Report: Surrey v Warwickshire, Specsavers County Championship

From MBP Sports Media

Day Three

Warwickshire cruised to a comfortable victory in the Specsavers County Championship as Surrey continued to struggle on their return to the top flight. The visitors won by ten wickets with a day to spare at Guildford inflicting the fifth Championship defeat of the season on Surrey. Having trailed Warwickshire by 176 on first innings Surrey looked to be responding well when 105-1 at tea, but they capitulated to 177 all out.

Only three Surrey batsman reached double figures in the face of disciplined seam bowling and Jeetan Patel’s accurate off-spin. The former Kiwi international took ten wickets in the match, 5-62 in the first innings, 5-61 in the second. Rory Burns (68) and Zafar Ansari (40) had given Surrey a platform but after their partnership was broken only Steven Davies, last out for 44, offered any resistance.

"Aaron Finch, who hit the first ball of his Surrey career for six on Saturday, going on to make 110, had begun more circumspectly this time"

In the morning Keith Barker had been the prime contributor as Warwickshire, 345-6 overnight, extended their lead by 104. Barker made 65 at almost a run-a-ball, ably supported by Patel (31). The pair adding added 76 for the eighth wicket before Mark Footitt, enjoying a return to action after more than two months out with injury, brought the innings to a swift close with three wickets in 11 balls. Footitt finished with 4-57, his best figures since switching from Derbyshire to Surrey during the winter.

Barker, miscuing a hook, had fallen to a decent over-the-shoulder-catch by Arun Harinath. Revenge was swift as he dismissed the Surrey opener for a duck. Burns and Ansari were thereafter content to see off Barker’s testing opening spell, either side of lunch, of 12-1 off nine overs before gradually accelerating to add 97 in the middle session.

However, soon after the resumption Burns, still seeking his first century of the season, tried but failed to withdraw his bat, playing on to Patel. Two overs later Ansari followed, caught at close quarters off Patel for 40. Meanwhile Aaron Finch, who hit the first ball of his Surrey career for six on Saturday, going on to make 110, had begun more circumspectly this time. He was yet to hit a boundary when he edged his 15th ball to Tim Ambrose behind the stumps to depart for seven. Warwickshire’s celebrations underlined the view that his was the key wicket.

This opinion was reinforced as Sam Curren was caught behind driving ambitiously for a duck, then Ben Foakes was leg before playing no stroke for one. That left Surrey 123-6, still 53 behind. Though Tom Curran and Gareth Batty hung around long enough for Davies to steer Surrey past the ignominy of an innings defeat they could only edge one run ahead.

With only an over of scheduled play remaining Ian Bell claimed the extra half-hour, but only five balls were required before Varun Chopra found the boundary to complete a victory that gives further credence to the Bears’ title challenge.

Day Two

Jonathan Trott scored his third century of the season as Warwickshire moved towards a commanding position against Surrey on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship Division One match at Guildford.

Trott made 123 as Warwickshire reached stumps on 345-6, a lead of 72 over Surrey’s first innings 273. Unlike Surrey’s centurion of the first day, Aaron Finch, Trott was given strong support. He formed century partnerships with Ian Bell, who scored 66, and Tim Ambrose, who made 53.

Surrey, without a first-class win on this ground since 2002, worked through seven bowlers in an attempt to dismiss Trott. Sam Curran finally succeeded, trapping him lbw one that kept low, which surprised Trott since the second new ball had just been taken.

Having been 12-0 overnight the visitors had begun briskly reaching 30 without loss within three overs but Mark Footitt and Tom Curran then found their length and began to exert control. The following seven overs produced five runs during which Umeed was dropped by Steve Davis off Footit in the slips. To the culprit’s relief Umeed added only four more before Meaker knocked out his middle stump.

A heavy shower, which forced a 37-minute break, meant an extended middle session dominated by the Bell-Trott partnership. They came together after Chopra, on 42, was well caught down the legside by Ben Foakes as he flicked Footitt off his hip. It was a reward for Footitt who bowled sharply on his return to action after two months out with injury. His reappearance - and the availability of Sam Curran after completing his A levels - are very welcome to a Surrey side finding victories elusive on their return to the top flight.

