The task was simple enough, bat out the day and the game is saved. It proved too much for Surrey though as a determined Sussex bowling effort saw them to victory by 10 wickets despite a fine rearguard effort from Rory Hamilton-Brown.
Hamilton-Brown, who came to the crease with the score on 145-4, was left with too much to do thanks to the failures of his top order colleagues. He stood firm with another lengthy innings. In 32 matches before this season he'd only ever see out 100 or more balls four times, in 2012 he's done it four times in just eight matches including this innings of 47 from 167 balls. He was eventually last man out leaving Sussex needing just 22 runs from six overs. The captain was however also involved in one run out, and one near run out, which is criminal when you're clinging on for dear life.
Mark Ramprakash, with 37 from 102 balls was more like his old self towards the end of his innings today, his first nine runs came from 70 balls but the next 28 came from just 31. Hopefully it is a sign of things to come. But he, Davies and de Bruyn were all dismissed when well set, although de Bruyn was dropped twice on his way to 21, his poor form could cost us dear.
The victory was no less than Sussex deserved, and to their credit they bowled well for the most part and in the match situation they held all of the cards. Yardy was able to rotate his main seamers around while Panesar, with relentless accuracy, completely tied up one end - he bowled 21 maidens in 32 overs. Ed Joyce and Chris Nash saw them to victory in just 11 balls.
Make no mistake, this game was lost in the embarrassing 40 over innings of 124 all out on day one. Yes the bowling could maybe have been better against the Sussex tail, but really all that did was serve as notice of how poorly Surrey's batsmen had played. Save for six mad overs on the second day, we were outplayed in every single department and in every single session.
Half way through the Championship season and we've registered just a single victory. Yes we've been close to winning one or two others, but more often than not we've been fighting to save games early on. The batsmen simply must buck up their ideas, as it stands only Hamilton-Brown looks willing and able to play an innings of substance. One batsman does not make a batting order. It's looking a lot like a battle to survive over the next eight games, and it feels like an awfully long time since anyone was tipping us to win the County Championship.
Azhar Ali - One of the World's Best
6 days ago