Thursday, 16 August 2012

Surrey fight back hard on day two

After a below par day one Surrey toiled away on day two to gain parity, and perhaps edge slightly ahead of Middlesex on the second day of this Championship game. They ended the day on 86-1, just two runs shy of Middlesex with the pitch sure to present a tough challenge as the game wears on.

The day started well for the home side as Dernbach trapped Robson leg before early on in a rain interrupted morning session. The players didn't get back on until well into the afternoon but Surrey continued to plug away.

The game looked to be getting away from Surrey as their rivals moved 20 runs clear with just three wickets down but then came the fightback. Middlesex's inexperienced middle order crumbled under the pressure piled on them by Surrey's spin twins as they lost six wickets for 24 runs. Another frustrating tenth wicket partnership, the second highest of the innings, gave the opposition plenty to cheer about before Kartik ended the innings to give him his first Championship five-for of the season.

That gave Middlesex an 88 run lead which based on our first innings batting performance could well have been matchwinning. Indeed when Ansari was caught off the bowling of Roland-Jones for a duck with just 13 runs on the board there was an air of the familiar about the situation. However Rory Burns and Arun Harinath had other ideas as they put together a doughty, fighting and most importantly unbroken partnership of 73 runs to drag Surrey right back into contention.

Spinners Balbirnie and Smith were not able to present the kind of threat posed earlier in the day by Kartik and while Roland-Jones was played with extreme caution (six of his nine overs were maidens) he was only allowed a single success.

With nine second innings wickets still intact and the scores almost level, Surrey will be much the happier of the two sides. Chasing anything north of 200 on this pitch will be extremely tough, indeed even 150 might prove a stern task.

Day one was unquestionably a disaster for Surrey, but credit to the team for showing a bit of fight on day two and dragging themselves back level. Tomorrow morning's session is absolutely critical, keeping wickets in hand is a must and with plenty of time still left in the game, sensible accumulation rather than lusty hitting is the order of the day.

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