The big news of the day was Graham Napier's abject failure. Humiliatingly he failed to get a double hundred, having to make do with a paltry 196, from 130 balls. He only barely equalled the world record for most sixes in a First Class innings with 16, and added 19 fours for good measure. He only actually had to run for 24 of his total, 172 runs coming in boundaries.
Sometimes you're on the receiving end of a freak innings. Alright, we dropped him at least twice and we can't have bowled all that well to him, but sometimes you just have to marvel. Poor old Tim Linley who at one stage yesterday had bowled 7 overs for 7 runs, went for 22 in one over today, one of Gareth Batty's overs was even more upsetting, it went for 28. One wonders why Napier was never given a proper run in the England Twenty20 setup, he's a very useful bowler as well.
In Surrey's reply to the mammoth Essex total of 548 our third new opening partnership in five games, Maynard and Hamilton-Brown compiled a century partnership, succeeding where no other Surrey openers have since August 2009 when Jon Batty and Michael Brown put on 171 against Kent. We lost that game by six wickets, not an omen I hope. Ramps fell for a rare duck, KP and the captain put on a brisk 100 run partnership, before Meaker came and went, leaving de Bruyn with Hamilton-Brown at close.
All in all today 507 runs were scored for the loss of 8 wickets, the pitch seems particularly friendly for the batsman, but we're still realistically the only team who can lose this game. At 277-4 we are still 271 runs behind and with only one pure batsman still to come in the shape of Steven Davies. That said, Hamilton-Brown played a crucial knock today, 148 and what's more he was not out at the close of play. If he and de Bruyn can survive the first hour and then the second new ball, the draw should be safe. If one of them falls however, there's not much meat left on the bone and panic might just set in, stand firm lads!
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