Being a multi-county member there are occasions when I’m spoilt for choice and this current round presents such an opportunity! The day dawns reasonably fine, transport works like a dream and I rock up to the Oval in plenty of time to see Surrey take on Kent.
The crowd is substantial for day one and being a local Derby helps swell the numbers. As does, perhaps the prospect of seeing Zak Crawley (he of the controversial test selection) batting himself into some kind of form to squash the doubters and boost his confidence.
Some people had expected him to be first back in the hutch (Surrey winning the toss and inserting on what looks like a green top) but no! Compton (4) was the first to succumb. We didn’t have to wait long for Creepy (19) to join him – lack of footwork, muddled thinking etc still to the fore (as you will recall, dear reader from his exploits in NZ). His footwork on a zebra crossing in Queenstown, when I graciously stopped to let him cross, seemed no better!
He probably needs a complete break from the game. It can only do him some good as he’s trying to address his issues in the full glare of an Ashes summer.
It was clear from ball one that batting would need patience and application especially as the ball was seaming. At one stage Surrey had five slips and a gully (or was it six slips?) and every Kent bat regularly played either across the line or down the wrong line.
As a result the rest of the Kent batting was less than inspiring before lunch – there seems to be a general malaise so far this season – and at the break Kent are 98/4. What is pleasing is the 31 overs Surrey have bowled in the morning session – five quicks in rotation but no interruptions for drinks, gloves, towels etc – proving it can be done if you want to!
Two balls after lunch and Kent are 98/5, more fall in the next 40 minutes so that Kent flail at 118/7- in essence losing 5/47. But the tail took its opportunities and wagged – Evison 76 no & Hogan 39no at tea. Surrey lost the plot during the afternoon- perhaps the bowlers became a bit complacent? It’s clear that they’d put the plot down in the corner of a circular room and now couldn’t find it!
For the first time in a long time, play continued after the designated point as nine wickets were down and then for another eight overs as Surrey struggled. Tea taken at 271/9 at 4.40pm! I have to mention the resilience shown by Kent – the lower order/bowlers never gave up all afternoon and took the opportunities as they came knocking!
What does last session bring? The final wicket three balls after the resumption! Kent 278ao – a hundred more than looked likely at lunch!
By the close Surrey are 88/1 with Burns back in the pavilion and just under 200 behind. Kent need early wickets tomorrow while Surrey need to bat long (and all day?) but both sides need to take the opportunities when they come knocking!