Friday, 10 September 2010

There's two ways of looking at this

Either today was a colossal failure of the top order, missing straight ones and generally playing in a pretty below-par fashion, or alternatively it was an attempt by the top order to make a game of it - going in with flashing blades in search of quick runs, which didn't quite come off.

In reality it was probably a mixture of the two. I'm sure Jason Roy and Hamilton-Brown had in mind a rapid 200 and getting Glamorgan in this afternoon. However Kevin Pietersen labouring at the crease for a solitary run from 23 balls before being given out LBW for the second time in the match is evidence of a man aeons away from his best form.
Whatever the means of getting there, in the end it was played out as a pretty comfortable draw. Dernbach pinned Waters LBW in the first over of the day to maximise the time for Surrey to make a game of it, but once five wickets went begging for just 20 runs, it was a case of Gary Wilson and Chris Schofield batting to make the game safe.
On that note, it is remarkable, to my mind, quite how far Gary Wilson has come. I remember watching him in a number of Twenty20s last year and thinking he was one of the most hapless players to take the field, and now we seem to have on our hands a genuinely promising, mature and intelligent cricketer who played the situation to perfection today. His 45 swallowed up 134 balls and his partnership of 124 (the second hundred partnership he was part of in the match - indeed they were the only two century partnerships in the whole game) with Chris Schofield made the draw a certainty.

So what to make of this game?  Its another result that's gone begging because of the weather, but there's no way of telling which way this would've gone if we'd had four full days.  The batting of Jason Roy as opener is a huge plus and he should continue there - having a hard hitting, fast scoring opener in the longer format is becoming more and more fashionable.  However his opening partner Lancefield looks at this stage to be a little short of where he needs to be - I think his time will come, but I'm not sure that time is now.

Hamilton-Brown's 96 on day one was hugely impressive but he should've gone on, and the less said about KP's performance the better.  The last few games of the season are exposing two enormous gaps in the side.  Firstly we don't have, and we haven't had all season, a decent number four (except once when Meaker was in as nightwatchman and Ramps dropped to four!).  Owais Shah fits the bill perfectly but he seems destined for Chelmsford.

And secondly an allrounder, spinner or otherwise.  Ok Schofield bagged himself a bucketload of runs in this game, but his bowling is not of sufficient quality, and the same goes for Batty and Spriegel.  The return of Michael Brown next year and the good form of Jason Roy makes the openers, previously a major concern, slightly less so for now.

One game to go and it won't be an easy one.  Gloucestershire and their crack bowling lineup on home turf, against our batting lineup which is far from in top gear at the moment.  Avoiding our first ever wooden spoon is a must, so we need to get something out of the game even if Derbyshire, the only side below us, have a tough task in going to Cardiff to face Glamorgan in their final game.  A win would also lift us above Middlesex, which while essentially meaningless, would be nice. 

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