Well at least we're unbeaten. Some unpredictable weather and a turgid pitch contributed to a largely unsatisfactory day's cricket at the Oval. As expected the game ended in a draw.
We've now had two games at the Oval, neither game has reached the fourth innings and there have been two declarations. We simply cannot hope to get near winning the County Championship preparing pitches like this. Relying on being unbeatable at home and getting wins away is a very strange approach indeed.
The day began with captain Smith and Gary Wilson at the crease. Smith moved on to 67 before he was bowled by Panesar. It will have been a relief for him to get in the runs at the third attempt. His dismissal brought Solanki to the crease and he and Wilson calmed any nerves with a solid partnership. Solanki didn't always look his fluent best but neither did he offer up any chances.
Wilson meanwhile continued on his merry way before he was out shortly after reaching his second 50+ score of the match, patting a simple caught and bowled back to Nash. Before that mistake he looked especially good against the spinners, cutting and sweeping sweetly. He was an emergency solution at number three but boy has he taken his chance. I think Harinath should remain in that spot when he recovers from injury but Wilson has shown he is comfortable in the top order.
Zander de Bruyn played something of a nothing innings. He made his way to 26 without alarm before he was lbw to Luke Wells' part time spin. I struggle to see why we shouldn't take a bit of a gamble and select Tom Jewell ahead of de Bruyn, especially given Gary Wilson's form. Jewell is a promising young player but we'll never know if he's got what it takes until we try. De Bruyn is a fine player who's served us well, but Jewell could be the future.
Part time bowlers have made hay in this game with wickets for Nash, Solanki and Wells. In fact Wells picked up his second wicket not long after his first as Solanki inexplicably pulled a horrible long hop straight to Jordan at deep mid wicket. He won't be satisfied with the manner in which he got out, but 130+ runs in the match is a decent return.
Roy and Davies saw Surrey to tea without further damage. The lead was approaching 100, and with five wickets in hand and only 30 overs left in the day it would've taken a feat of super human stupidity to lose the match from there. In any case the rain intervened and six overs were lost. Roy and Davies returned after the break and forged a 50 partnership at almost 7 an over against the new ball, playing some lovely shots in the process. Shortly thereafter though spin was brought on and hands were shaken on the draw shortly before 5pm
Its hard not to feel cheated by the placid nature of the pitch, but we have faced two strong sides and looked at least their equal for the most part. Middlesex at Lord's is next up, given how that went last year, it ought to be quite a test.