Worcestershire 304 Surrey 496-4: Ramprakash's milestone inspires Surrey's march

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The Independent Online

At 5.39pm yesterday Mark Ramprakash, the best English batsman not playing Test cricket for his country, nailed another statistic to the New Road boundary boards. He became the first English batsman, and only the second player after the Australian Mike Hussey, to pass 2,000 runs since the advent of the two-division County Championship.

That shot also took the 36-year-old Ramprakash (he will be 37 next month) past 150 for the fifth successive Championship match - believed to be a world record. Only last week he scored his first triple hundred, and this latest effort was another milestone for this singular, single-minded, master batsman: it was his first Championship hundred at New Road.

How he cannot be considered for further international honours beggars belief. While his overall Test average is a disappointing 27, his record against the Auld Enemy is a far more impressive 42 from 12 Tests.

Surrey have been glad of him this summer, though. On the way to this his 87th hundred he passed 8,000 runs for the county in the Championship - having joined them in 2001 after 14 seasons with Middlesex, for whom he amassed 14,400 Championship runs.

For more than five hours he gave not a scintilla of a chance to Worcestershire. By the time he fell, tamely top-edging an attempted sweep in the last over of the day when four short of a double hundred, he had helped Surrey to build up a first-innings lead of 192.

* The Surrey all-rounder Martin Bicknell has retired from first-class cricket with immediate effect. The 37-year-old had planned to retire at the end of the season but persistent injuries have forced him his departure earlier than expected.