Support for Lewis after scuffle

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The Independent Online
Surrey yesterday came out strongly in support of Chris Lewis after he was involved in a scuffle with a spectator at The Oval on Sunday. The England all-rounder was seen to tangle with a drunken man when leaving the pitch after the AXA League game against Essex.

Lewis plays in today's Benson and Hedges Cup semi-final against Leicestershire at the Oval and Surrey cricket manager, David Gilbert, said: "It's done and dusted as far as we are concerned.

"Chris had just bowled an over which had gone for a lot of runs and we had lost the game so he was pretty wound up as he came off. He didn't need some goose deciding to come up and harass him."

Surrey's chief executive, Paul Sheldon, added: "Chris Lewis was subjected to verbal and then physical and racial abuse at the end of the game and following a brief tussle the spectator was forcibly ejected from the ground.

"This club utterly abhors the use of any kind of racial abuse and will continue to work with stewards and police to isolate such incidents and to protect its staff and players."

Leicestershire's Ben Smith will not play today and may struggle to return to action for another fortnight. His place in the side looks certain to go to former Oxford University captain Gregor Macmillan.

In the other semi, Kent, who play Northamptonshire at Canterbury, will leave a decision on the fitness of Graham Cowdrey (hamstring) as late as possible with David Fulton standing by.

Warwickshire's chief executive, Dennis Amiss, yesterday expressed his relief after the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Edgbaston will stage next summer's opening Test against South Africa.

The ECB had warned Warwickshire that they faced the prospect of losing the right to stage Test cricket following problems with pitches at Edgbaston. But the wicket for the first Ashes Test was rated good by umpires Peter Willey and Steve Bucknor and the ECB's chief executive, Tim Lamb, today revealed the threat to Edgbaston had been lifted.

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