Donald sticks to game plan

Warwickshire 470 and 210-4 Surrey 288 and 7-1
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The Independent Online
ALLAN DONALD for Brian Lara - Bloemfontein for Trinidad - isn't at all a bad swap. Having won one Championship inspired by quantities of quick runs by Lara, Warwickshire look like mounting a credible attempt at an encore on the basis of Donald's relentlessly hostile fast bowling.

Donald led the players off the field after taking six for 64 in Surrey's first innings of 288. Donald deserved a rest, and, since the wicket was still not taking as much spin as he required, Dermot Reeve, the Warwickshire captain, did not impose the follow on. After clipping a fairly swift 210- 4, leaving Surrey 393 to win, a refreshed Donald had another go at Surrey's openers and the crowd did not have long to wait; Darren Bicknell was lbw first ball. The most dramatic incident in Donald's second over, however, was his limping off the field with a bruised foot, but he will bowl on Monday.

At the close Surrey were seven for one, and looking like losers. Last week Surrey bounded free from a similarly treacherous position against Gloucestershire, but then they batted third not last. To repeat the achievement would be astonishing.

So it looks as though Warwickshire will have won two Championship games in a row, despite the absence in this game through injury of three outstanding players, Nick Knight, Keith Piper and Tim Munton.

At the beginning of the season Warwickshire decided on a game plan to accommodate Donald and they have followed it to the letter against Surrey. The idea is that their batsmen should score enough runs (they got 470) to enable Reeve to bowl Donald in a number of short spells. He had three yesterday. Donald failed to make a breakthrough in the first (five overs cost only eight runs, however), but in the second before and after lunch, Surrey's last three batsmen went for less than 10 runs. For his final appearance Donald bowled flat out, and had Michael Burns leaping and diving like a goalkeeper.

The other piece of good news for Warwickshire is the fitness and enthusiasm of Reeve. Having scored 53 and 20 not out he took two vital wickets, notably ending Adam Hollioake's bold 53 which threatened Warwickshire's control of the game yesterday morning. Phil Neale, the new coach, emphasises "control", which means conceding no more than two runs an over when Donald is resting. It is not an easy trick to pull off but Warwickshire have done it for most of this game.