Thursday, 17 May 2012

Maynard fights but Somerset well ahead

Surrey face a real fight to avoid their second consecutive follow on as they closed day two on 286-6, comfortably their best first innings total of the season but still 226 runs shy of Somerset.

They began the day strongly, picking up four Somerset wickets in the first hour to leave their opponents 474-9, still in a very strong position but home side were in the ascendancy. Then the 10th wicket partnership came back to haunt Surrey just as tail end runs have done so often recently.

Disappointingly, after a good start, the bowlers opted for a bit of short pitched bowling against the final pair which didn't do the trick. Interestingly Hamilton-Brown didn't give a single over to Edwards or Jordan this morning, opting instead for de Bruyn and Batty once the opening bowlers had bowled their spells. Twins Jamie and Craig Overton put on 38 unbeaten runs to give Surrey's batsmen hope that the runs were still there for the taking. Their spell of accomplished batting allowed Somerset to declare on 512-9 and give Surrey and awkward 20 minutes to bat out before lunch.

The openers were only together for two overs as Craig Overton clean bowled Jacques Rudolph for one, his third score of less than ten in seven innings. That big hundred will have to wait till second time round. Jason Roy came to the crease and the impact was immediate, 20 runs came off the two overs before lunch.

Roy was unable to hang around too much longer after the break though as Philander accounted for him for 28 off 23 balls. Another innings of promise, Roy will feel that on this pitch he's really missed out on a big score. He must rein himself in and stick around more, as his skipper and Maynard have done so well this season.

Steven Davies didn't miss out though as he recorded his first hundred of 2012 and forged a 122 run partnership with de Bruyn who chipped in with 52. It will be a relief to both of them to be back in the runs. The dismissal of de Bruyn marked the beginning of a clatter of three wickets for five runs in four overs after tea as Surrey subsided from 188-2 to 193-5. Hamilton-Brown was among the wickets to go, only 61 of his 399 runs have been scored in first innings knocks this season as second time round has proved his happiest hunting ground.

Chris Jordan and Tom Maynard saw out the next ten overs but Jordan was then caught off the bowling of Trego for just 8. Jordan has only passed ten in two of seven innings this year, he must do more to justify the faith that Adams has placed in him. In Surrey's defence, it was a good spell of bowling from Philander and Dockrell was keeping it very tight at the opposite end. But still, there are clearly no devils in the pitch.

Maynard stood firm though, as he has done so often in 2012. His 63 not out was his fourth score of fifty or more this season and took him to 400 Championship runs, one clear of his skipper at the top of the chart. A typically gritty Gareth Batty knock of 18 off 60 balls supported him a partnership of 59 runs in 20 overs to give hope for tomorrow.

There's still a massive job to do to save this game though, whittling down the 77 runs required to avoid the follow on for starters, and then they can think about the further batting bonus points on offer. It doesn't look like the weather will help them in taking time out of the game tomorrow so it'll be a hard graft for the men at the crease. Lewis and Meaker will have to knuckle down as well. What they cannot allow is wickets tumbling tomorrow morning. If Somerset are able to bowl again early tomorrow they will have their tails up which could spell disaster.


David Jennings said...

It's a funny one this. I was thinking that if we fail to save the follow on, we could be in serious trouble this time (unlike last week, when it was a stroke of tactical genius).

Then I thought: could Somerset afford to enforce the follow on if we keep them out in the field even another hour. Philander we know was carrying a niggle (and South Africa will probably sue Somerset if they break him). The Overtons, I guess, may never have spent so long in the field before. So they could quite quickly find themselves relying on Trego and Meschede to carry the seam attack. That could mean that Surrey can score quick, relatively safe runs, and leave Somerset needing upwards of 300 in two sessions on a track that's starting to take some turn.

Will be intriguing to see where things stand at lunch.

Sadly, if the weather takes even 90 minutes out of the game -- as forecast -- the delicate balance of the game tips heavily towards a draw,

GreenJJ said...

That's an interesting thought, you're right about Philander, in fact I'm amazed he's bowled as much as he has already. I just worry that if we're rolled over for only 30-40 more tomorrow Somerset will get amongst us quickly. But maybe that's what the old Surrey would've done, not this lot.

Depends who you believe on the forecast, BBC is only predicting a few spots tomorrow, but you can never tell!