The biggest positive of a fairly even first day against Middlesex at the Oval was that one M. R. Ramprakash got back to his hundred scoring ways. Only Ramprakash could be said to be having a slump in form when he's averaging 50 with two hundreds from the first 5 games of the season, such is the regularity with which he scores his runs. His 110th first class hundred was a while in the making, labouring for some time over notching the hundredth run, but his tiny dip in form was only ever likely to last a few innings and woe betide county attacks from here on in!
Both openers failed today, Evans fell for just 10 to some very tight seam bowling up front, and Harinath, having faced his customary 100+ balls was out caught behind off the bowling of Udal. Ramps then set about rebuilding the innings with substantial 80+ partnerships with Hamilton-Brown and Afzaal, the former having promoted himself to number four in the order and looked very comfortable there. He will be disappointed to have raced to fifty and then got out.
Afzaal, who looked to get back to some semblance of form in the tour match with Bangladesh struggled early in his innings, taking 26 deliveries to get off the mark where he is more used to battering boundaries early on. He was foolishly out just before the close trying to hit Udal to the fence for 42. Must do better than that Usman.
Still, Surrey are in a pretty decent position going in to day two with Spriegel coming in next and Batty and run-machine Gary Wilson still to come. Meaker didn't play because of an injury, but Nel returns and Tremlett incredibly started his second consecutive championship game for Surrey. Dernbach completes the bowling lineup and if it were not for Wilson's lack of runs in the past I'd say that this is a much better balanced side to avoid losing games - something which we need to start doing!
Mohammad Hafeez is Back!
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