Surrey 280-7 Somerset: Ramprakash foiled again in centurion bid

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The Independent Online

The greater the longing, the longer the waiting. Mark Ramprakash's one hundredth first class hundred continues to elude him.

He had arrived in Croydon at this perfect setting for such a great landmark in the game, with the weight of expectation on his back and four failed attempts at getting to the mark.

A tidy crowd rimmed the boundary expectant and eager. The man's record here adding to their conviction that his chances of scoring that century of centuries were high.

In the five previous matches on this ground Ramprakash has averaged 96 and has hit three hundreds, but when Somerset won the toss and opted to field the portents were not great for Ramprakash.

As per his previous attempts, Ramprakash was needed far earlier than was helpful to his cause, following the early departure of a Surrey opener, in this case Championship debutant and Whitgift old boy Matthew Spriegel, whose cameo revealed oodles of class.

There were shouts and sighs early on as Ramprakash played and missed, or was rapped on the pads, but eventually, having barely got into double figures after more than an hour, he was eventually out to a beauty from Charl Willoughby, which the left arm paceman slanted across the batsman to have him caught behind.

Thankfully Surrey are not a one-man-team, opener Scott Newman coming up to the mark with only his second fifty of the season.

When he departed lbw to Alfonso Thomas, Newman had variously driven, pulled and cut a remarkable 16 boundaries in his three hour innings and was close to a century himself.

If Somerset thought that was it, they were rudely disabused of the notion by the incoming James Benning. He is 25, but remains unfulfilled, with no weight of runs behind him, and just four first class hundreds, but there is no doubting his ability.

He injected real pace into the Surrey innings, which had been threatening to wallow in its own slough of despond, and cracked a 38-ball fifty, an innings that contained ten fours and a huge threat to Somerset's peace of mind.

Fortunately for the visitors Benning then became bogged down and never got back into attacking mode. Having steered Surrey well on the way to a second batting point Benning perished, stumped trying to heave Ian Blackwell over mid-wicket.

He left behind (as had Newman) Surrey's own "Old Reliable" Jon Batty who had anchored their sixth wicket partnership of 93 off 29 overs. Batty was still there when bad light drove them off with six overs remaining.

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