Tea Report: Surrey 278 & 127-7; Hampshire 227-9 (inns closed)

Tea on the third day of four (Surrey won toss)
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Hampshire’s dismay at the loss of England fast bowler Chris Tremlett from their attack was rapidly transformed to joy as the remaining bowlers came up with the ideal response.

Tremlett was unable to bat because of a back spasm, so the Hampshire innings closed prematurely, nine wickets down and 51 runs behind the Surrey first innings.

But, as had happened in the first innings, Surrey lost a wicket in the first over of their second bout of batting, when Scott Newman edged a ball from James Tomlinson to third slip.

Once again it brought Mark Ramprakash to the wicket in the first over in search of his hundredth first class hundred, and once again he failed.

Dimitri Mascarenhas, the Hampshire captain, who had shared the new ball with Tomlinson in the absence of Tremlett did not let the side down, first claiming the wicket of the other Surrey opener Jon Batty, before lunch, then accounting for the dangerous Ramprakash in the same way, leg before wicket, after the interval.

Mascarenhas, then made what turned out to be an inspired bowling change, bringing on Sean Ervine from the West End end, while he continued from the Hedge End end.

Once Ervine, the former Zimbabwe test player, had settled into his rhythm he produced a devastating spell of three for three in 15 balls which ripped the heart out of the Surrey second innings.

Surrey captain Mark Butcher was lbw, the big-hitting Alistair Brown was caught behind for a duck, and wicketkeeper Tom Burrows claimed his second victim of the innings and fourth of the match when he dived to his left to take a superb one-handed catch to dismiss Usman Afzaal.

Tomlinson then replaced Mascarenhas from the North or Hedge End end and had Chris Jordan taken at third slip by Chris Benham.

Only some watchful batting by Jimmy Ormond and Matt Nicholson arrested the Hampshire progress, the eighth wicket pair adding 52 runs to the overall Surrey lead, which by tea had reached 178.

Earlier the Hampshire first innings was wrapped up in 45 minutes with Jordan and Pedro Collins dismissing Greg Lamb and Tomlinson.