The Surrey of old, lets say, May 2010 might have let their heads drop when despite having been 81-6 Derbyshire clawed their way up to 218-6, thanks to a good counter-attacking 137-run partnership between Wayne Madsen and Lee Goddard, but the newer Surrey has a bit more about it.
You get the feeling that the string of victories, and convincing ones at that, in the Twenty20 Cup has given the players a new found confidence that is translating to better results on the field. I hope I'm not getting carried away in saying that!
In the morning Chris Tremlett and Tim Linley had taken Surrey agonisingly close to full bonus points but Linley was last man out for 15 just 9 runs short of the 400 run target. Linley made up for that though with a fantastic spell of bowling, 9 straight overs before lunch saw him take 3-13 before he returned to take one more straight after lunch. Linley's improved massively over the course of this season, and could well be a key part of the attack if Andre Nel leaves at the end of this season. Cruelly though he left the field part way through his 11th over, and I'm not sure he made it back onto the field, not a good sign at all.
Then came the Madsen and Goddard partnership, but Surrey fought back well. The dismissal of the last four batsmen for 19 runs, Batty with three and Tremlett with one, gave Surrey a lead of 154. The follow-on was available but with Linley being unavailable to bowl and with two and a bit days left in the game, Hamilton-Brown made the right call in not enforcing it.
Surrey ended the day 50-1, Hamilton-Brown having fallen to Groenewald for just four (he's not best used as an opener so the sooner Brown returns the better). Ramprakash ended the day 17 runs short of the magic 1,000 run target for the season, he'll be keen to be first man there tomorrow morning.
I would think Surrey will be looking for another 180-200 runs, depending on how the pitch is looking. That might seem overly cautious, but if they can collect those quickly that'll give them well over a day to see off Derbyshire for a second time. That task will be tough if Linley remains unavailable, another reason that they'll probably want a bit target on the board.
Unfortunately one of our quicker scoring batsmen, Hamilton-Brown, is back in the hutch so it'll fall to Ramps, Afzaal and Younus to rack them up. They're more than capable of doing that, and if they do it'll give us a massive opportunity to pick up a second Championship win of the season, and with Middlesex struggling in Bristol, it might just lift us off the bottom of the table!
Test Cricket's 10K Club
8 hours ago