AKRAM COMPLETES GLOUCESTERSHIRE ROUT by Marcus Hook
Surrey 649-8d v Gloucestershire 207 & 135. Surrey win by an innings and 297 runs.

Gloucestershire bowed to what is known in cricketing circles as scoreboard pressure yesterday as they conceded their heaviest ever defeat at the hands of Surrey, who, as a result, go clear at the top of the Division Two table. Set 432 to make the Brown Caps bat again, the visitors were roundly trounced by an innings and 297 runs, with Mohammad Akram taking six for 34, his best figures since joining the Oval outfit at the beginning of last season.

With the injured Ian Harvey unable to bat, the west countrymen crumbled to 135 all out on a blameless pitch. Their demise was witnessed by the oldest man in Britain, 109-year-old Henry Allingham. Mr Allingham's last visit to The Oval is thought to have been in 1906, when he watched WG Grace play for the Gentlemen versus the Players. Even the great man might have struggled to prevent a Surrey win, which arrived at 3.10pm.

Craig Spearman was trapped on the crease by a quicker delivery from Mohammad Akram, which nipped back off the seam and Matt Windows wafted at a wide delivery from James Benning. The introduction of spin then saw Nayan Doshi find the outside edge of Chris Taylor's bat and, in his next over, Doshi had Phil Weston, who had been given three lives on ten, superbly caught by Mark Butcher at silly point.

After lunch, Gloucestershire resumed on 45 for four after and a fifth wicket partnership worth 68 in an hour and a half between Alex Gidman and Steve Adshead at last gave the visitors second dig some much needed respectability. However, Akram then cleaned up the visitors by claiming five wickets for five runs in 14 deliveries.

Adshead fell to a catch behind, Martyn Ball was done for pace and played on and Carl Greenidge shouldered arms to suffer the ignominy of a king pair. James Averis was the next to go, caught at slip, and Steve Kirby was lbw pushing forward. The margin of defeat eclipsed the innings and 200-run reverse the visitors suffered at The Oval in 1894.

Earlier, Mark Ramprakash fell eight runs short of becoming Surrey's first triple centurion since Jack Hobbs in 1926. Resuming on 276 he passed his previous career-best of 279 before lofting Martyn Ball to long-on, whereupon the hosts declared. In all the former Middlesex man batted for 9 hours and hit 32 fours and seven maximums. Meanwhile, Ball finished with figures of six for 134.

Jimmy Ormond could not take the field in the second innings after a back problem restricted him to eight overs in the first, but thanks to Akram he was not missed.

GO TO:

BACK TO: