Thursday, 29 March 2012

Somerset steamroller Surrey

A target of 410 inside little more than a day's cricket was always going to be the longest of long shots, and Surrey were duly overwhelmed comfortably by Somerset earlier today.

There is now just a single pre-season game remaining for the batsmen to get some runs under their belt. Though Tom Maynard scored a much-needed 49 today, he, Jason Roy and especially Hamilton-Brown haven't had enough time at the crease to feel truly comfortable. It makes the decision to "rest" the skipper for Monday's game all the more confusing, especially when you take into account his lack of runs for his various teams this winter.

Somerset's bowling attack was far from weak today, that should not be overlooked. Steve Kirby, Gemaal Hussain and George Dockrell are all impressive bowlers. However, this is the quality of bowling we will face day in, day out this season and all the red ball cricket played so far this season points to a lack of confidence in the batting.

On the plus side there is still plenty of steel to come into this batting lineup. Jacques Rudolph, Mark Ramprakash, Zander de Bruyn, even Gareth Batty, will all add a bit of grit. Gary Wilson, in some form for Ireland in recent weeks, will also slot in and before long Steve Davies will return.

Adams took the curious approach of trialing Chris Jordan as an opener with Arun Harinath. Two failures later, that experiment has probably been shelved. Unless Arun Harinath is selected for the Sussex game Jason Roy is surely favourite to return as Championship opener, unless Gary Wilson is given another chance.

As for the bowling, there is certainly more to smile about. On the first day Linley, Lewis and Dernbach shared the wickets around and yesterday, despite Somerset racking up a huge total, Freddie van den Bergh collected a clutch of wickets. I still don't know what Adams will plump for in terms of his bowling lineup for Sussex, but I suspect Lewis has only strengthened his hand and the selection for the Leeds/Bradford game will reveal much.

Despite the season not even having started, there will be a touch of pressure on the batsmen over the weekend to deliver some big runs. If nothing else, going into Division One cricket very light on runs will be difficult psychologically. They can bat for hours on end in the nets, but nothing can substitute for time out in the middle.

Adams has some thinking to do now. He will want to name a side for the University game as close as possible to that which will start against Sussex. Perhaps a heavy defeat to Somerset will be the wake up call that the players needed to stir them from their winter slumber. It is too early to read too much into the form of one particular player, but they must look at the coming three day contest as an opportunity to get their heads in order.

No comments: