The strike by American scriptwriters spread from Hollywood to Hampshire yesterday – that seemed to be the only logical reason for the failure of Mark Ramprakash to score his hundredth hundred.
His demise appeared to set a trend which the remainder of the Surrey batsmen followed slavishly – with an innings landmark (in these cases reaching fifty) in sight, a clutch of them lost their wicket.
It all helped the home cause with Surrey denied a third batting bonus point, although if it sounded as if it had been Hampshire's day it was not wholly so. At a conservative count, at least half-a-dozen catches went begging and right at the end Jimmy Ormond had Hampshire opener Michael Carberry caught behind.
The Surrey captain Mark Butcher had got to 49 when his clip over mid-wicket was brilliantly intercepted by the leaping Sean Ervine.
Earlier Scott Newman had moved to 42 before he tried to leave a shortish ball from Chris Tremlett, but only succeeded in deflecting the ball on to his stumps.
Then Usman Afzaal jumped on the bandwagon falling lbw to Tremlett when he had just got into the faltering forties. Thankfully other members of the Surrey line-up, namely Alistair Brown (33), teenager Chris Jordan (24) and latterly Matt Nicholson – 40 not out – ensured there would be a couple of batting points. Tremlett was the chief troublemaker with 5 for 67, the seventh five-wicket haul of his career.
Ramprakash had come out to bat unexpectedly early after Jon Batty was taken in the slips off the fourth ball of the innings, the first of Tremlett's quintet. For a man who had already scored two hundreds in his opening four innings of the season there was a rather tentative look to Ramprakash. He took 18 balls to get off the mark, and when he did so it was with an airy square drive.
And 27 balls later, after 52 minutes of scratching around, Ramprakash pushed forward defensively at James Tomlinson and was caught behind by rookie wicketkeeper Tom Burrows.Reuse content