Gareth Batty was Warwickshire's principal destroyer today as he bowled what must be close to his best spell for Surrey. Bowling more or less unchanged through the innings today, he bowled with good changes of pace and by and large his wickets were won by intelligent bowling. He ended with figures of 6-73, his best figures for the club. It was only through a 34 run tenth wicket partnership between Wright and Woakes that Warwickshire were able to scramble a lead.
The pitch was still playing well but was taking some turn. Surrey might have been concerned at the presence of Jeetan Patel in the opposition but it didn't seem to concern Jason Roy who as ever began in belligerent fashion. This was to be no brutal 20 and out though, he formed the basis of Surrey's second innings with 71 from 86 deliveries. He'll be disappointed to have not gone on to three figures, and shepherd his side to a matchwinning lead though. Davies completed a frustrating match, caught down the leg side after being run out in the first innings.
De Bruyn, Roy and Hamilton-Brown all fell as only 20 runs were added, Surrey fell from 88-1 to 108-4, sparking fears of an all out collapse with the lead still not past the 100 run mark. However, Tom Maynard and Jacques Rudolph saw out the remaining 13 overs of the day and stretched the lead bit by bit. It was not without the odd scare mind you, with 20 balls remaining in the day Tom Maynard aimed an almighty yahoo at Chris Wright, and he attempted two sweeps from Patel's final over, succeeding with only one of them.
For all the brainless-ness of yesterday, today showed some of Surrey's heart and fight, unsurprisingly on that note led by the indefatigable Batty. The game is a long way from safe, and with Warwickshire's deep batting Surrey will want a target well north of 250 on the board, the process of accumulating that will allow more time for the pitch to deteriorate.
Rudolph has the best possible opportunity to go out on a high and he looked determined this evening. Some runs from Chris Jordan, next man in, would be timely to say the least. You can say many things about this Surrey side, but it's hard to deny that they're entertaining and a victory against a very strong Warwickshire is now very much within their sights. The men at the crease can take their time getting back in tomorrow morning before pushing the innings on. The opposition do bat a long way down, but a pitch baked by two days under the sun, Batty's guile and Meaker's reverse swing, the pressure of a fourth innings run chase should give us the edge.