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August 20, 2008
Normal service has been resumed for Mark Ramprakash, but a mid-pitch confrontation with Murray Goodwin has taken the gloss away from another century. With the 100th hundred well out of the way he is back churning out runs galore and how Surrey need him at the moment. His unbeaten 133 on the opening day against Sussex at The Oval put them in a strong position as they search for their first Championship win of the season, but Ramprakash could find himself in trouble after an argument with Goodwin which led to Ramprakash having to be restrained by the umpires. Surrey's form has left them favourites for relegation and losing both openers for 40 wasn't the way go about changing fortunes. However, Ramprakash and Jon Batty combined to add 216 for the third wicket with Ramprakash completing his century off 168 balls shortly after the argument with Goodwin. Batty ended the day four short of a century, which would be a suitable way to celebrate being handed a benefit for next season.
Geraint Jones hit a determined 80 to lead a Kent fightback at Canterbury after Lancashire knocked over the top order. Dominic Cork is determined to leave his mark for Lancashire after being released and helped them move into a strong position. Robert Key was unfortunate to be run-out for 7 backing up, then Cork removed Joe Denly and Martin van Jaarsveld, while Steven Croft also grabbed a couple, as Kent slipped to 105 for 5. Kent began to turn the day around through a stand of 52 between Jones and Ryan McLaren. Sajid Mahmood bowled McLaren for 23 and Glen Chapple removed James Tredwell, but the Kent tail didn't fold. Amjad Khan partnered Jones through to a slightly early close with Jones in a position to pick up his first century of the season.
Essex's middle order bailed them out of trouble against Worcestershire at Colchester, Ryan ten Doeschate boosting the total over 250 with an unbeaten 87. Mark Pettini (59) and James Foster (55) came to the rescue early on after Kabir Ali reduced them to 24 for 3. The pair added 114 for the fourth wicket, but both fell with the total on 138 to successive balls, leaving Essex back in trouble. ten Doeschate was running out of partners as the lower order fell to Imran Arif, however David Masters made 16 then Danish Kaneria stuck around. ten Doeschate didn't bother with much running as 68 of his total came in boundaries. Worcestershire did well to keep the pressure on for so long after losing Matt Mason with a shoulder injury after just one over. He isn't expected to bowl again in the match.
Ed Joyce made his first Championship century of the season as Middlesex moved into a decent position against Leicestershire at Lord's, but two late wickets brought the visitors back into contention. Joyce and Andrew Strauss (71) added 124 for the second wicket as Middlesex made impressive progress during the morning session. Strauss struck 14 boundaries, and looked set for a hundred following a lean series against South Africa, when he chipped to square leg. Joyce's century came off 151 deliveries before he was caught behind off Garnett Kruger, and it was Kruger who led Leicestershire's late fightback with the new ball. He removed Dawid Malan for 46 and had Shaun Udal caught at point with what became the final ball of the day when bad light ended play.
David Sales ended one short of a century at the close against Gloucestershire after he engineered a Northamptonshire recovery at Bristol following the opening-day washout. He added an unbroken 98 for the sixth wicket with Andrew Hall (43 not out) after the visitors had fallen to 114 for 5. Oliver Newby, whose loan spell from Lancashire ends this weekend, made the early breakthroughs and had Niall O'Brien well caught at slip. David Brown also removed two in the middle order, but Sales held firm and took advantage of some part-time spin from Marcus North and medium pace from Hamish Marshall after Gloucestershire had fallen behind the over-rate.
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A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches
Bide your time, put your body behind each delivery, and play with the batsman's mind