Surrey 204 & 264-3 Yorks 414-9 dec (Match drawn): Ramprakash takes place among the great centurions
Surrey batsman completes his 100th century to join pantheon of only 24 others in history of the game
Sunday 03 August 2008
Mark Ramprakash became the first player in a decade to reach 100 first-class hundreds when he hit his third century of the season during Surrey's county championship match against Yorkshire at Leeds yesterday. The 38-year-old is the 25th player to achieve the feat and the first since another former England batsman, Graeme Hick, did so in 1998.
Ramprakash, who finished on 112 not out, and Scott Newman put on a stand of 259 before the match was called off soon after Yorkshire's David Wainwright had bowled Newman for 129. The draw leaves Surrey still propping up Division One of the championship.
The Surrey man started the season with 97 centuries but had been stuck on 99 since 30 April, having begun the campaign with hundreds against Lancashire and Sussex. He also registered the first century of his career at the same Head-ingley ground in July 1989.
He started his playing days with Middlesex in 1987 and is regarded as one of the finest batsmen of his generation. However, he struggled to realise that potential during his 52 Test appearances for England. He averaged 27.32 in an international career spanning 11 years from 1991.
Ramprakash left Middlesex for their London rivals Surrey in 2001 and has scored prolifically in recent seasons, passing the 2,000-run mark in 2006 and 2007.
The only other players in the last 20 years to reach the milestone of 100 first-class hundreds are West Indian great Sir Viv Richards and the former England opener Graham Gooch.
Ramprakash becomes just the 25th man in the history of the game to score 100 first-class hundredsand has now joined an exclusive club which also includes the former Surrey players Sir Jack Hobbs (199 centuries), Andrew Sandham (107), Tom Hayward (104) and John Edrich (103).
Ramprakash said: "When I started I never dreamed about making that many hundreds. I feel honoured to join such a high calibre of names. It's definitely something I'll cherish for the rest of my days. I'd like to dedicate this to my mum, dad, sister, wife and daughters. Without their love and support I could not have achieved this milestone."
The Surrey chief executive, Paul Sheldon, added: "This is one of the most significant achievements in the long and distinguished history of Surrey cricket.
"We salute the greatest batsman of his generation. It is likely that Mark will be the last to reach this remarkable milestone."
In the only championship match that did not finish in a draw yesterday, Worcestershire completed a comfortable victory over Gloucestershire to stay top of Division Two at Cheltenham. Resuming on 128 for 4, Gloucestershire's target of 390 was beyond them as Simon Jones, who finished with 4 for 89, and Kabir Ali – who took eight wickets in the match – continued their fine form with the ball. Ali bowled Marcus North for 78 to start the rot and little resistance followed, with the home side all out for 247.
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