Ramprakash stops slide

Surrey 248 v Lancashire
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The Independent Online

Mark Ramprakash held the champions, Surrey, together with a fine half-century against second-placed Lancashire in the CricInfo County Championship contest here.

Ramprakash, in contention for his 43rd cap of a stop-start Test career against Australia at Edgbaston next week, prevented the hosts, currently fifth in the First Division, suffering utter capitulation.

The 31-year-old was in authoritative mood, sweeping Muttiah Muralitharan for six and hitting seven fours in his, 104-ball innings before Peter Martin produced a pearler to beat his careful defensive prod.

Lancashire took the initiative to reduce the home side to 44 for 3 in muggy conditions after Adam Hollioake won the toss.

Mark Butcher was deceived by a Martin delivery that climbed sharply for Graham Lloyd to take the catch at first slip. Ian Ward, also in contention for a Test place, was undone by Chapple, who turned Ward around with movement through the air and Andrew Flintoff held on to the slip catch.

Drizzly rain forced an early lunch with the home side 88 for three but Muralitharan claimed his first victim in the third over of the second session when Alistair Brown skipped down the track and missed with a wild shot to be bowled.