Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Batting slips to leave match in the Balance

DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 229 & 139-7 lead Surrey 178 by 190 runs (PTS: Glos 4, Surrey 3)
LIVE ball-by-ball coverage on

Another remarkable demise by the Gloucestershire batsmen has turned what was looking like a strong position into a very nervy one after the second day at the Oval. Bad light again curtailed the drama - never a dull moment following Gloucestershire.

Firstly, Gloucestershire seized the initiative and produced a big morning session. So big, in fact, that it probably used up all their good cricket for the day. The afternoon was another poor one for the Gloucestershire batsmen and not being able to string together successive positive sessions is already costing them points.

Once again, the bowling attacked showed its teeth. The wickets were shared around but it was Jon Lewis who this time led the attack - darting the ball both ways from both ends and producing a beauty to clean bowl Mark Ramprakash.

The visitors had grabbed their chance and even a tenth wicket stand of 37 couldn't take away the splendid effort that gave them a useful 51-run lead.

But the lead was only useful. A solid second innings was required, not huge, but solid. Around 220 would suffice but disaster again struck as Gloucestershire suffered two double blows.

First the curse of 86. Alex Gidman, who had played some impressive strokes for a time, was trapped playing across the line. Then Jon Batty, so measured and controlled, was undone by an inswinger to hand Dernbach some eventual reward for a persistently nagging spell.

Then 122 proved another sticking point. Chris Taylor went in the same fashion as his captain, this time to Stuart Meaker who bowled with pace and menace all afternoon. It was the extra bounce that he extracted from just back-of-a-length that undid Steve Snell, who gloved a simple catch to first slip - his third duck in four innings.

The tail needed to wag, but Lewis could only fire in one department for the day and went caught behind for just one, leaving Vikram Banerjee the task of again providing some doggedness to support James Franklin - fluent for his 34 - to push Gloucestershire to 200.

250 is a testing target and Gloucestershire will back themselves to defend it, if they can set it. Has the batting again let the opposition off the hook?

LIVE coverage continues from 10:55 tomorrow on

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