Surrey closed day three still 247 runs behind with ten second innings wickets in hand, and face having to bat through day four to save the game.
Surrey's first innings had begun so positively, although Ansari was lost to a fine Woakes delivery Burns and Harinath put on a superb fighting recovery with an 83 run second wicket partnership. Harinath though could not last a single over on day three as he was caught behind off Keith Barker. That was part of a collapse of six wickets for 58 runs. Burns was the fifth of those to fall for an excellent 77 but de Bruyn, Roy, Davies and Jordan added just 30 runs between them. Chris Jordan scored five fewer runs than he gave away in first innings no balls. To say he owes the team some runs is understating matters.
A battling performance from Batty, Meaker and Lewis dragged the Surrey total in to respectability but the follow on target of 421 was always going to be a massive ask. Warwickshire eventually took the final wicket, that of Murali Kartik, with the total at 286. They gave away just 10 extras, or 3.4%, while we handed Warwickshire over 10% of their total.
Burns and Ansari strode out again late on the third day to face the new ball, and again they showed that there is nothing to be terrified of in the pitch. What will be encouraging them is that Jeetan Patel is yet to take a wicket in 17 overs. But Warwickshire have an awful lot of quality besides him. Batting out three sessions is not beyond us, but it is a mountainous task.
To make matters worse Durham pulled off a cracking come-from-behind victory against Middlesex by just 15 runs to move to within 12 points of us. With the steely Paul Collingwood at the helm, and bags of experience in their lineup, that win may just prove a spark to their season. The game with them at the Riverside is now utterly crucial, a game in which they will presumably be able to call on the services of Graham Onions, while we will be without Stuart Meaker. Worcestershire, just eight points behind us, now have two games in hand. In short, the task of staving off relegation is getting ever harder.