson, the batsman hit high on the pad as he shaped to work the ball leg-side, but he was robbed next ball as James Foster padded up to a straight one.

Foster, as is his way, seemed unperturbed by the good fortune and calmly stroked the ball into the many available gaps in front of the wicket, suggesting that his technique is starting to catch up with his temperament.

Alongside Aftab Habib he gave Essex some cheer with a 100 partnership in 23 overs, but Ormond switched to the Hayes Close end and did for both of them, Foster lbw, back to a good length ball, and Habib to an absolute snorter that brushed his glove.

The victory came at a price though, as Bicknell, a genuine all-rounder and match-winner, damaged his finger dropping a sharp slip catch and left the field in some pain.

His fitness is vital, because Alex Tudor is already sidelined for a few weeks after undergoing a knee operation. If he does not recover Rikki Clarke could be recalled and Ormond and Mahmood forced to shoulder more responsibility - a task both are very capable of, as they proved in this victory.