Friday, 3 May 2013

Rampant Surrey on top at Lord's

The funereal pace of the first 9 and a half days of Surrey's Championship season was all but forgotten in the evening session today as Surrey snatched control of the London derby. The visitors had Middlesex 161-9 at close, still 177 runs behind and Surrey are firmly in control of the tie.

Surrey had begun the day looking to consolidate their advantage. With the score at 267 for 4 and three batsmen still with hands to play they looked to be in a great position. However Steven Davies fell without adding to his overnight score, lbw to Murtagh in the third over of the day. Surrey secured a third batting point with three ball to spare but then the wheels came off. Surrey's nemesis Toby Roland-Jones produced a brute of a bouncer which accounted for Zander de Bruyn and the tail didn't stick around to add to Gary Wilson's valiant 30.

All in all the morning session saw Surrey lose six wickets for the addition of just 71 runs and it looked as though they were ceding the momentum to Middlesex. Paul Stirling, very definitely a part time spinner, recorded figures of 10-2-20-2 this morning, although he hardly had to work for the wicket of Jade Dernbach. Surrey were 338 all out and although we'd batted a lot of overs, the slow rate of scoring meant that Middlesex were still in with a shout.

Jade Dernbach and Chris Tremlett shared the new ball and though there were some testing deliveries Tremlett could have made the batsman play more and Dernbach produced too many loose balls. The Middlesex openers stood their ground.

It took the introduction into the attack of Zander de Bruyn (again before Linley) for Surrey to get among the wickets. He pushed a ball across Chris Rogers whose thick inside edge cannoned into the stumps. In truth it was a poor ball, but a wicket is a wicket. Dernbach returned for a second spell and picked up the wicket of Joe Denly leg before. The ball appeared to be going down leg side and even the bowler's appeal was half hearted, but the umpire was convinced. When Gareth Batty's off spin sent Dawid Malan back for 13 just before tea Surrey were well on top.

Zander de Bruyn opened the bowling after tea, as he did after the luch break on the final day against Somerset, only this time he produced a wicket. Sam Robson edged a very good ball behind to leave Middlesex 92 for 4. Credit to Smith for opening with his fellow South African, I personally thought it was a bonkers decision but he delivered for his captain.

That left Neil Dexter and John Simpson with a recovery job. Linley was causing Dexter no shortage of problems but it was Dernbach who sparked the evening collapse. Inside the final hour he took two wickets in two deliveries, Dexter was caught behind off a rapid delivery before Stirling was trapped lbw without scoring on his debut.

Middlesex were in trouble, six down and requiring another 67 runs to avoid the follow on. Surrey ensured the pain didn't end there though, Simpson became Batty's second victim before first Tremlett and then Linley got in on the act. At the close the home side were left struggling nine wickets down and still needing to find 27 runs to avoid the follow on. In Tim Murtagh they have a man at the crease more than capable of scoring those runs. Unfortunately for Middlesex he'll be joined tomorrow morning by Corey Collymore.

I said yesterday that the pitch may become tougher to bat on but in truth it was probably more a good bowling effort by Surrey than a serious deterioration in the surface. At the half way point in the match I would expect the follow-on to be enforced if Murtagh is sent back early. Although any further deterioration in the pitch may temper the enthusiasm to send Middlesex back to the crease so soon.

Yesterday was a good day but today was a really good day. In the past we've been guilty of letting the opportunities pass us by in situations like this, Smith needs to ensure the opposition are not let off the hook. The chance to put one over on our local rivals is too good to pass up.


Jean said...

I do so love reading a report like this!
Excellent work from the bowling attack, although I am still befuddled by ZdB being brought on before...yes, you've guessed....Linley :)
Rather strange placing Wilson so far down the batting order yesterday and the Cap'n, well, I'm still waiting for blast off!
I am very excited about tomorrow!
8Clears throat*...C'mon the 'Rey!!!

GreenJJ said...

Hi Jean

Yes you're quite right about Wilson, he should be higher up the order and ZdB should be lower down. His batting is that of a number seven now. I'm intrigued to see what happens tomorrow morning, should be a cracker!

miltonkeynesman said...

Well, well, well. Possibly Smith's plans are beginning to work. Was a little perturbed, if not wholly surprised, by the morning collapse, but Middx only got one bonus point. Your previous commentator referred to the classic problem of a proper batsman at No7 getting left high and dry. Shame for Wilson after the last match.

One assumes the pitch wont improve so would expect that no follow-on would be enforced, if indeed the option is there...would guarantee Sunday play too. Even if we do bat next I would expect Middx to bowl better and restrict us to some extent. With luck we ought to win this, weather looks ok. Need to win too as other teams have got results.

May get to Northants on Sunday. Hope they give Matt Spriegel a game.


GreenJJ said...


Yes increasingly I think that's right about the follow on. The gap between the sides isn't massive, but it will be tough to score and it will be very tricky to judge exactly when we have enough runs, unless the wicket deteriorates massively which I suppose it may do. Weather shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Really hope Spriegel gets a game, the bloke deserves it.

miltonkeynesman said...

BTW Josh I noted an "Anon" blogger on a previous post of yours had foamed at the mouth over Smith and his lack of form.

I'm not a lover of the man's hard nose attitude in general, but his record as opener and skipper is pretty impressive. Unlike other overseas signings (eg Rudolph which didnt work, Ojha that did) Smith is a long-term signing to deliver a change to the culture and performance of the team. It wont be overnight but perhaps this match is a sign it is having some effect. The 2011 team wouldnt have produced the application of Burns/ Harinath.

We need to give him a chance over time - I know you and most of the faithful would agree on that. Like any opener he is always vulnerable to a run of getting out to good balls, but the runs will come. His effect on the team may be less obvious, but it will be happening and for now we need to believe.

Interesting that Ponting has been left out of his IPL team. Now this might be described as a short term signing, but worth a shot just to see a Legend of the game back at The Oval. A Twenty20 side with GS, KP & RP at 1-3 should put bums on seats.

Enjoy Lords if you go.


GreenJJ said...

I completely agree MKM, Smith's record speaks for itself, 100+ tests and god knows how many test match runs....he can make runs in county cricket for goodness sake. No danger of him being past it either. Ponting...well its more of a gamble but I think he'll still deliver for us. And like you say - ought to bring in the crowds!

Paul said...

What a great day in the sun watching Surrey on top! Very pleased for Zander De Bruyn that he picked up two key wickets. All the bowlers did a good job, although I thought some of the shots played by the Middx batsmen were poor. Simpson's shot was awful - I cannot believe they will bat so poorly in the second innings. I thought the odd ball was starting to keep low so Surrey should bat again and hopefully set a target of 375+. It was nice to see a good turnout of Surrey fans too - hopefully we will have something to celebrate on Sunday.

GreenJJ said...

Hi Paul

Yes the Middlesex batsmen certainly did play a part in their own downfall, but like you say if we set them a big enough target we'll have a lot of breathing space. Though we did bowl well I think there's still room for improvement for us as well. This one is ours for the taking!

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