Anyone feel like we've been here before? Surrey lost four wickets for seven runs at the end of day three to give Warwickshire a sniff of victory, despite rain washing out a significant chunk of today's play.
Play didn't begin until past 2pm and when play did get underway Surrey made good progress. Rory Burns fell victim to a very good Keith Barker delivery which he could only glove to Rikki Clarke at slip. The opening partnership of 69 was though comfortably our highest of the season.
Vikram Solanki and Arun Harinath then put together a fine century partnership. Harinath struggled early on but settled down soon enough. Solanki was less circumspect as he raced to 50 off 53 balls dealing almost exclusively in boundaries. The pair were separated with the partnership on exactly 100 as Solanki was adjudged leg before to Ateeq Javid's off spin. Harinath has now been involved in half of all of Surrey’s partnership of 100 or more this year. He might not be box office but he's as stubborn as a mule. He's faced more balls in the Championship, and made more scores of 50+ than any other Surrey player in 2013, despite only playing six of seven matches.
Harinath and Ponting took Surrey to their first bonus point in the 57th over and factoring the lost overs this match seemed to be ambling towards a draw, like so many before it. However as the Ponting-Harinath partnership passed 60 the latter was out to the bowling of Clarke to leave Surrey 232-3. Zander de Bruyn played another of those innings he's played pretty often this year as he went to 17 before he became the first of three Boyd Rankin victims inside an over. 262-4. Nightwatchman Stuart Meaker was then bowled second ball for a duck. 262-5. Gary Wilson got off the mark with a two before he was out lbw to the final ball of the 75th over. 264-6.
Jason Roy played out 17 balls for two runs before playing a particularly injudicious stroke off what turned out to be the final delivery of the day from Barker. 269-7. What must Ricky Ponting, who could only watch as his team mates self combusted in the space of a few overs and seven runs, have been thinking? I hope he could still muster the spirit to give the team an inspirational rocket up the backside.
With only Tremlett, Dernbach and Keedy left to bat with Ponting in the first innings Surrey are going to be following on at some point tomorrow. Probably well before lunch. Batting out most of a day on a flat pitch shouldn't be beyond them but on the basis of this evening's collapse who knows what could happen. It's starting to feel like we've forgotten how to win.
Azhar Ali - One of the World's Best
6 days ago