Saqlain seven sendsDerbyshire spinning

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The Independent Online

Derbyshire 118 and 97 Surrey 260 Surrey win by an inningsand 45 runs

Derbyshire 118 and 97 Surrey 260 Surrey win by an inningsand 45 runs

IT WAS cricket at its craziest; one hour eight minutes of madness which saw all 10 Derbyshire second-innings wickets falling as limply as a white flag on an airless day. There is little doubt they will go down as the 68 minutes when Surrey retained their county crown. And it was brought about by a classic combination - brilliant bowling and abysmal batting.

The brilliance emanated from Surrey's latter-day spin twins Ian Salisbury and Saqlain Mushtaq. The leg-spinner Salisbury was the one who put the skids under Derbyshire with a bat-pad double in consecutive balls to dismiss Stephen Stubbings and Michael di Venuto, just when everyone was settling back in their seats and contemplating a serious fightback.

Derbyshire had already made their contribution to the bizarre happenings in this match by knocking off the remaining eight wickets before lunch while Surrey were adding what was seen at the time as a disappointing 99 runs to their overnight total.

It meant Surrey missed out on three batting points, although a couple of unexpected days off were probably as welcome and this performance will certainly send tremors through the First Division leaders' title rivals.

There was little premonition of the débâcle that lay ahead of them while the Derbyshire openers Stubbings and Luke Sutton had chugged along comfortably for a shade over an hour and 20 minutes, reducing Surrey's first-innings advantage of 142 runs by 68.

Then Salisbury struck, Nadeem Shahid snapping up the offerings like a hungry pike. That heralded a master class in off-spin bowling by Saqlain. In a devastating spell of 34 balls Saqlain took all seven of his wickets - his best return and sixth five wicket haul of the season - for five runs, having conceded just half a dozen in his opening three overs.

Derbyshire should be used to the Pakistani Test bowler by now - he took his career-best 8 for 65 against the same opponents two years ago. The 97 they scored yesterday was their lowest score of the season.

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