Had James Taylor got anything on the final ball of the day from Jade Dernbach which beat his outside edge, Surrey would've been in a mighty fine position, but as long as Taylor is still at the crease Leicestershire will have Surrey's total of 294 in their sights, they were 56-2 at stumps.
On a pitch that was, according to Lawrence Booth of the Mail 'surprisingly green' Hamilton-Brown lost his first championship toss of the season and was sent in to bat by his opposite number, Matthew Hoggard. From then on, Jason Roy aside who departed early for 5, it was a story of Surrey batsmen getting in, and then getting out. That though is a notch up on last week, when they were skipping the first bit and making a beeline for 'getting out'.
The wickets were evenly shared around the Leicestershire bowlers, the evergreen Claude Henderson the pick in returning 3-41. Mark Ramprakash on return made a rapid 37, Hamilton-Brown a rapid 41 and de Bruyn a slightly more sedate 40. It was Tom Maynard who rescued the innings for the second time in as many weeks though with 70 at almost a run a ball. He was left to bat largely with the tail so he had to make most of the running, and he did received fine support from Yasir Arafat who finally bagged some runs.
Leicestershire then had 20 evening-session overs to face before close and though Boyce and Cobb were sent back early, a wicket a piece for Trem and Arafat, Jefferson should have joined them but he was dropped at slip by Tom Maynard who usually has a pretty reliable pair of hands.
This is a crucial game for Adams and Hamilton-Brown, not because they face the sack if they lose (they wouldn't) but because morale must have been pretty low after the Lord's game. I am heartened to hear of a tinge of green to the pitch, which with a five man bowling attack plays to our strengths, but that doesn't mean we won't still have to bowl well. Tomorrow morning is forecast to be more humid and cloudy, Tremlett, Dernbach and Co. will want Taylor back in the dressing room pronto, and if he is, Surrey will hopefully move in for the kill. What we absolutely cannot allow is Leicestershire to build a big partnership, a la Dexter and Simpson. Jefferson and Taylor are two of Leicestershire's in form batsman and you'd think they hold the key. As Boycott always says, add two wickets to their score and its looking pretty dicey for them, but add 200 runs to it and it looks pretty dicey for us.
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