The choice facing me today was either to see what the carnage at the Fortress (more like a mud patch I hear) was all about and be home in time for an early tea or to go back to the Oval as the champions-designate continue to dominate Yorkshire – and at least I get to see a full days play!
Four day cricket watchers tend not to be in the first flush of youth so as the tube decanted at Oval station, one got the sense of what a day out at the care home of the future could look like! Add to that a strong aroma of Fisherman’s Friends and embrocation and the picture in your mind’s eye is complete.
I somewhat startled people undertaking a ‘survey’ before I boarded the tube about how ‘young’ people felt and how ‘young’ I was – only one answer needed – ‘very!’
But back to the main event; an early start, overcast and floodlit saw Surrey succumb to 299/9 before Lawes and Worrall gained the third bonus point and guided Surrey to 333ao just after the new ball.
I would have thought that would have indicated to Yorkshire to keep Surrey batting until the conditions improved but no! Out they came to face Roach and Worrall with the new ball. Finn Bean (regarded as a good prospect?) and Lyth set out.
Batting was not easy and soon Lyth was back in the Pavilion and Mr Bean joined by Hill – not once did they stand for the ideal photo! And with Mr Bean misreading a Lawes straight one on the stroke of lunch goes for 12 and Yorkshire 49/2.
Tea arrives (with a presentation to Micky Stewart on his 90th birthday) with Yorkshire 158/7 – still 175 behind. Kohler-Cadmore made a reasonable 50 but others came and went not with rapid succession but in clumps. Surrey at one stage had no Plan B (but that’s typical of cricket nowadays) and were too erratic with at least one ball every two overs going down the leg side to give Foakes more of a workout than he perhaps had planned!
However, Lawes showed his promise and class – destined for England one day – and got among the wickets. Most dismissals have been bowled or caught behind indicating there’s a bit in this pitch (still) so care is needed.
Elsewhere with Hampshire needing to make a large score to win, Surrey need to keep calm but I suspect the weather on Friday – if the matches last that long – will have the last word (for the moment)?
Half an hour after tea and Yorkshire fall 4 behind the follow on target! Poor shots by the York bats but excellent bowling by Surrey who enforce the follow on!
Mr Bean is an early casualty as Surrey start to swoop like vultures; by the close another goes leaving Yorkshire at 89/2 still 65 behind.
This Surrey side, irrespective of everything else, knows how to win and knows how not to give up. A fine foundation for the future (if only the ECB would do things sensibly!).
It’s been great to watch Surrey all season. Will I be witness to Surrey’s crowning tomorrow? Now that’s a real hill of beans!