The difference in standard between the first and second divisions was underlined by the class of Trott and Bell. As the sun emerged the two former England batsmen prospered, putting on 116 for the third wicket in just under 30 overs. Bell looked to be bedding in for a century himself but perished, for 66, to a fine running catch at deep square leg from Sam Curran off Gareth Batty. There was another success for Surrey in the following over when Sam Hain fenced at Meaker and was taken at second slip by Rory Burns for a second-ball duck.

Ambrose provided sterner resistance, scoring steadily while Trott moved serenely on. Having past 50 for the eighth time in 13 first-class and list A matches this season he reached three figures in 172 balls. He then opened up, uppercutting Meaker over backward point for six. The pair had put on 111 when Trott finally fell. With Ambrose going soon after, to an athletic catch at deep fine leg from Zafar Ansari, Surrey were able to harbour hope of keeping the deficit to manageable proportions.

Day One

Aaron Finch marked his Surrey debut by hitting his first ball for six and going on to complete a brilliant 90-ball hundred on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship Division One match against Warwickshire at Guildford.

The powerful 29-year-old Australian slog-swept former New Zealand off spinner Jeetan Patel over mid wicket and out of the compact Woodbridge Road ground, and later drove leg spinner Josh Poysden high over long off for another six as he led Surrey’s progress to 273 all out.

Patel got Finch in the end, smartly held at slip by Rikki Clarke, but by then he had also struck 16 fours and reached 110 from 98 balls. Strangely, one of Finch’s previous four first-class hundreds was another innings of 110 against Warwickshire, for Yorkshire at Edgbaston in 2014.

Finch will play all formats in a five-week stint as overseas player at Surrey while Kumar Sangakkara takes part in the Caribbean Premier League, and he has certainly made a big initial impression in front of an appreciative and good-sized crowd.

One straight driven four off Boyd Rankin was a high-class stroke which belied Finch’s reputation as a limited-overs specialist who is in just his 55th first-class match but has almost six times that number of List A and T20 appearances worldwide.

Finch came in at No 4, when Rory Burns fell for a solid 45 to the second ball after lunch. Pushing out at Patel, left-hander Burns was leg-before after including seven fours in a fine 95-ball effort. Patel finished with figures of 5 for 62 after helping to polish off the Surrey tail.

Keith Barker, the left-arm seamer, had struck an early blow for Warwickshire by having Arun Harinath caught at the wicket by a tumbling Tim Ambrose for 15, leaving Surrey 35 for one after they had won a toss and chosen to bat.

But Burns was then joined by Zafar Ansari in a second wicket stand of 44 before a short rain shower forced the players off at 12.45pm. An early lunch was taken at 12.50pm.

Ansari, 11 not out at lunch, had like Burns not added to his interval score when Barker pinned him leg-before with a fine delivery which pitched on middle and leg and straightened to peg Surrey back at 95 for 3.

There was no play between 2.20pm and 4pm, following a heavy downpour and mopping-up operations which carried on into the tea interval, but Finch was soon into his stride again as he cover drove and back cut Barker for fours to get a 42-over final session under way in style.

Steven Davies nicked Clarke to Ambrose on 13 and Sam Curran departed for 15 when Boyd Rankin, bowling with pace, made one lift to have the teenager caught at third slip off an inside edge on to his hip.

Ben Foakes began fluently, however, clipping Barker to the mid wicket ropes before driving him through extra cover for another four. He then produced a lovely back foot force to the boundary past cover’s right hand off Rankin, a stroke suggesting he was too low in the batting order at No 7, and at 243 for 5 it seemed as if the day would be Surrey’s.

Finch had dominated a sixth wicket stand of 63 in just ten overs with Foakes, but after his dismissal the innings fell away disappointingly with Patel bowling Tom Curran for 1 and then having Gareth Batty caught at short point for 4.

Foakes, jumping to avoid Andy Umeed’s direct hit, failed to ground his bat and was run out for 23 and Surrey’s first innings ended when last man Mark Footitt, returning from a two-month side injury absence, was stumped off Patel for 16 soon after clubbing a big six over long on.

In six overs’ batting in early evening sunshine, Warwickshire replied with 12 without loss with Varun Chopra on 7 and Umeed on 3.