Friday, 25 May 2012

Warwickshire edge towards victory

Gareth Batty completed an impressive ten wicket haul but was unable to put Warwickshire's second innings to bed on day three. They closed just 41 shy of their 222 run target, with five wickets still intact.

Surrey began the day looking to push their opponent's target North of 250 but were bundled out well shy of that. Rudolph and Maynard, the men in possession overnight, were both unable to dig in as Jeetan Patel wove his magic. The Kiwi spinner completed the second six wicket haul of a spin-dominated match. If that is to be Rudolph's final outing in a Surrey shirt, his spell at the club goes down as a huge disappointment. A single fifty in ten Championship innings is not what you expect from your overseas batsman.

Only Chris Jordan was able to offer much resistance with a timely 40. It may just be enough to prolong Adams' faith in him, though I personally would look elsewhere. Jon Lewis was again more than useful with the bat, adding 31.

Warwickshire's chase began in bumpy fashion as first Dernbach and then a three wicket burst from Batty reduced them to 37-4. But Warwickshire, with their deep batting lineup, weren't done yet. Tim Ambrose and William Porterfield compiled a 111 run partnership to steady the ship.

Batty bowled a great deal of overs and rightly so but I was slightly surprised at how little Stuart Meaker was allowed to bowl at the pair. They only faced three overs from the man most adept at producing a matchwinning burst of bowling. And when he was bowling late in the day the captain didn't afford him even a slip catcher. Hunting for wickets defending a low total, this was most confusing.

Batty continued to twirl away, eventually chiselling Porterfield from the crease to take his tenth wicket in the match. Ambrose was obdurate though and with Rikki Clarke saw his side safely through to close.

It's easy to moan about a lack of cutting edge today but the bowlers have done us proud in this game. We'd be nowhere close to winning had they not clawed us back into the game yesterday. I will praise them to the hilt today but at the same time bang a familiar drum - no balls. We've conceded 18 runs through over-stepping in this match, Warwickshire have given us just four. It's not hyperbole to suggest that could be the difference between the two sides in the morning.

Should we lose tomorrow, and it'll take something extraordinary for us not to, the batsmen must again carry the can. Given first use of a good pitch that is now taking turn, we should have put Warwickshire under far more pressure. All it would have taken was one substantial partnership - Surrey's highest in the match was just 54 while Warwickshire have registered two hundred run partnerships. Turning tracks can be difficult for batsmen to get in on, so forming partnerships is crucial.

All is not lost of course, Meaker, Dernbach and Batty on this track are capable of turning this one back in our favour. We took four wickets at the top of their order for just 37, all we need is five tomorrow morning for less than 40. But with Woakes, Barker, Patel and Wright still to come, none of them mugs with the bat, Warwickshire will be sleeping much the easier of the two sides tonight.


David Jennings said...

In addition to losing 4 for 37 in this innings, Warwickshire lost 5 for 27 in one spell in the first innings, so, arguably, it will take something ordinary for Surrey to win? Not that I'm betting on it ;-)

GreenJJ said... of those wickets where one can spark a collapse...but I think Warks are on pretty solid ground. The one possible saving grace is that Ambrose, who looked completely impenetrable earlier, has to start all over again. You never know!

David Jennings said...

Yes, my money (at 11:05 Saturday) is on Warks. Need to be careful with these results. In 6 games so far, Surrey have been in positions to win them all -- and have won one. You could also argue that they've been in positions to lose 5, and only lost one, probably two by lunch. But we aren't going to stay in this division by drawing all our games.