Stewart avalanche buries Yorkshire

Surrey 426-6 v Yorkshire
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The Independent Online
It is two years since Alec Stewart last hit a century for Surrey. In between, there have been half a dozen for England. But, for Surrey supporters, the long wait was worth it. The pitch did offer a little encouragement from time to time, but was generally amiable. The England batsman certainly was not, reaching an unbeaten 200 - for the second time in his career.

He, like a number of Surrey's other big names, has been out of touch this summer, and, Test player or not, there are youngsters knocking on a few stars' doors this season. With just 29 Championship runs to his name prior to yesterday's run-fest, Stewart knew he needed to produce something substantial. So did Surrey.

They had not reached 300 in any innings to date this season. Until yesterday. Surrey boots, Stewart's in particular, were overflowing by the end of what was a long hard day for Yorkshire's toilers. Mark Butcher and Jason Ratcliffe missed out after a cautious start - both fell in the forties. Poor Alistair Brown did not even manage that. He is still nursing a broken hand and four balls into what should have been something big he fell leg before to young Alex Morris. However, Ben Hollioake, his elder brother Adam, and, of course, Stewart made up for those relative failures and slammed the metaphorical door in the faces of any and all Second XI hopefuls.

Some of Stewart's shots were at worst, imperious, at best glorious. His timing was its usual immaculate self. His placement bordered on perfection.

His pulling and driving was exquisite. He sailed past three figures for the 40th time in his career off 174 balls - it was his 24th hundred for Surrey. In all he has hit one six and 30 fours in four and three-quarter hours. The only scare came when he almost played on, having made just 20. How Chris Silverwood and Yorkshire would have welcomed that wicket.

On the way Stewart towed the younger Hollioake along in his classy wake and when Ben fell - having helped himself to his second successive Championship 50 in fairly trouble free manner - the flow of runs did not abate. Brown's premature departure saw Adam Hollioake arrive on the scene. He powered his way to a 60-ball half-century - his highest in the Championship this summer. Unfortunately his solitary six, hit out of the ground off Morris, presaged his downfall. The lost ball entailed a change of missile and Hollioake Snr's attempt to work the next delivery through the on-side saw him fall leg before.

By then, though, Surrey had picked up maximum batting points and Stewart had passed 150 for the 10th time in his career. With the exception of Richard Stemp's 3 for 119, there appeared to be nothing the rest of the Yorkshire bowlers could do to stop Stewart.

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