Ramprakash guides Surrey to first victory
Surrey 386 and 241 for 3 beat Northamptonshire 397 and 229 by seven wickets
Mark Ramprakash struck an unbeaten half-century to guide Surrey to a seven-wicket win over Northamptonshire on the final day of their County Championship Division Two match at Wantage Road. Ramprakash, who also made 70 in the first innings, hit 79 off 143 balls as the visitors won for the first time in 17 Championship matches, their last success coming in this fixture last year.
Former South Africa paceman Andre Nel, who blasted 96 on Thursday, had earlier taken four for 68 as Northamptonshire were reduced to 229 all out, giving Surrey a target of 241. Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown then hammered an explosive 45 off 42 balls as they comfortably made that total with 10 overs to spare.
The hosts began the day 165 runs ahead of Surrey on 154 for 4, with captain Andrew Hall on eight and his predecessor Nicky Boje on 18. However, Boje only faced four balls without adding to his overnight score before he smashed Tim Linley straight to Matthew Spriegel at backward point.
The hosts were then left floundering on 159 for 6 when David Sales, who has been suffering with a migraine during the match, was run out by Chris Schofield at mid-wicket to bag a pair. Hall made it to 32 before he became Nel's third victim when he edged him to Surrey wicketkeeper Steven Davies.
Nel struck again by trapping James Middlebrook lbw for five before Sri Lankan seamer Chaminda Vaas (17) went via the same method off Jade Dernbach. Dernbach, who hit an unbeaten 56, then wrapped up the Northamptonshire tail by bowling Lee Daggett, who made just two.
Chasing 241 with 68 overs left, Surrey made a quick start by crashing 37 off the first seven overs before losing Davies for 25, when David Willey took a superb diving catch at mid-wicket off the bowling of Boje.
Arun Harinath, who went for a duck in the first innings, threw his wicket away when two short of his half-century by launching Willey to Rob White at mid-wicket. Hamilton-Brown then blasted his exciting knock of 45 before missing an attempted cut off Middlebrook and was stumped by O'Brien.
This left the visitors on 156 for 3 at tea and they needed 85 from the final session for the victory. The runs continued to come freely after the break and Ramprakash reached his second fifty of the match off 94 balls. He and former Northamptonshire man Usman Afzaal, with 33 not out, then shared an unbeaten stand of 88 to carry Surrey over the line.