Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Deja vu all over again

Having had the home side 88-4 on a pitch with a fair bit of grass Surrey are now staring down the barrel of needing to bat very well tomorrow to salvage something from the game, thoughts of a victory evaporated as Neil Dexter and John Simpson's partnership built and built from lunch onwards. So much for that brittle middle order eh?

Evidence of the green tinge to the pitch

Hamilton-Brown won his third consecutive toss and put Middlesex in to bat having slotted a fourth seamer, Chris Jordan, in at the last minute, perhaps having seen that grass on the wicket. The decision looked the right one as Yasir Arafat finally took his first wicket of the season trapping Scott Newman LBW (before I'd even made it to my seat). Not long after Tom Maynard took a very sharp slip catch to see off Housego for nothing and Arafat then bowled Chris Rogers. Malan and Dexter settled things but with the score on 88 Malan was adjudged LBW to Batty just before lunch.

Arafat broke his duck at long last
Things were looking mighty fine as I tucked into my roast beef sandwich, I thought our first win of the season might just be on the cards. How wrong I was. After lunch the initial swing Arafat had used so well was long gone and the blazing sunshine wasn't helping matters either. Simpson and Dexter tucked into bowling which was for the most part too short. Dernbach and Simpson had a good battle after lunch with the latter mis-timing a couple pulls, but Dernbach got carried away with the short stuff, in the end it was the batsman who had the last laugh. Dexter went to his hundred with a delicious straight drive, was dropped next ball in the slips by the skipper and then drove the ball after for another four. Simpson was less expansive but his hundred was no less impressive.

Dexter's 100
Through the day Hamilton-Brown rotated his four seamers, all of whom didn't hit the right lengths and Linley was too expensive. Gareth Batty bowled ok but I won't bore everyone again by going into any detail about him not being a frontline spinner.

It is becoming, if it hasn't already become, a theme of the season that we are failing to drive home advantages - something which Adams specifically said we needed to work on.  This was another example of good batting against us, Dexter and Simpson were superb, make no mistake, but we also evidently lacked an enforcer.  Meaker's absence didn't help today, likewise Tremlett's ongoing absence, but without someone stepping into that role we will always struggle to create results over four day matches.

Simpson's 100
Tomorrow Surrey face another tough day.  Simpson is still there and Ollie Rayner is with him, he's in good form with the bat too.  They have a perfect platform to launch an attack and push towards 500-550 and declare.  That will leave Surrey with plenty of overs to face, and the prospect of seeing off Finn, Roland-Jones and Collymore on a pitch that ought to suit will not fill them with glee.

Our batting is strong of course, and we are more than capable of making the game safe, but there will be buckets of pressure on the top order in the face of seam bowling likely to be of the highest order.  Unless the openers bed in you can see things getting away from Surrey, fingers crossed it doesn't.


Tim V said...

Great photos, great weather, shame about the scoreline!

If we can polish them off quickly this morning we can certainly make a game of it, but if not I think we'll struggle with our relatively young new side.

GreenJJ said...

Cheers Tim!

Yeah it was another massive disappointment, really thought this was one for the taking.

368-5 looks bad, but with the cloud cover this morning you never know it could be 400 all out, and while that's still not a winnable position for Surrey, they can go into their first innings with their tails up and saving the game is definitely on. We shall see!