In a match where fewer than 200 overs were possible over four days of play, it is hardly a surprise that the result was a draw. What was a surprise is how relatively close we came to a result.
Heavy rain interrupted at about twenty to four with Worcestershire looking comfortable on 94-1, the wicket falling to a much-improved Chris Jordan just seconds before the break. In his 2 overs today he was far more accurate and dangerous than in the four he bowled yesterday.
The day began with the captain and Batty looking to extend the lead beyond the 152 it was overnight but only 11 runs were added before Batty fell to a well directed short ball from Lucas. Hamilton-Brown continued to tick over and added a further 20 with Meaker before the skipper perished trying to launch Richardson over long on for a superb 76. The captain has borne a heavy burden so far this season, scoring precisely 25% of his side's runs.
That left Surrey eight wickets down with a lead of 185. Meaker and Lewis played excellently, picking off the bad balls in a 35 run partnership. Once Meaker fell Jade Dernbach came in and launched 22 runs from just 15 balls including a superb straight six off Richardson, lifting Worcestershire's target to a tricky looking 246. The last four wickets added 82 vital runs.
Perhaps Dernbach's cameo should've been the signal to Hamilton-Brown that the pitch had settled down overnight. There was certainly little sign of the variable bounce of yesterday apart from in the very early overs today. Surrey's new ball bowlers, Lewis and Dernbach himself, got no assistance from the pitch despite some accurate bowling.
That remained the case no matter who Hamilton-Brown turned to as Mitchell and Klinger, perhaps mindful of the forecast rain, were content to tick along at three runs an over or less. Klinger was the aggressor with a couple of lucky edges initially but as he settled he began to play very well. Mitchell bedded in and by the time he became the first wicket to fall he'd seen off 91 balls for his 20 runs.
Despite an excellent bowling performance (albeit on a helpful surface) Adams has plenty to think about ahead of the next game. Three games into the season he only has two top order batsmen who have more than a hundred runs to their name in total. Mark Ramprakash simply must find some form but de Bruyn too is under pressure, he has just 41 runs from his last four innings. Burns, Harinath and Spriegel will be on standby.
The cricket keeps on coming, there are just a few days before the next game against Durham begins though this outing hardly counts as taxing with so many rain breaks. A win, a loss and a draw does not represent the ideal start to the season, but neither is it a disaster. Adams and Co. will want to push on and push top opposition hard later this week.
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