Surrey v Hampshire, The Oval, 1st day September 9, 2008

Shoaib strikes on Surrey debut

Cricinfo staff

Hampshire 116 for 2 v Surrey

Shoaib Akhtar works through the gears on his first outing for Surrey © PA Sports
After clocking up plenty of air miles between the UK and Asia, Shoaib Akhtar struck on his Surrey debut during a truncated opening day against Hampshire at The Oval. He had Michael Carberry caught behind as the visitors reached 116 for 2 in the 39 overs possible on another dank late-summer day.

Shoaib's first burst wasn't convincing - hardly surprising given his lack of cricket and the jet lag - as he sent down four overs before being given a break. He has never been a man for long spells, so Mark Ramprakash will have to handle him cleverly to get the most out of what is a short-term, and fairly desperate, signing by Surrey as they try to avoid relegation.

In many ways, Surrey's attack for this match sums up their problems. Alongside Shoaib there is Pedro Collins, a Kolpak player, Saqlain Mushtaq, no longer the force who previously bowled Surrey to the Championship, and Alex Tudor, back at The Oval on loan after being released by Essex. The only bowler who really is one for the future is Jade Dernbach and he bowled an economical six-over burst.

Hampshire moved to 47 before Surrey broke through, Tudor bowling Michael Brown off an inside edge in his first over. Shoaib then returned and shifted Carberry, during a sharp second burst, to leave Hampshire on 60 for 2.

That, though, was Surrey's last strike as Michael Lumb and Chris Benham formed an unbroken stand of 56 for the third wicket. With just the two wickets, Surrey have yet to claim their first points of the match and are rapidly running out of time to avoid the drop.

Off the field they have already starting looking ahead with the appointment of Gus Mackay, the former Sussex chief executive, as their managing director. With a new man on board to run the show Alan Butcher, the current coach, will be looking nervously over his shoulder even if they stay up. That is looking a long way off.

  • There was no play in the other three Championship matches. Somerset and Durham couldn't begin their vital game at Taunton, while in Division Two, rain washed out the match at Grace Road between Leicestershire and Gloucestershire and at Northampton between Northamptonshire and Essex.
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