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May 7, 2006
While Ramprakash, who was dropped by Wood at midwicket on 18, was cruising along with his usual consummate timing, it looked like he could seal a perfect week, after his 292 sank Gloucestershire in the Championship. But Surrey could find no impetus after he fell, leaving his side still needing 69 from ten overs.
There was a strange mood to the innings, one not filled with urgency and one not helped by a calamitous mix-up between Mark Butcher who was let down by a James Benning call after reaching 33 in quick-time. Benning followed soon after, fishing at one - and you'd imagine that compliments were not what he caught when he arrived in the changing room (80 for 3).
On a typically flat Oval pitch, Somerset's 279 looked like a par score after they were asked to bat. There was an easy pace to their innings, the langorous nature reflected by the relaxed Sunday crowd. Wood carved out the bulk of the score, with Suppiah setting up a good day with 63, before Ian Salisbury snapped up a sharp return catch. But it was Somerset who were ultimately sharper.
Down at Lord's, Middlesex finally chalked up a win, breaking Hampshire's unbeaten run in the process, with a 13-run victory. Ed Smith battered 88 to lift Middlesex to 254, helped by another cool Ed, Joyce, who made 43. Chad Keegan wrapped up proceedings with 3 for 52 from 9.1 overs.
Alastair Cook's commanding 91 not out took Essex to an emphatic eight-wicket victory against Ireland at the County Ground. After the early loss of Ronnie Irani for a duck, Cook and Grant Flower didn't look back, adding 163 for the second wicket to do the damage. Ryan ten Doeschate took 4 for 49 from nine overs, including the wicket of dangerman Shahid Afridi for 7, to dent Ireland's hopes of setting a decent target. Heavy overnight rains failed to make an impression on the match and Essex were left to chase 191, after Andre Botha had boosted Ireland with 69 and Eoin Morgan had added 34.
It's not often these days that you see Andrew Flintoff in a Lancashire shirt, but he didn't disappoint those fans who turned up to Northamptonshire to watch him take 3 for 30 and help his county side to an authoritative eight-wicket win. And there was no need for him to bat, either, as Brad Hodge and Stuart Law each made unbeaten fifties to take Lancashire home. On the bowling front, Dominic Cork chipped in with 3 for 23 and there was a solitary wicket for Sajid Mahmood who will be celebrating his England call-up along with his international captain, Flintoff, tonight.
Gareth Breese blew through Warwickshire with 4 for 36 to take Durham to a 66-run win at the Riverside. Mick Lewis also left the visitors windswept - his 2 for 26 from five overs started the rot. Fifties from John Lewis and Paul Collingwood had teed up Durham who made a crashing 224 from 36 overs in a reduced match. With such a stiff target, Warwickshire were always going to be up against it, and they froze.
Chris Taylor squeezed out victory for Derbyshire with an unbeaten 66 against Leicestershire at the County Ground. After rain reduced the match to 45 overs, Derbyshire were left to chase 190 which they did with eight balls to spare. Leicestershire made 188 for 6 from the 45 overs that were possible in their innings, Jeremy Snape (34 from 35 balls) and Paul Nixon (27 from 24) boosting them late on.
Scotland's Australian import, Corey Richards, clubbed an unbeaten 88 from 70 balls to set his adopted country up for a memorable eight-run victory over Worcestershire at the Grange in Edinburgh. In a match reduced to 25 overs a side, Richards was aided and abetted by another Aussie, his New South Wales team-mate, Ian Moran, who scampered a brisk 42 not out from 28 balls. In reply, Vikram Solanki hit 61 from 56, and Graeme Hick was still there at the end, on 50 not out from 42, but Worcestershire were left with just too much to do.
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