Here I am, yet again, a few pints down and I'm writing about another Surrey defeat. This was no Tuesday the 8th of June, or 8/6 as it will forever be known among Surrey fans, but it wasn't very good either.
We won the toss, elected to field first and our bowlers restricted Essex's pretty decent batting lineup to 121 runs, with our main bowlers restricting the runs and by and large taking wickets. Nel, Dernbach and Tremlett bowled accurately and with good pace in excellent bowling conditions. Hamilton-Brown gave himself three overs, the third of which conceded the runs which ultimately made the difference. Another over from Symonds was probably more appropriate, but Hamilton-Brown's spin it was. He did pick up two wickets in his three overs, but I don't think the third was the right way to go.
Then the batting, well the batting...it was poor again. No one passed 24 (neither did anyone in the Essex innings mind you), and Symonds and Younus have now totalled 10 runs from their four innings so far, not what we'd expect for handsomely paid overseas players.
Ravi Bopara ended with 3-13, Symonds and Younus among his victims, and Scott Styris did well in choking the runs as well. Throughout the innings Surrey conspired to keep themselves behind the curve, wickets fell at regular intervals and when it came to the crunch, the 9 run margin actually flattered us a little bit.
I did say I wanted an improvement, and I got that, so I shouldn't whinge too much, but I want - and we all expect - so much more from this team. As I'm sure the players expect more from themselves. Two defeats from two, it hardly needs saying, is the worst possible start and the manner of the defeats will be crushing for morale. Back to back games over the weekend present a good opportunity to fight back, but given the quality of the players in the weekend's opposition - Tres, Kies, Pollard, Lumb, Pietersen and so on, that will be very, very tough.
Test Cricket's 10K Club
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