Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Warwickshire pile on the runs at Guildford

The Guildford cricket festival is known for being a good one for batting. Justin Langer once made 342 there, not to mention Kevin Pietersen's scarcely believable double hundred in a day last year.

Warwickshire continued that tradition in racking up 359-3 from their 96 overs today.

Steven Davies was a late withdrawal from the squad after picking up a knee strain so Jason Roy was drafted in. The loss of Davies is always a blow but was doubly so when Batty had already been ruled out the day before. At least it will give Roy a chance to bat where he should, in the middle order. The bowling attack was as expected with Jon Lewis nominated as the man to drop out when Jade Dernbach returned from England duty at Trent Bridge.

Vikram Solanki lost the toss and unsurprisingly Warwickshire chose to bat under sunny skies. Solanki's opening bowlers did a fine job in restricting Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood who in turn did a good job of seeing off the new ball. With 12 overs done and dusted just 24 runs were on the board and with Westwood on just three from 39 deliveries the situation was ripe for capitalising on. However what felt like a four over powerplay ensued as soon as Lewis and Tremlett were withdrawn from the attack.

Zander de Bruyn and Stuart Meaker leaked 41 runs from just 24 balls to allow the Warwickshire openers to establish themselves at the crease. Although the bowling tightened up substantially before lunch, allowing just 32 runs off the final 15 overs in the session, the damage had been done and Warwickshire went to lunch secure on 97 for no loss.

After lunch Chopra and Westwood continued to accumulate, going to their highest opening partnership of the season. With the score on 153 in the 44th over Solanki threw the ball to Keedy for the first time. He duly delivered a wicket with his fifth ball as Westwood chopped on trying to cut. It was to be his only success in the day however.

That dismissal brought William Porterfield, averaging just 18 this year, to the crease. He put on 25 with Chopra before he aimed a big drive at a wide delivery from de Bruyn but he could only send it straight back onto his stumps. The wide delivery going wider seems to be a genuine tactic for de Bruyn who has also snared Chris Rogers and Ben Stokes in the same fashion. Jim Troughton and Chopra saw out the remainder of the session and at tea the visitors were well placed on 207-2. Chopra went to his second hundred of the season just before the break with a single off Chris Tremlett. From 180 balls and with barely a chance, his is an innings we'll need at least one batsman to replicate.

In the first over after lunch Meaker made (partial) amends for his wayward start as the third consecutive Warwickshire batsman got out bowled via the inside edge, Troughton the man to go this time. 208-3 represented a good comeback effort from Surrey but again we failed to capitalise. Tim Ambrose came to the wicket and immediately began to score quickly. Between overs 69 and 74 Warwickshire scored 48 runs as Surrey had another mad 20 minutes. The partnership was established in a flash and two such quality players as Ambrose and Chopra are unlikely to let gifts slip away.

The pair remained at the crease until close and by then their partnership had extended to 151, the second 150+ partnership in a chastening day for the home side. Late in the evening session Jade Dernbach arrived and immediately replaced Lewis, but he could only send down five wicketless overs for 30 runs. I can't help thinking that having travelled all the way from Nottingham it might have been better to save him until tomorrow morning, but his replacing Lewis will at least hopefully cut the no ball count (Lewis continued in last season's vein, over stepping four times).

With the Warwickshire total already approaching 400 and a flat pitch on offer, Surrey forcing a positive result is about as remote a possibility as it has been in most of our games thus far in 2013. Today will be chalked up as another poor first day and we're having a few too many of those. After this game we're careering headlong towards the half way point of the season, and could very well get there without a win to our name.

Day two at Derbyshire saw a significant improvement and so too must we see such an improvement tomorrow at Guildford. If we don't turn things around very quickly we'll be struggling to catch up. Again.

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