Warwickshire dominated a frenetic day's play at Edgbaston as Surrey swanned to the brink of relegation.
Surrey's demise was largely self-induced but Warwickshire bowled well and are all but assured of survival in the top division.
The visitors may suggest that a recovery from 153 for seven justified their approach but there is no devil in this pitch and Surrey's score is some way under par.
With the whole of the first day and 45 overs of the second lost to poor weather, Surrey were always chasing this match. Though a draw would sustain their statistical hopes of survival, they require victory to maintain more realistic aspirations of escape. For a side boasting such talent, to be in such predicament is a shocking under-achievement.
It is not hard to see where they are going wrong. Though they played some impressive shots, they lacked application and demonstrated little stomach to fight their way out of the grim position in which they find themselves. Flailing away at everything within reach is the easy answer; they didn't appear able to muster the determination for more lasting solutions.
Put into bat by Warwickshire, Surrey's positive intent soon slipped over into recklessness. Some of their shot selection would have been ambitious in the last few overs of a Twenty20 match.
Scott Newman soon prodded at one that he could have left but Mark Butcher looked in fine form. He latched on to some over-pitched bowling from Dougie Brown to lace a series of boundaries through extra cover but soon fell victim to another decent delivery that bounced a little more than he expected outside off stump.
A compelling passage of cricket saw Mark Ramprakash resist a testing spell of fast-bowling from Makhaya Ntini. It was the highestquality cricket of a day high on drama, but not so high in quality, and saw the Surrey batsman's technique given a through work-out by a fast bowler bending his back impressively on another typically slow Edgbaston pitch.
The saga of Ntini's departure continues. Warwickshire remain hopeful of keeping their fast bowler but it will be a major surprise if he does not catch the 8pm flight to South Africa tomorrow. The cynics would suggest that his early departure is for participation in a benefit match for Jacques Kallis in Cape Town on Friday.
James Anyon really impressed. Bowling gun barrel-straight, he produced a spell of three for six in 14 deliveries to account for the Surrey middle-order.
First he clung on to a superb, low caught-andbowled chance with his left hand to account for Jon Batty before Ali Brown was stuck in the crease. Rikki Clarke (59 balls, ten fours and a six), badly missed by Ntini at square leg on 54 as he attempted to pull, soon perished to the same shot.
Clarke's departure seemed to sum up his career. A 23-year-old blessed with prodigious talent, he has promised much and delivered little. Warwickshire were one of several counties to attempt to lure him away from The Oval. Here, he played some sparkling shots, pulling and driving with disdain and taking Neil Carter for 20 in an over. But his departure, pulling one down the throat of deep square leg, was as gormless a piece of cricket as one could wish to see.
Though Anyon suffered in later overs as Surrey's aggressive intent brought a series of fortuitous boundaries, this performance again