Slipshod Surrey sustain the Red Rose

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The Independent Online
reports from The Oval

Surrey 221; Lancashire 39-0

A damp start, delayed by rain, and a premature finish in early autumn gloom sandwiched an indifferent batting performance by Surrey and a ray of hope for Lancashire. While Mike Watkinson's men are hungrily reaching for the Championship summit, Surrey would be happy just to reach the foothills, but judging by yesterday's performance even that could be beyond them.

Almost the only consistent element about Surrey's unhappy season has been the injury list, which has grown by the day. It was increased still further when Lancashire came out to bat and the teenage fast bowler Alex Tudor went off with a suspected rib muscle injury, which could put him out of the match after 35 balls of high-class pace.

Both teams could open their own casualty ward, so numerous are the crocks. The wicketkeeper Graham Kersey, Surrey's success story of the summer, is probably out for the rest of the season after breaking a thumb at Derby.

Lancashire were forced into making four late changes, but they have unearthed a talent as exciting as Tudor. Richard Green, 19, marked his Championship debut with a promising performance. He generated plenty of pace and produced enough unplayable deliveries to convince those watching that he could become a major force on the circuit.

Adam Hollioake and Graham Thorpe, with a half-century apiece, stiffened a fragile Surrey innings, which was destroyed by some accurate and sharp bowling from Peter Martin and Glen Chapple, who sent them tumbling down the rocky slope before their own batsmen tackled the climb with a little more certainty.