Saturday, 14 April 2012

Game in the balance into the final day

After a day's cricket that can only be described, for the most part in any case, as painful to listen to Surrey have their noses just ahead on 95-4, needing 46 runs to win.

In all 19 wickets fell on day three as the wicket became increasingly difficult to predict with the ball seaming extravagantly. Surrey's final five first innings wickets fell in quick time and in the end it was a collapse of ten wickets for 137 runs. Of the final six batsmen only Jon Lewis made it into double figures.

As if to emphasise the deterioration of the pitch Middlesex bettered that collapse losing all ten wickets for just 106 runs in less than 36 overs. Zander de Bruyn, again handed the new ball, this time repaid his captain's faith with two wickets in the first six overs. Hats off to Hamilton-Brown for sticking with the plan.

Malan and Robson then steadied the ship somewhat with a partnership of 36 before the carnage began. Jon Lewis in particular ran riot with 5-41 as the final eight Middlesex wickets tumbled for 41 runs. Dernbach chipped in with the important wickets of Robson and Malan while the other three bowlers were barely needed.

That gave Middlesex a lead of 140, not substantial under normal circumstances but since Rudolph and Davies' partnership twenty wickets had fallen for just 243 runs. These were far from normal circumstances.

Surrey's chase was only five overs old before the first wicket went down, that of Rudolph for six, swiftly followed an over later by Davies for eight. Ramprakash endured another tough stay at the crease but was gone six overs later leaving Surrey tottering at 22-3. 141 looked an awfully long way off.

That left de Bruyn and the skipper knowing they had plenty of work to do and they responded with a positive partnership of 46, driven mostly by Hamilton-Brown. Collymore then accounted for de Bruyn and the game was firmly back in the balance, 68-4 with 73 still needed.

Tom Maynard and Hamilton-Brown, the rescuers against Sussex, were again positive and an unbeaten partnership of 27 saw Surrey through to close. The captain went to an impressive 50 in the process. The only other scores of 50+ in the game have been scored at a rate of no more than 43 runs per hundred balls, Hamilton-Brown's was scored at a rate of over 90 runs per hundred balls.

So with only 46 runs required it would be tempting to say it will be simple enough for Surrey, but 19 wickets in a day says otherwise. Hamilton-Brown and Maynard will need to start all over again in the morning, and the pitch is unlikely to be any friendlier. The pair will look to attack and in Jordan, Batty and Lewis we have three batsmen to come who aren't likely to block out many overs. It could go one of two ways, but either way it probably won't take long. Here's hoping we make it two wins out of two.


Joseph Williams said...

I was at the game but now back in Lambeth and finally warmed up after what turned out to be a thoroughly cold last hour. An interesting day though with lots of wickets and some decent bowling from both sides, although I suspect Middlesex will again feel frustrated. RHB again deserves plaudits for taking control with the bat and for directing the bowling, as you rightly said.

Did the radio say anything about Malan's Ramprakash catch (Rampracatch maybe?) Our man didn't walk, much to the derision of the Middlesex fans sat around me in the Compton Stand. The umpires conferred, and the wicket was given, but from where I was sitting there looked like there was a bounce. Any thoughts?

GreenJJ said...

Hi Joseph

I'm afraid I didn't, a combination of a briefly dead battery and an interruption on 5 Live thanks to some football for 90-odd minutes meant a significant chunk was missed, sorry! In any case, he's got every right to stand his ground if you ask me, though if it had been the opposition I might've thought differently.

I think RHB was excellent today, really took charge when we could've faltered. He's at his best when he's like that, belligerent little so and so I think, but bloody talented! Hope he can see us home tomorrow, could be the making of him!

miltonkeynesman said...

Blimey - one of those days to make your ears bleed listening to it. I reckon we are firm favourites from here - but still vulnerable! Some comeback actually.

I nearly blogged yesterday to say I would rather we had been a bit more assertive rather than stutter as we seemed to do on Day 2. There may be a case for pushing either RHB or Maynard up the order to provide more positive intent, Ramps and ZdB got bogged down (easy to say that, I am sure batting wasnt easy). Anyway a cracking game and some excellent bowling and I presume fielding too.

With a fair wind we should sneak home tomorrow. Whatever, well played to the skipper.


GreenJJ said...

It's one of those pitches I think, if you go hard enough at the ball you'll get away with a bit, and Ramps and ZdB aren't that sort of player in four day cricket really. They're also a bit tardy between the wickets which doesn't help. They do have a combined age well into the 70s in their defence! I've always thought splitting Ramps and ZdB in the order was the best thing, I think Maynard should be at number four personally. A lot will be speculated about Ramps' decline after this match, but this is a bit of a shocker of a pitch, I'm going to reserve judgement - Chris Rogers has scored naff all on this pitch and everyone eulogises about him!

miltonkeynesman said...

Well every now & then it goes wrong big time and it just did. A bit of a blow there. If we had played a few more overs last night.....

miltonkeynesman said...

Three comments

Two wins out of two and we might have got a bit too excited !
I've always rated Tim Murtagh.
No balls. Even on an away ground they are not clever.

Onwards and upwards as one of your tweeters has said.


GreenJJ said...

Absolutely bloody right about no balls, they are infuriating me. Murtagh is an under-rated cricketer for sure.