Ramprakash and Batty lead revival

Surrey 306-3 v Kent
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The Independent Online

They have been bad. They have been horrid. But when Surrey are good they can be very good. And Mark Ramprakash is even better.

They have been bad. They have been horrid. But when Surrey are good they can be very good. And Mark Ramprakash is even better.

There was no panic when he emerged with the first wicket down and just one run on the board, Nadeem Shahid having just been taken by the second of two gully fielders. Scott Newman's departure next over, for that same solitary Shahid single, did not cause so much as a frisson on the impassive face of one of English cricket's finest accumulators and innings builders.

Patiently Ramprakash pieced together the tattered remnants, neatly tucking, cutting and clipping as he reshaped things into a more acceptable tapestry of Surrey action.

Initially he was helped by Rikki Clarke, who lent support during a tricky opening three-quarters of an hour which saw Mohammad Sami's out-and-out pace make life awkward, if not downright dangerous at times. He beat the bat too often for comfort, while Martin Saggers bent the ball better than Beckham in the heavy atmosphere.

And shortly before lunch, Saggers returned and found the edge of Clarke's bat to have him snapped up at second slip by Matthew Walker. So Ramprakash was joined by the man who is being described as Surrey's "beleaguered" captain, Jon Batty.

If anyone had any doubts about Batty's ability to cope with the pressure of leadership in adversity then they had those misgivings severely jolted throughout absorbing afternoon and evening sessions.

By the time bad light drove them off with 19 overs left, the pair had not just hauled Surrey out of trouble, they had dragged them into a commanding position and were within sight of a fourth-wicket record for the county against Kent, having compiled an unbroken 214-run partnership.

Ramprakash's 68th hundred of his first-class career was flawless. The same could not be said of Batty's seventh, but he was unafraid to chance his arm and thus far his gambling has paid off.

The worst moment for Batty but ultimately for Kent, came when he was on 87. He executed an upper cut off Sami and Michael Carberry, a Surrey staffer until a couple of seasons ago, placed himself perfectly under it but failed to hang on.

Ramprakash was an immovable object. His driving off front and back foot was immaculate, and a straight six off the slow left-armer Rob Ferley was almost contemptuous. His occupation of the crease is masterful and more is promised today.

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