Ramps firsty for runs
Mark Ramprakash celebrated winning the race to 1,000 first-class runs for the first time – and then showed Kent his awesome form in the Twenty20 Cup
It’s the 16th time he has hit four-figures but the 36-year-old showed he is equally adept at the instant game on Wednesday night at The Oval.
Ramprakash lashed five fours and four sixes in his 29-ball 58, even outscoring James Benning’s ferocious 88 from 54 balls at one stage, as Surrey hammered Kent by a massive 107 runs.
Set 199, the visitors briefly thrived through Darren Stevens (31) before crumbling to 91 all out against spinners Nayan Doshi (3-10) and Ian Salisbury (2-6).
With skipper Mark Butcher suffering a soft tissue injury in his back, vice-captain Rikki Clarke had already overseen a 40-run thumping of Middlesex at Lord’s 24 hours earlier. That was led off by Alistair Brown’s crunching 83 from 38 balls, putting on 148 with Benning (57), as the visitors sped to 218-7.
After slumping to 13-4 against Tim Murtagh (3-39), Scott Styris (56) and Eoin Morgan (66) kept Middlesex alive but they finished well adrift at 178-7.
Surrey will be back in action tonight at Hove against Sussex and entertain Essex at The Oval tomorrow, starting at 12.30pm, with Sussex visiting on Tuesday (5.30pm).
Ramprakash admitted the four-day format was more to his liking but admitted: “There’s no doubt all the young guys in the side love it and it’s great to see grounds full. We’ve got a good record in the Twenty20 Cup and we’re keen to keep that up.”
He had entered the second innings of Surrey’s match against Glamorgan at Swansea last week needing 12 to reach four-figures and admitted it was a relief to get there on his way to 156, his 83rd first-class century.
Ramprakash said: “I was getting a bit itchy because I might never get another chance. I was keen to do it before our break for the Twenty20 and I knew that Phil Jacques had scored a couple of double-tons for Worcestershire and was closing quickly. I’m pretty chuffed about it really.”
Ramprakash’s form has been a major factor in Surrey leading the Liverpool Victoria County Championship second division by 18 points after eight matches although he’s not been short of support in the shape of Clarke (653), Brown (579), Butcher (665), Scott Newman (589), Jon Batty (557) and Benning (306).
Their bowling has been led by resurgent leg-spinner Salisbury (32 wickets), slow left-armer Doshi (29) and speedster Mo Akram (23).
“I count myself very lucky to play on such high standard pitches at The Oval and the big challenge for us will be to adapt to other surfaces during the second half of the season,” said Ramprakash. He accepted that bowlers in the second division are not as high a standard as in the first.
Surrey attracted derision from the crowd at Swansea for batting on to 448-8dec in the second innings, having conceded a first innings deficit of 68, leaving the hosts a notional chase of 386 after tea.
Manager Alan Butcher defended the tactics, commenting: “We were never in a position to set Glamorgan a realistic target and most of our bowlers were carrying injuries.”
He accepted criticism of the side’s performance at Chelmsford on Sunday, when they ended a dreadful C&G Trophy campaign with a six-wicket defeat. The visitors were hustled out for 128 with the reply taking just 15.3 overs.
Clarke top-scored with 40 in a game skippered by uncapped Stewart Walters, a move caused by what Butcher described as a “slight communication problem which has been resolved" with the vice-captain.