Surrey 59-2 Nottinghamshire: Ramprakash's quest faces Pattinson test

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The Independent Online

The big issue here – aside from whether Nottinghamshire will or will not have a chance to play in this summer's Twenty20 Cup final and whether their view will influence the shape of any future English Premier League – is whether Mark Ramprakash will honour this ground by scoring his 100th first-class century.

The quest has become a bit of a saga for the old fellow. On 97 hundreds at the start of the season, he added two in his first three matches but his form since has been as unspectacular as that of his county, who are the only side in the First Division without a win. In his last eight Championship innings, Ramprakash's best has been the 48 he managed in the first innings against Kent last week, which he followed with a golden duck in the second, his first for almost four years.

The chase resumed in the second over of the day here yesterday as Surrey lost their first wicket but has not progressed far because of rain. Only 30 overs were possible all day. Ramprakash is not out on 19.

To encourage himself today he may think about his last first-class hundred here, on 3 September, 1991, a couple of days before his 22nd birthday. That was the ninth century of his 99. To get the monkey off his back today he will at least have to answer the questions being asked by Darren Pattinson, who makes the ball swing here as readily as anyone and is finding a testing bounce, too. Both the wickets that fell yesterday were his, Stewart Walters succumbing to a delivery that jumped off a length to be caught at third slip, Scott Newman flashing at a wide one to be caught behind.

Top-of-the-table Nottinghamshire – whose view on any EPL is that it should include all 18 counties, not nine franchises – say they want to be sure of not being relegated before talking about title bids. They sound like a Premier League club already.