Sunday, 13 May 2012

Dynamic Surrey impress despite draw

A rapid second innings fifty from Kevin Pietersen was well and truly overshadowed by bigger, better contributions from two younger members of Surrey's top order. Alas it was not enough to force victory.

After being dismissed for a dismal 113 in the first innings, Jacques Rudolph's patient 68 the only contribution of note, Surrey were asked to follow on, 172 runs behind.

At 11-2, with Mark Ramprakash dismissed for only the third pair of his career and now a real concern for Adams, Surrey were slipping into oblivion. However first Kevin Pietersen, with a measured assault of 69 from 85 balls and then the captain and Tom Maynard, turned the match on its head.

Hamilton-Brown and Maynard shared a 225 run partnership and all the while scored at more than five runs per over. By the time the skipper departed for a superb 115 Surrey were well into the lead and Worcestershire were on the rack. Maynard continued on to a highest first class score of 143 before he offered a catch off the bowling of David Lucas.

Contributions from Zander de Bruyn and Gareth Batty carried the score well past 400 and the lead to 260. Surrey's entire second innings had been scored at a rate just a tick below five runs an over. It was an exhibition of the attacking talent Chris Adams has at his disposal.

Worcestershire had 52 overs to see out in the day and started reasonably efficiently as Klinger and Mitchell saw them to 29 without loss in the tenth over. It was the introduction of George Edwards into the attack, replacing Tim Linley after a below par four over new ball spell, that began a steady tumble of wickets. In fact three fell in the space of 11 balls for the addition of no runs. Edwards was quick and hostile, and most importantly he was accurate. It's too early to laud him as the next great Surrey seam bowler, but he's made a fine start.

Wickets fell steadily, Edwards collected four wickets in the process, but Surrey weren't collecting their victims quite quick enough. Eventuallly Matthew Pardoe and Richard Jones saw out  45 deliveries towards the end of the day and Surrey's brave effort was in vain.

After losing more or less a full day's play, and with a pitch that didn't seem to be offering a great deal to the bowlers initially at least, to get so close to a result is impressive in its own right. However we're now five games down and we have only one win on the board, although mostly due to overs lost to the weather, and equally we've also only lost one game.

Chris Adams will have a number of issues on his mind. Kevin Pietersen will likely be unavailable for most if not all of the rest of the season, Mark Ramprakash cannot buy a run, and Jacques Rudolph will only be available for a couple more games. Tom Maynard and the captain who between them have scored more runs this season than all of the other top order batsmen combined, cannot carry the side in every innings. At some point the other guys will have to step up. We've collected very few batting bonus points, even with the weather in mind, and that could be crucial come the end of the season.

That aside, the bowling stocks look in rude health. Edwards is now ahead of Matthew Dunn in the pecking order but he himself will have to slot in behind Dernbach, Meaker, Linley and Tremlett when he returns from injury. Add Murali Kartik's left arm spin into that mix and we'll have a bowling lineup to match any in the country.

The cricket continues to come thick and fast and next week sees the visit of Somerset to the Oval. They've also only registered one win so far this season so both sides will be hoping for a break in the weather to get a completed game. One thing's for sure, we have talent abound at Surrey, the difficulty is getting all of it to fire at the right time. Sooner or later it will happen, and against Somerset starting Wednesday would be ideal timing.

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