With two days remaining Surrey are looking to press for victory with a 318 run lead and two second innings wickets still intact. It might not be the simplest of victories however.
Today was dominated by a sparkling innings from captain Rory Hamilton-Brown. His 89, from just 103 balls was nearly double the next best score in the innings and was peppered with authoritative drives and powerful pulls. His placement was particularly impressive as he regularly pierced fielders spaced just yards apart. His downfall was brought by what seemed to be a desire to race to the hundred mark, but his knock and the 136 run partnership with Maynard rescued Surrey from a precarious 55-4.
Surrey were efficient in whittling away the Sussex lower order this morning, dispatching Brown, Naved and Amjad rapidly before the final two batsmen helped Joe Gatting put on 74 runs. Chris Jordan bowled a particularly impressive spell and was the pick of the bowlers returning 3-29.
Jordan and Rudolph began watchfully and both had done the hard work before throwing their wickets away to none-too clever strokes. Ramprakash looked anxious throughout his innings of nine, frankly he looked a man well short of runs and his dismissal, run out when there clearly was no run on, was indicative of that. De Bruyn didn't hang around for long before offering up catching practice to the slips.
That brought Maynard and Hamilton-Brown together and the pair were superb, encapsulating everything about this new Surrey side, stamping their authority on the innings. They both departed in relatively quick succession, Burns and Batty followed soon after but not before the former had played some attractive strokes. Lewis and Meaker saw Surrey through to the close playing sensibly, putting away the bad ball and fortunately missing the good ones.
The lead is currently substantial and the two at the crease tomorrow morning can still add to that. However many of the dismissals today were down to poor strokes rather than brilliant bowling so the conditions and pitch may not be making batting too tricky. Sussex's top order is more than capable of chasing a big total and in Goodwin they have a man well versed in playing a long anchor innings. What Sussex did well in patches today was bowl accurately, frustrating the batsmen out. Surrey will have to follow suit when their opposition do get a second bat.
We are still firm favourites to come out on top but it won't be a walk in the park. Today was a good exhibition of attacking but controlled cricket from Surrey, more of the same tomorrow please!
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