Thursday, 6 June 2013

Surrey on the racks as champions pass 600

Day two at Guildford was another long one for Surrey. For the vast majority of it they could only watch on as Warwickshire's total climbed ever higher. The visitors declared mid way through the evening session with the score on 631-9. A daunting total by any measure.

Again it was a case of a day starting vastly improved over the previous day's play and then stalling somewhat. In the opening salvos Warwickshire lost 3-39 thanks to a fine spell from Jade Dernbach who picked up all three. It adds weight to the suggestion that he perhaps should've been kept on the sidelines last night to be unleashed for the first time this morning. The door had been forced open just a crack and with Warwickshire 398-6 there would have been high hopes of restricting them to not much more than 450.

However once again Surrey let the opposition off the hook (although its debatable, with nigh on 400 on the board already as to whether they were ever on the hook). Ateeq Javid and Keith Barker compiled a record seventh wicket partnership for Warwickshire against Surrey. They took their side to 446-6 at lunch and batted serenely through the afternoon session as well, adding over 140 runs between lunch and tea. In setting the record both batsmen went to career best scores. Barker hit his third first class hundred from just 128 balls with his second fifty coming from 41 deliveries. Javid was much more restrained as he made his way to 85.

With the Surrey bowlers having toiled through 160 overs to collect the six Warwickshire wickets Solanki threw the ball to Jason Roy. His bowling is far from refined but he did nonetheless pick up three wickets and career best figures before the visitors called time on their innings.

With the sun still shining brightly Surrey's openers came out to bat under the enormous weight of 631 runs on the scoreboard. Pleasingly Arun Harinath and Rory Burns responded perfectly to the pressure as the pair saw out the remaining 21 overs in the day to be 49-0 at the close.

They will know though that there is still much more to do. In fact we're barely 10% of the way to the follow on target, never mind first innings parity. Of course all hope of a win has long since disappeared and this match is now all about survival. Over the course of the third day the pitch may begin to wear so Jeetan Patel, who bowled four overs for three runs tonight, can expect to do a lot of bowling tomorrow.

Today was an improvement on yesterday, but frankly that's not saying much. We have now conceded first innings totals of 452 and 631 in consecutive games, both to sides in the bottom half of the table. Yes we've played on two flat pitches, but the bowling clearly isn't firing and days spent in the dirt won't do morale any good at all. Tomorrow will be another grind and hopefully the openers can give the middle order the platform we need to survive. If we lose wickets early it'll spell big trouble.

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