Thursday, 28 July 2011

Number 114 puts Surrey in the driving seat

Surrey will go into day three with a handy lead of 106 and thoughts of a vital win not far from their minds. The pure class of Mark Ramprakash is largely responsible for that position - in scoring his 114th first class hundred he drew level with Sir Viv Richards and is now just three behind Sir Don Bradman in the list of century makers. Not bad company to be keeping.

A string of nearly scores - only one above 30 in his last eight visits to the crease, had me wondering if he'd come back from his injury a touch early and that might have compromised his season, how wrong I was. Today he was the lynchpin of the Surrey innings along with Zander de Bruyn (who passed 1,000 first class runs this season during his innings). While the two veterans, with a combined age of 78, made over half of Surrey's innings, none of the youngsters passed 33.

That said, I think Jason Roy's knock of 33 off 24 balls, while ending in frustrating fashion (clean bowled after taking 11 runs off the spinner), was important in injecting a bit of impetus into the innings. He will develop his game and before long those rapid 30s will become slightly-less-rapid 70s and 100s - he's become such a key part of our side it's easy to forget he only just turned 21.

Another innings of note was Yasir Arafat's unbeaten 54 off just 77 balls, he came to the crease with Ramprakash running out of partners approaching his hundred, by the time the partnership was broken Ramps had moved well past 100 and the lead was past 100 as well. We did to Gloucestershire exactly what other teams have done to us so many times this season.

Arafat and Linley will look to accumulate as many as possible tomorrow morning and whether we like it or not Dernbach will come out throwing the bat at everything - and why not? The lead is already substantial and anything close to 150 will be very difficult for Gloucestershire to come back from.

A few quick runs ought to give the bowlers plenty of momentum as well - this game is there for the taking and it could really spur a run of form going in to the back end of the season. Captain and coach must make sure there is no complacency, Gloucstershire aren't out of the game, yet, but we are firmly in the driving seat.

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