Yorkshire punished by Stewart

Surrey 549 Yorkshire 226-4
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The Independent Online
For long moments in a long afternoon it looked as if David Byas was going to restore a certain degree of balance to affairs here yesterday.

After Alec Stewart's monumental and magnificent unbeaten 271 appeared to have given Surrey a huge advantage, Byas adopted a phlegmatic approach as Yorkshire set about grinding their way back into this match. But like Martyn Moxon before him, the Yorkshire captain perished just when he had passed his half century, and much will now depend on their third half- centurion, Darren Lehmann.

Both senior men fell victim to the wiles of Surrey's Pakistan Test off- spinner, Saqlain Mushtaq. Moxon pushed forward to the arm ball and Chris Lewis snapped up the first of his two sharp slip catches. Byas prodded forward similarly and went the same way. When Saqlain had Bradley Parker caught next delivery by Mark Butcher at silly point with a ball that turned the other way, the imbalance had been reasserted by the home side.

Stewart had left a raft of records bobbing about in his wake. It was his career best, beating the previous mark of 206 not out made against Essex in 1989; the highest first-class score by any batsman this season; the highest score by any present Surrey professional (David Ward, who made 294 against Derbyshire in 1994, has left the county); the second highest score by a Surrey player against Yorkshire, behind Tom Hayward's 273 in 1899; and the third double hundred against Yorkshire by a Surrey batsman. It also equalled the 15th highest individual Surrey score in first-class cricket and surpassed his father Mickey's highest score of 227 not out (against Middlesex in 1964).

There were some minor gems on the team front. It was the seventh time Surrey have scored more than 500 runs against Yorkshire and equalled the total made on the only occasion they have achieved the feat away from The Oval, matching the 549 they amassed at Lord's in 1914.

When he resumed on his overnight 200, Stewart looked prepared to double his score. Unfortunately he needed his partners to stick around and they did not. Ian Salisbury went in the second over of the morning and although Martin Bicknell helped put on 54, as did the last man, Joey Benjamin, Stewart - and Surrey - needed more.

Once past 250 Stewart opened up, realising that time - and Benjamin's luck - was running out. A couple more glorious drives, one straight, the other through cover, preceded an amazing six, when Stewart helped a wide ball on its way to the boundary over backward point's head. There was one final Benjamin swing for four before White bowled him.