Taylor leads Gloucestershire recovery

Gloucestershire 368 Surrey 2-1
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The Independent Online

There were moments during a long hard day when the Surrey captain Jon Batty's decision to put Gloucestershire in on what appeared to be a typical Oval wicket looked justified. However, these were all too fleeting, and for the most part the Surrey attack, which was shorn of the services of its best bowler Jimmy Ormond midway through the afternoon, was made to toil for little return until late in the day.

There were moments during a long hard day when the Surrey captain Jon Batty's decision to put Gloucestershire in on what appeared to be a typical Oval wicket looked justified. However, these were all too fleeting, and for the most part the Surrey attack, which was shorn of the services of its best bowler Jimmy Ormond midway through the afternoon, was made to toil for little return until late in the day.

The Gloucestershire captain, Chris Taylor, was instrumental in pulling them his side of a couple of crises along the way. They trembled at 55 for 3, looked rattled at 191 for 5 and appeared ready to roll over on 247 for 7.

However, Taylor is a grimly determined batsman who has no trouble in focusing on the task in hand, a quality which explains how he came to score a century on his Championship debut at Lord's four years ago, and yesterday's hundred - his second in successive innings.

Taylor managed to shepherd his quivering flock from the abysmal to the more than respectable. He shared in two century stands: the first, and more important, for the fourth wicket with the very promising Alex Gidman; the second, which helped the visitors garner valuable batting points with a more unlikely partner, James Averis, for the eighth wicket.

Yet Surrey had looked to be unstoppable early on when the ball swung and there was help off the surface. Ormond in particular was unplayable at times as Craig Spearman, a triple centurion in his previous Championship match, found out in the third over of the day, lbw to a ball that straightened.

Ormond's next over did for Matt Windows, again leg before, and when Martin Bicknell had Philip Weston brilliantly caught by an airborne Ormond at mid-off a few overs later, it looked terminal for Gloucestershire. However, Gidman and Taylor, helped by a Surrey attack that lost its way, pulled things around and by the time the home side sorted themselves out, a lot of damage had been done.

Ormond went off with a slight injury to his right knee but at least had the consolation of claiming his 300th first-class wicket. In his absence, Taylor and Averis were able to plunder 121 runs off the weakened attack - a Gloucestershire record for the eighth wicket against Surrey.

It needed something dramatic from Surrey and Tim Murtagh provided it with three wickets in five balls to wrap the innings up up and leave Averis stranded two runs away from his maiden half-century.

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