Surrey caught ball-tampering

Surrey 217 v Nottinghamshire 580-4

Surrey were publicly humiliated yesterday after being caught twice tampering with the ball. They then proceeded to compound their profound embarrassment by bowling like drains for most of the day as Nottinghamshire, led by Stephen Fleming with a glorious double century, piled up a first innings lead of 363.

Surrey were publicly humiliated yesterday after being caught twice tampering with the ball. They then proceeded to compound their profound embarrassment by bowling like drains for most of the day as Nottinghamshire, led by Stephen Fleming with a glorious double century, piled up a first innings lead of 363.

The seam-lifting transgression was the most extreme detected since the revised regulation was introduced five years ago and the damage to the county's reputation was greater than the five runs they were penalised. Since Nottinghamshire scored another 575 besides, their highest total against Surrey, the additional quintet was a mere bagatelle, and there was an obvious element of sweet justice in their dominance.

Fleming, captain of New Zealand, has joined Nottinghamshire as captain this summer but they may enjoy his runs as much as his leadership. He was scintillating in scoring 223 not out at exactly a run a ball with 27 fours and five sixes. He put on 206 from 266 balls with Jason Gallian and 175 in 154 with David Hussey, who was plain destructive. The shape of the ball had been altered by then, all right.

The felony of changing the condition of the ball - to try to achieve an unfair advantage, make no mistake - was the greater because it was repeated in such a short space of time. Both the breaches of Law 42.3, involving lifting the quarter-seam, took place within 17 overs on Friday evening with the visitors cruising along.

The umpires, Merv Kitchen and Nigel Llong, could not identify a culprit or culprits and Surrey issued a mealy-mouthed statement. Their coach Alan Butcher said: "Further to the umpires' ruling on the altering of the condition of the ball we will co-operate with any inquiry by the ECB. We are conscious of the need to uphold both the spirit as well as the letter of the laws of cricket."

Mark Ramprakash, Surrey's captain in the game, was not exactly full of contrition. "I spoke with the umpires at the close of play yesterday and they informed me of the penalty this morning. We look forward to playing the rest of the game." Maybe there was not a lot more Ramprakash could say without blowing his top, but it is to be hoped a full-scale search for the guilty finger nail(s) was under way last night.

The umpires struggled to contain their bemusement. Kitchen, the senior of the two, who has been standing for 23 years, said: "You don't get angry about it, but you feel you have been a bit let down."

There had been only one previous uncovered example of ball tampering, when Mohammad Akram was handed three penalty points for Sussex against Warwickshire last year. He is playing for Surrey in this match.

It was first noticed that the ball was not what it should be after around 35 overs of Nottinghamshire's innings. The umpires informed Ramprakash that the quarter seam had been lifted. This is done to form a type of miniature wing, create air resistance and promote reverse swing.

Kitchen and Llong decided against changing the ball because Nottinghamshire were sailing along merrily at 170 for 0 and they did not want to risk a replacement swinging (legally) round corners so that the visitors found themselves all out for, say, 270.

They repaired the ball using a bail and when Llong checked it again some 12 overs later, with five left, it was intact. By that time, Nottinghamshire had also lost their first two wickets, though nobody is putting them down to a dodgy ball. At the close it was discovered that the seam had again been lifted. There was no choice but to impose the penalty and allow the batsmen to choose a replacement ball from one of six offered.

They selected wisely. Fleming, especially, was brilliant. Three times he drove Nayan Doshi into the pavilion for six but he was also brutally elegant cover driving and off his hips. Gallian, who had shared an opening stand of 178 with Darren Bicknell, hit his second century of the season in his 100th match for the county.

At lunch it rained hard and 38 overs were lost, with 31 remaining when play resumed. Gallian went to the first ball back, but Fleming, with support from Hussey, continued on his way. Surrey took a new ball and 53 runs, virtually all in front of the wicket, came from its first six overs. Forty fours and seven sixes came during the day. It was enough to make anybody want to interfere with the ball.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering