Round-Up: Thorpe stands alone to keep Surrey above water

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The Independent Online

Surrey might have hoped the rain would save them yesterday as they sought to stave off defeat against Worcestershire at New Road.

But while most of the rest of the country succumbed to the weather, the pitch which so often provides dramatic images of several feet of flood water spilling over from the River Severn dried up in time for a short session at the end of the day.

Surrey are intent on wresting back the Championship pennant from Sussex after what they see as an aberration following their three triumphs between 1999 and 2002. But this year they have only managed to win one match and, of greater concern, they have lost three.

They resumed unwillingly on 167 for 6, still 78 runs behind their hosts and hoping to avoid another defeat. They soon lost Martin Bicknell, caught behind off the Australian Matt Mason, and Ian Salisbury was castled by England's Kabir Ali.

The pace pairing resumed where they had left off in the first-innings rout, in which they took 4 for 46 and 5 for 60 respectively. That left the redoubtable Graham Thorpe hanging on with the tailenders, but he managed to remain unbeaten with 22 to his name.

Kumar Sangakkara completed a double century to put the Sri Lankans in a strong position against the Northern Territory Chief Minister's XI at the Marrarra ground in Darwin, the only warm-up match prior to the two-Test series.

The wicketkeeper-batsman remained unbeaten on 203 off 306 balls with 21 fours and a six as the tourists declared on 378 for 7 in reply to the home side's first innings of 419.

Glenn McGrath, the veteran Australia fast bowler who was called up for the game because of concerns about his lack of practice, managed only one wicket in 24 overs.

The 34-year-old has not played Test cricket for almost a year because of injuries, and had a disappointing one-day series against a second-string Zimbabwe side in May, taking one wicket in three matches.

The First Test starts in Darwin next Thursday, with the second at Cairns on 9 July.

The NTCM XI were then restricted to 145 before Justin Langer bizarrely called a halt with nine wickets down, leaving Sri Lanka with a target of 187 on the last day. By the close they had reached 6 for 1.

The left-arm spin of Rangana Herath returned 4 for 45 second time around, bowling Langer first ball. The Test opener had scored 151 in the first innings despite injuring his foot in the nets.