Surrey v Hants Day 2 – Lingering like a bad smell?

The day dawned to bright sunshine and news that Root has resigned. Not a surprise as forecast here. The best summaries of his captaincy came a few weeks ago – ‘not a good captain but an unlucky one’ and ‘over the past five years we’ve learnt a lot about batting and little about captaincy’. We are entering a new era.

Meanwhile at a very warm, even hot, Good Friday Oval Surrey, in front of an excellent crowd (who said nobody goes to Championship matches? Promote and play them when people can go, and they will come!) staggered to 400/6 at lunch. In essence 80/3 in that session.

Having set off like a train they became becalmed as if the caffeine had worn off and with scoreboard pressure to score and gain points, wickets fell.

Including Pope for a fine 127. Ok, a lot of his hundreds have been scored here but you cannot erase them from the records. He has class and a fine Test future ahead.

Pope with a fine clip off his legs

The ‘really big’ score which seemed on the cards yesterday will probably not materialise but 400 plus still means 250 plus to save the follow on!

Forward defence from Smith – both ends!
Organ pulls out all the stops in his solitary over!

Last wicket partnerships can be like bad smells; they can hang around for ages and are difficult to get rid of no matter what you try. And so it was for Hampshire.

Surrey plodded along after lunch to 419/9 not really going anywhere but losing wickets. After a circumspect start to the last wicket partnership, Jacks embarked on a range of expansive shots, farmed the bowling well and moved Surrey forward. At one stage Hampshire had nine players on the boundary. It wasn’t the ‘slog it and see’ approach but careful planning and management. Jacks finally went for 72, having added 48 for the last wicket with his partner James Taylor who didn’t score! Surrey 467 ao.

Savage blows by Jacks!
Resolute in defence – James Taylor

And by contrast – this time last week you needed to add layers to keep warm, this week you need to shed layers to keep cool! Mad I know!

Hampshire come out to reply and by tea have somehow got themselves into a bit of a fix! At 71/4 needing 318 to avoid the follow on, they seem unable to master the Surrey bowlers who seem to have found something in the pitch which they couldn’t find. The only difference I can see is the increased cloud cover but up to tea, it’s minimal, and also it doesn’t look as if it’s seaming that much but who knows? After all I’m over 100 yards away!

The pitch is drying out, hot sun, wear and tear and the green tinges are receding. Perhaps the extra pace of Roach and Overton is finding a few players lacking.

Roach – same pose be it in the Caribbean or South London!

Just before tea, Roach pulls up injured and out of the match and who knows how long after.

A mixture of weekday, Saturday, Sunday and closed Northern Line meant an early departure regrettably but it seems that wickets continued to fall. Hampshire playing as if they’d been inserted on a green top? Or couldn’t they get that last wicket partnership out of their minds as it lingered like a bad smell?