Rain may have restricted the third day's play of Surrey's match against Warwickshire here to just 29 overs but it was easy to see why the reigning champions are such a force in domestic cricket. When the action eventually started at 2pm Surrey were still 176 runs behind. With only six wickets in hand it was a position from which most counties would look to grind their way back into contention.
Not for the residents of this ground however. Surrey refuse to play negative cricket and it was their captain, Adam Hollioake, who ensured that the high tempo of this game continued. Unbeaten on 87 overnight, Hollioake wasted no time in moving to within a run of his century by clubbing Alan Richardson for two early fours. On 99, however, he became tentative for the first time in his innings and it took him a further 10 deliveries to reach three figures. And this was only through the courtesy of a misfield from Ian Bell at square-leg.
In celebration of his 17th first-class hundred Hollioake then decided to show his power by smashing Neil Smith for a huge six deep into the seats at the Vauxhall Road end. Alec Stewart and Surrey's capable lower order followed their captain's example by taking the game to their opponents but it was the England wicket-keeper who stood out. Stewart looked in particularly good touch for his first knock of the season and it was a surprise when he edged a drive to Nick Knight at first slip. By the time the players left the field for the last time, Surrey's deficit had been reduced to 64.
With 108 overs already lost, it will take enterprising captaincy to force a positive result. Surrey would fancy a run chase but it is unlikely Warwickshire will be prepared to set such a dangerous batting line-up anything at all. Both teams will expect to be in contention come the end of the season meaning bonus points may well be the order of today's play.
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