Ramps ups pressure on Lancs
The prolific Mark Ramprakash scored his 10th century of the season to severely dent Lancashire’s hopes of becoming champions after the third day of their LV County Championship match with Surrey at the Brit Oval.
Lancashire topped the table going into this final round of matches and just needed to win to lift the title but find themselves needing an unlikely 462 runs on Saturday to win, albeit with 10 wickets in hand.
Former England batsman Ramprakash scored an unbeaten 130, the 97th century of his career which also saw him reach 2026 runs for the season and give him an average of 101.30 for the season to become the first batsman ever to achieve that record.
It was the second year in a row that he has achieved an average of over 100 and the sixth time in his long career that he has scored hundreds in both innings of a match.
Surrey eventually declared with the score on 295 for five with Ramprakash having faced 255 balls with 19 fours and a six, leaving Lancashire an unlikely target of 489 runs for victory with 112 overs left in the match.
Earlier, together with Jonathan Batty (45) and Mark Butcher (47) Ramprakash shared stands of 89 and 77 with the pair to dampen the spirits of the Lancashire attack.
Resuming the day on 21 without loss, the first wicket of the day came with Dominic Cork’s second ball of the day, when he tempted Scott Newman with a well-pitched delivery to clip off his legs to see Mark Chilton take a well judged catch low to his left at square leg.
The former England paceman bowled quite beautifully and it was quite surprising he was only given six overs during the morning, only conceding 16 runs.
Just two balls later, Ramprakash survived a good shout for leg before as Cork swung the ball away, but from then on Ramprakash never really looked in danger of being dismissed, despite Chilton continuing to rotate his attack.
Batty was eventually dismissed just before lunch in the 39th over. On 45, the former Surrey skipper was surprised by a rising delivery from Oliver Newby and looking to pull top edged a catch to Sajid Mahmood at square leg.
After lunch, Butcher continued in much the same vain as Batty scoring 47 from 91 balls. The left-hander was particularly severe on anything short. However, with score on 189, Butcher attempted a hook shot which proved to be his downfall.
The Surrey captain was deceived by the impressive Glen Chapple, who looked much better than in the morning session after switching ends, and gloved a catch to Luke Sutton behind the stumps.
Ramprakash carried on where he left off in the first innings, playing some delightfully timed shots either side of the wicket but he soon lost partner Stewart Walters who fell with the score on 217 just before tea in he 79th over. On 14, the right-hander pulled Oliver Newby straight to deep square leg where Steven Croft took the catch.
Ramprakash reached his century in the first over after tea. He then smashed a massive straight six of Newby as he quickly moved to 130 before Butcher called his players in to leave Lancashire facing a difficult 16 overs at the end of the third day.
The fifth wicket fell in the second over of with the new ball when Mahmood took his first wicket of the innings having James Benning caught again by Croft at deep square leg of a miss-timed pull after scoring just 12 runs.
Play was eventually brought to a close after bad light stopped play with the score on 27 without loss with the visitors still needing 462 to win and if Lancashire are to have any chance of forcing a much-needed victory they will have to bat considerably better than in the first innings.