Ramps slays Warwickshire
Mark Ramprakash's brilliant 175 gave Surrey a hard-earned lead of 59 in a tense LV County Championship relegation tussle with fellow Division One strugglers Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
The former England batsman made the 95th first-class century of his career and his eighth against Warwickshire in his 400th appearance, but it was far from easy going against a disciplined Warwickshire attack who had little luck on a sweltering day.
Ramprakash's century was his third in consecutive innings against Warwickshire in a two-year period and his sixth for Surrey against the same opponents.
But he was given a major let off on 104 when he pulled Neil Carter to mid-on where Alfonso Thomas dropped a simple catch. Thomas had three attempts at holding the catch before the ball hit the ground with Ramprakash already on his way back to the pavilion.
Carter's frustration increased when the left-arm seamer conceded 29 runs in an expensive four-over spell with the second new ball.
Surrey were dependent on Ramprakash until James Benning joined him in an entertaining fifth-wicket stand of 75.
Ramprakash reached 100 out of 133 with his second 50 coming from just 67 balls. The scoring rate was barely two an over until Benning upped the tempo by crashing 44 from 40 balls with eight fours and a hooked six off Carter.
Thomas partly atoned for his dropped catch when he had Benning taken by wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose with a beauty that left him late. Chris Jordan followed when he was caught behind driving at James Anyon.
But Ramprakash remained to frustrate Warwickshire. He combined solid defence with some scorching on and straight drives and reached his 150 from 289 balls with 21 fours and two sixes.
Former Derbyshire slow left-armer Ant Botha eventually made the breakthrough, snaring Ramprakash at slip with one that turned and bounced. Ramprakash batted for seven hours and 10 minutes and faced 336 balls.
Surrey were only 18 ahead when Ramprakash departed, but Matt Nicholson increased the lead by tucking into rookie seamer Chris Woakes.
Nicholson's runs proved to be valuable though he missed out on his first half-century of the season when he was pinned lbw by Botha for a quickfire 41.
Debutant Murtaza Hussain and Warwickshire-born Jimmy Ormond then survived some anxious moments in steering Surrey to 344 for eight at the close.