Lewis has perfect riposte

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The Independent Online
Cricket

Warwickshire 195 Surrey 82-0

Hell hath no fury like a cricketer scorned. In this case there were two of them. First there was Chris Lewis, dropped by England from the squad for the one-day series against Pakistan after a tardy arrival during the last Test on his home ground at the weekend; to add insult to humiliation the Test and County Board asked Surrey, who were losing three men to England anyway, to drop the all-rounder for this crucial match against Warwickshire.

Full marks to Surrey. After politely declining an outrageous request, they proceeded to put Lewis in charge in the absence of their captain, Alec Stewart, and his official deputy, Adam Hollioake. The response from Lewis was immediate and ultimately magnificent. He won the toss on a chilly, overcast morning and put in the County champions.

He needed just four balls to cock a snook at the England hierarchy. Opener Wasim Khan nibbled at a wide delivery and was well taken by Alistair Brown at second slip. It got better. After Martin Bicknell accounted for the other opener, Andy Moles, in the next over, Lewis struck twice more in the morning and also took a superb catch at backward point. Finally he helped to dock the tail to finish with a return of 4 for 45 - his second best haul for the county - while Brendon Julian claimed his 50th first- class wicket for Surrey, although he did concede 21 extras (10 no-balls, and a wide), and had it not been for those needless runs he would have had an identical return to Lewis.

Unfortunately on his way to that excellent set of figures Lewis and his band ran up against Scorned of The Oval Mark II. The slow left-arm bowler Ashley Giles, who played club cricket for Guildford, had thought he might have a future with Surrey. He was mistaken, so in 1992 he took himself off to Warwickshire where he has since flourished, establishing himself in the first team and arriving here with 52 first class wickets.

It was with the bat that he exacted his revenge, flaying the Surrey attack for his third half-century of the summer, while his team-mates dropped like flies around him, to restore some dignity to the Warwickshire cause.

He and Keith Piper pulled the innings out of the mire with a seventh- wicket stand of 101. The home side then underlined their superiority when openers Darren Bicknell and Mark Butcher made relatively untroubled progress to the premature close. It was a close-run thing as to what was going to end the day. A slow over-rate had made overtime a certainty and it could well have been nightfall that would drive the players off, had it not been for the timely intervention of bad light.

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