Surrey succumb

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The Independent Online

reports from Northampton

Northamptonshire 403

Surrey 261-9

Given that their strength supposedly lies in their batting, Surrey were a disappointment here yesterday. Northants, leading the table at the start of this round, have a chance to consolidate their position with a third Championship win, although that was lessened when Surrey, nine wickets down, crept past the follow-on mark before the close.

Taking the second new ball, Surrey's bowlers required less than half an hour in the morning to break up the 282-run alliance between Allan Lamb and Kevin Curran, who had put their side on top on Thursday. Curran edged to second slip, where he had been so expensively dropped on five the day before, and the partnership was ended after 80 overs.

Mark Butcher's catch sparked a curious collapse, the last six wickets chalked off for 20 runs in 42 deliveries, the innings surviving just long enough to push the total past 400.

Tony Pigott got Lamb as well as Curran, nipping one back as the captain, who had been batting five and a half hours by then, shuffled on to the front foot. Pigott finished on 6 for 91. Surrey, waiting for Carl Rackemann to arrive to fill the hole left by Waqar, are getting good service from the old war horse.

If the total represented an opportunity of sorts for Surrey, it was not taken. They lost a wicket to the third ball of the innings when Martin Bicknell edged a horribly awkward in-swinger from Paul Taylor to first slip. Then David Capel produced an equally useful ball to bowl Alec Stewart.

A recovery followed, but a partnership of growing confidence foundered when Graham Thorpe was cut off in full flow on 42. Surrey's progress was thereafter interrupted at regular intervals - shortly after tea they were looking decidedly insecure at 194 for 7.

The terrors induced by Anil Kumble are more subtle than the man he replaced, Curtly Ambrose, but may well prove no less deadly. He has already bowled more than 200 overs and taken 20 wickets, including those gained yesterday. They gave him figures of 4 for 47 from 29 overs, having brought his powers of deception to bear most importantly on Thorpe, Adam Hollioake and Graham Kersey, whose career-best 64 thwarted Lamb's hopes of forcing Surrey to bat again.