Thursday, May 06, 2010

Two-in-a-row for Glos after Oval win

LVCC: Gloucestershire 229 & 248 beat Surrey 178 & 222 by 77 runs (PTS: Glos 20, Surrey 3)

Vikram Banerjee completed an excellent return to the Gloucestershire first X1 by bowling his side to victory on the third evening. His 5-74 completed a "London double" for Gloucestershire which puts their promotion challenge back on track.

For the second day in succession, Gloucestershire won the morning session to take a grip of the game. James Franklin batted the morning for 90, but ended up stranded on 92 as the innings was wrapped up in just eight balls after lunch. Franklin was brilliantly supported by Banerjee, who made another 16 dogged runs, and Gemaal Hussain, who made 22.

Lower order runs again dug the visitors out of a huge hole that they had been plunged into yesterday. At 133-7, Surrey were looking to chase around 220 maximum. 300 was always too many for a struggling side.

Gloucestershire applied pressure with the ball by chipping away with regular wickets. Gareth Batty edged Kirby behind, likewise Mark Ramprakash off Franklin, and when Uzman Afzaal missed an attempted slog-sweep against Banerjee, suddenly the Surrey top order had contributed very little and were out of the game.

Arun Harinath could fit into the Gloucestershire batting very nicely. Looks promising, plays nicely, and then gives it away. He simply turned a Banerjee long-hop into the hands of Steve Snell at short-leg.

It wasn't a perfectly rosy afternoon for the Westcountry side though. They failed to take a number of chances that they will be punished for against good teams.

Alex Gidman and Hussain spilled absolute dollies that nearly cost Banerjee a five-for. Snell and Chris Taylor also put down straightforward chances and Hamish Marshall missed a run-out chance.

Those missed chances meant the game lasted a little longer than it did - finishing just two overs before the extra half-hour would be needed - but with the Surrey lower-order slogging away it was only a matter of time before the wickets went down.

Gloucestershire are showing signs of turning a corner with their cricket. "Clinch" situations in these last two games - both third mornings - have been won and that has contributed to two comfortable wins. The bowling can win matches if the batting provides the platform.

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