Swann's bad call dents title hopes - Cricket - Sport - The Independent

Swann's bad call dents title hopes

Surrey 136 & 292-6 dec Notts 226 & 169-8, Match drawn

But calamity struck after reserve wicketkeeper David Alleyne, who had given excellent support to Mark Ealham in a 71-run partnership over 12 overs, dabbed an easy catch to slip, off Nayan Doshi. Graeme Swann's ill-judged call for a single ended with Ealham run out by Ally Brown's throw off the next ball and when Swann was bowled by Azhar Mahmood in the next over, without adding to the score, Nottinghamshire could only hang on for a draw.

Nottinghamshire had been helped towards a winning position by two loose overs from Rikki Clarke as the England all-rounder tested his fitness on the eve of today's Twenty20 finals.

Clarke's concession of 22 runs in two overs threatened to take the gloss off his batting. Taking advantage of better conditions as the swing factor, so dominant on the opening day, seemed to disappear, Clarke's unbeaten 127, including 19 fours, put Surrey in a position to offer a target.

Martin Bicknell's unbeaten 37 further bolstered the total before Mark Ramprakash's surprise declaration. Bicknell's removal of Jason Gallian gave Surrey a quick fillip, followed by a double strike for Azhar Mahmood, inducing Darren Bicknell to give a catch to his brother at backward point before Younis Khan completed an undistinguished Nottinghamshire debut by repeating his dismissal of the first innings, a loose swipe at a lifting ball giving Clarke an easy catch.

The loss of Martin Bicknell with a strained Achilles appeared to hand the initiative back, when Ealham and Alleyne maderapid progress. But 161 for 5 became 161 for 8, leaving Ryan Sidebottom and Greg Smith to hold out for six overs.

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