Glamorgan victory charge defied by Thorpe

Surrey 204 and 324-6 Glamorgan 438
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The Independent Online
With a whole day of late summer sunshine to bask in, Surrey suddenly awoke to the fact that this is an important game of cricket and they played accordingly. That said, it is probably far too late for any table-turning heroics and, but for a marvellous century from Graham Thorpe, Glamorgan would probably now be sailing back down the M4, 24 crucial points to the better.

As it is, they must wait until today to know their fate. With the weather set fair, their main priority is to take the four remaining Surrey wickets as quickly as possible, before the target, currently at 90, takes on awkward proportions upon this dusting pitch.

The visitors began the morning's play by vigorously adding 75 to their overnight score, mainly through the long handle of Darren Thomas, who finished unbeaten on 75. Although Thomas, who is 22, also bowls swiftly but erratically, he is probably worth a place on this winter's A tour to Kenya and Sri Lanka. Certainly his is spirited cricket, and he later bowled Ben Hollioake with a beauty that cut back sharply off the pitch.

With the prompt removal of Surrey's top three, Glamorgan's first-innings lead of 234 looked more than enough to wrap up victory by an innings. The prognosis did not improve when Alistair Brown was run out by Dean Cosker, as the left-arm spinner diverted Thorpe's straight drive on to the stumps.

It was an unlucky end to what was a wonderfully hard-hit cameo by Brown, which included a mighty six as well as three fours in consecutive balls off Croft.

At that point Surrey decided to counter-attack further, with Thorpe and the Hollioakes providing by far the best strokeplay of the match. Adding 120 with Adam, until he became a victim of Waqar's infamous inswinging yorker, and a quickfire 49 with Ben, Surrey overhauled the deficit in the 59th over.

Thorpe, batting with both application and panache, could not be tethered by Glamorgan's bowlers and he duly notched up his second Championship century of the season, an underachievement made all the more glaring by it being his second in successive matches.

It has been a strange season for Thorpe. On the slow, green pitches that have dictated terms for most of this summer, he has struggled more than most. It was only during the fifth Test at Trent Bridge, on the truest pitch of the series, that we saw the fluent Thorpe of old.

With his confidence clearly restored, he scored the only half-century here during the last Test, a gritty, cussed innings more than matched against Glamorgan's useful attack. His only mistake, an edged drive off Croft, was not capitalised upon by Tony Cottey at slip and he remained unbeaten on 140 at the close - a thorny reminder to Glamorgan that chasing Championships is never easy for those of an impatient disposition.

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