The task of seeing Surrey to victory was at least as tricky as expected and in the end we came up three runs short as Middlesex pulled off an impressive heist.
In reality this is a game we should have won, but Hamilton-Brown may look back on his decision to bowl first as the moment where ultimately the game was lost. Yesterday and today saw the pitch become almost unplayable as 25 wickets went down for next to nothing. Batting last was always going to be a tough ask.
Plenty happened in between the toss and Jade Dernbach's ill-advised shot just after midday though. When we'd reduced the opposition to 129-7 we really should've stepped on the throat but Middlesex resisted expertly. Similarly if only we could've cobbled together another five runs in our first innings we might've had a different ending.
This morning Maynard and Hamilton-Brown would have been tasked with ticking off the remaining 46 runs but neither lasted the course. The captain was more tentative than last night perhaps wary of being seen to be overly aggressive on a very difficult surface. In the end the final six wickets fell for just 36 runs, six more than Middlesex's final six second innings wickets managed, but not enough to get us over the line. It was a high pressure situation with relatively few runs required, but I think some of the decisions to take singles very early in the over cost us dear today.
I think Adams may rue his decision to select two allrounders who contributed 12 runs and three wickets over the four days. If de Bruyn is going to play such a prominent role in games such as these, do we really need five alternatives? Meaker may also have been more adept in finishing off Middlesex's tail on day one but with the conditions as they were Adams could be forgiven for thinking Linley was the better option.
It's incredibly frustrating to lose a game by such a tiny margin and maybe it is unfair to be overly critical. I think the selection was wrong, but a margin of three runs across the match suggests it wasn't disastrously so. An incredibly difficult surface and opposition bowlers who did very little wrong make for very competitive cricket, but that's what division one is all about.
A defeat is a blow but the cricket comes thick and fast now. The players will dust themselves off and come back next week expecting to put this loss out of their minds.
The Steve Smith infographic
1 day ago