This week's been a bit of a damp squib. Our big name international captain is out for the season, and tonight's YB40 game, despite being briefly lit up by a century from Jason Roy was ultimately a washout. However, its not all bad news as Stuart Meaker will make his return from injury against Durham at the Oval tomorrow.
Chris Adams has named a 13 man squad:
Zander de Bruyn
12th men: Chris Tremlett, Gary Keedy
The unenviable task of filling Graeme Smith's shoes will fall to Arun Harinath. He will move back to the openers slot that he occupied through most of 2010. He didn't set the world alight but he averaged as many as almost anyone else did in the slot before Rory Burns came on the scene. Gary Wilson, having scored 130 and 60 against Sussex, seems favourite to win a promotion to number three.
Thereafter I hope Adams has a rethink. Davies and Roy should occupy the slots at five and six, and Zander de Bruyn should do the decent thing and drop down the order. Both Roy and Davies are in far better touch and having a man of de Bruyn's experience to marshall the tail is no bad thing.
In the two games at the Oval Adams has tried two different approaches with the bowlers. Against Somerset we fielded two spinners to little effect. Against Sussex we went for three seamers...again to little effect. In both instances it was due to a lifeless surface rather than poor bowling, so I'm not sure which approach Adams will adopt in this game. He did say at the end of the Sussex game that he felt a second spinner would've moved the game along so he may go back to that route.
I would rather see three seamers again though. Purely on form those three have to be Dernbach, Meaker and Linley. Tremlett was poor at Lord's and at various points the other three have been excellent.
Durham have surprised more or less everyone in picking up wins against Somerset and Nottinghamshire, leaving them second in the table despite starting the season with a 2.5 point deduction for breaching the salary cap. All four of their games have seen a result one way or another so they clearly look to play positive cricket. We are fortunate that in overlooking Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker, the England Lions opted for the dangerous Graham Onions.
This game will be a big test for Surrey. There is undoubted talent in the ranks, but will the discipline instilled by Graeme Smith begin to ebb away now that he's gone? Without a win in the first three Championship games, we can't afford that to happen.
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