Today didn't quite go to plan for Surrey, the completed second innings of 253 was stuttering at best, 9 batsmen made it into double figures but only one, Andre Nel, made it past 30. The result was a target of 408 for Derbyshire in comfortably over a day.
The number of overs is not a problem for Derbyshire, they have 9 wickets in hand and a hundred or so overs to get the remaining 272 runs tomorrow. While yesterday morning the prospects of a Derbyshire win looked remote, Madsen, Rogers and Park have vastly increased that possibility.
A bowler down, Hamilton-Brown can only call on the services of two frontline bowlers - Nel and Tremlett. The rest of the overs will have to be bowled by a combination of Batty, Younus, Afzaal and probably Hamilton-Brown himself.
We've been desperately unlucky to lose Linley completely, he won't bowl at all in the second innings apparently due to an injury to the arch of his foot (thanks to @karen_bradberry on Twitter for that one!), and for that reason the skipper probably would've wanted a bit more than 400 given the number of overs available. Also hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the pitch doesn't look remotely dodgy at this stage.
Nel and Tremlett will want some bowler friendly conditions tomorrow morning and if we can nip a couple out quick, 250 runs with only four or five wickets in hand suddenly looks a lot more tricky for Derbyshire. However, if Madsen and Park make it through the first hour unscathed, you'd have to say they should do it comfortably.
Having praised the balance of this side I can't complain that now we might not have the bowling, but that is largely down to rotten luck with an injury. A defeat from here will really hit the confidence of the players, especially because they've done so much good work to get them into a good position. I hope they come out fighting tomorrow morning, if they do that, we'll give ourselves a much better chance of turning Derbyshire over. Come on the Rey!
Azhar Ali - One of the World's Best
5 days ago