Saturday, 9 April 2011

A day of three thirds

Middlebrook and Hall, a partnership which sounds more like a publishing house than a cricketing masterclass made it just Northants' day at the Oval today. The pair put on a record 8th wicket partnership for Northants against Surrey after their side had been reduced to 163-7 thanks largely to an excellent spell of seam bowling from Tim Linley.

Middlebrook and Hall - not a publishers.

The morning session saw Stephen Peters and Mal Loye progress very sedately, the run rate barely edging two an over before Linley had Peters LBW and Gareth Batty clean bowled Loye. Rob White made a very confident 78 (though I'm pretty sure Batty had him caught at short leg while on 25).

The session after lunch was Surrey's though, Linley picked up the wickets of Wakely, White and O'Brien, the former two with lovely balls hitting off stump and the latter with a possibly non-existent edge through to the keeper. Non-existent edges or not, Linley deserved his excellent figures. He was bowling just short of a good length and getting good lift, he rarely strayed in line and at one stage had 4-17.

Tim Linley bowled one of his finest Surrey spells

The other seamers, Meaker and Arafat flattered to deceive. Meaker picked up David Sales for a 13 ball duck with a good ball just short of a length but Arafat wasn't really on the money. There was too much for the batsman to leave and when it wasn't outside off it was too straight and the batsmen helped themselves.

All the while Gareth Batty twirled away very economically and as well as the wicket of Loye he bowled Chaminda Vaas round his legs. Zander de Bruyn bowled pretty innocuously and the selection of Chris Schofield continued to baffle, he bowled only 5 overs all day.

Gareth Batty - twirly

It is very disappointing to have let Northants thoroughly off the hook. If we'd finished them off for sub-250 we'd have been right in the driving seat. As it is they look likely to gain parity and possibly even a small lead. Middlebrook and Hall batted very sensibly to their credit, but again it seemed the lack of a genuinely threatening spinner might just cost us the chance to see this one through.

Tomorrow will be hard work again if this pair settle in. Arafat needs to tighten his lines, Meaker just needs to bowl full and quick, and Linley needs to return to the length he hit in the middle session. If we can bowl them out for less than 320 there is a chance we could still force something, but a draw looks increasingly the most likely result.


Lewis said...

Hi Josh,

It's a somewhat overused phrase (and I use it a lot) but the first hour tomorrow could well set the tone for the game. Bowl them out and Surrey have the momentum and a negligible lead; bat through to lunch and Northants have the momentum and a trademarked Surrey-collapse could ensue. Let's hope for the former!


GreenJJ said...

Hi Lewis

Not too bad a morning in the end, though we let them get off to a good start. Looking all the more like a draw now, will be tough for either side to force a result, but as you say, collapses now out of the question!