Thursday, 13 June 2013

Solid Surrey edge day one

Technically speaking its day two actually, but since the real day one was completely washed out this is now a three day Championship fixture. Today Surrey enjoyed one of their better days in the field this season, probably their best since bowling Middlesex out for 166 in early May. They closed the day one without loss, having to face four testing overs in the evening after bowling Sussex out for 295.

Time will tell of course just how well Surrey bowled today, but having won the toss in the morning it's always positive to be batting yourselves by the end of the day. Jon Lewis and Gary Keedy were the missing names in the XI as Chris Adams gave Zafar Ansari the spin burden to shoulder. With a bowling attack of Chris Tremlett, Jade Dernbach and Tim Linley to face, the Sussex openers won't have fancied batting too much early this morning after a rain shower delayed the start by 15 minutes.

The partnership didn't last long either as Luke Wells padded up to Jade Dernbach and was given leg before. He's averaged just 33 since that big double hundred against Surrey in April but nevertheless given his previous it was good to see the back of him early on. Chris Nash and Mike Yardy set about building the total and had put on 51 when Nash tamely chipped Tim Linley to cover with lunch approaching. It was a soft dismissal but no less deserved for Linley who's bowled far better than his haul of wickets this season indicated.

Surrey continued to chip away at Sussex and no partnership was allowed to get out of hand. Ed Joyce was caught and bowled by Linley before Yardy departed lbw to the bowling of Zander de Bruyn. There was a feeling of foreboding though as that brought to the crease the partnership of Luke Wright and Matt Prior, two fine and in form batsmen. But with the partnership on 29 Ansari took his first Championship wicket of the season as he had Prior caught at leg slip.

Ben Brown was bowled not long after but then came the recovery. Chris Jordan joined Luke Wright in a partnership of 59 to bring Sussex back into the game. When momentum seemed to be slipping away from Surrey again the second new ball gave them a new lease of life. The dangerous Wright was the first to go, caught at slip off Tremlett and Magoffin, Anyon and finally Jordan followed him in quick succession. The new ball had brought four wickets for 37 runs and we had not allowed a tail end to rack up the runs - something we are too often guilty of.

The wickets were shared round the bowlers which is exactly where we've been found wanting this season. Surrey had a tricky four over spell to negotiate in the evening sunshine, but in Harinath and Burns we have an opening partnership who value their wickets highly. The ball beat the bat several times and the Sussex bowlers bowled well from the word go, but no wickets fell.

With only two days remaining we will have to play some positive cricket if we want to get a result. If the openers can weather the new ball and lay a platform for Ponting and the rest of the middle order, we can still force something. Not that Sussex are going to give much away easily though. When the opening bowlers depart there's still Chris Jordan and Monty Panesar to negotiate - runs are not going to be easy to come by.

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