Thorpe flop symptom of Surrey's malfunction

Surrey 217 Nottinghamshire 204-2

Not a lot appeared to be functioning for Surrey, from the scoreboard ­ for much of the morning session there was only a miniature and very basic manual one in use because the sole electronic one had packed up ­ to their playing staff with bat or ball.

Graham Thorpe, in particular, looked disturbingly out of touch. The classy left-hander, who is fast approaching a century of Test appearances, needs runs in order to dispel mutterings of his England place being under threat.

Surrey need his runs as well. They did not get many yesterday though. He lasted for 24 balls. The boundaries that were credited to him were both edgy, and the shot to which he was out looked like pre-match slip-catching practice.

This was his third single-figure innings which heightened the tension vis-à-vis his potential selection for the Bangladesh series and the Ashes which follows.

At least Surrey scrambled a batting point, no thanks to their established stars. It was odd considering that later on the Nottinghamshire openers Darren Bicknell and Jason Gallian, compiled a record stand for this fixture against Surrey.

Earlier Mark Ramprakash had made a duck, Alistair Brown failed to get into double figures, while Jon Batty (who opened with Scott Newman) and Rikki Clarke did not last much longer. Newman scored a punchy 44 that contained nine fours then James Benning, in his ninth first-class appearance smacked an attractive maiden half century.

Surrey also had a helping hand from the Nottinghamshire seamer Paul Franks, who did pick up a couple of wickets, but also sent down half a dozen wides as well as six runs worth of no balls.

Nottinghamshire wasted little time in pressing their advantage with Bicknell and Gallian laying into Surrey's threadbare attack. The former even helping himself to a couple of boundaries off his younger brother Martin.

Bicknell and Jimmy Ormond needed some penetrative support, and were not helped by the fact that Surrey were without three key bowlers ­ Azhar Mahmood, Tim Murtagh and Ian Salisbury.

One name not on Surrey's injury list is that of the Indian Test off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. He is, however, still in India. Harbhajan's arrival cannot come quickly enough. Nor, indeed, can a big innings from Thorpe.

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