Close Report: Surrey 326 & 227; Somerset 446 & 111-2

Somerset (22pts) beat Surrey (6pts) by eight wickets

It took Somerset just seven balls after lunch to wrap up victory and move to the top of the County Championship.

James Hildreth, who had come in at the fall of Somerset captain Justin Langer’s wicket on the stroke of lunch when they were just 14 runs shy of the victory target of 108, smacked a lusty 16 runs off the six balls he faced to complete Somerset’s second away win on the trot.

A whirlwind second wicket stand of 80 in ten overs between Justin Langer and Marcus Trescothick before the interval had virtually secured the match.

Langer was out on the stroke of lunch giving Usman Afzaal the charge and being bowled for 46. His 30-ball innings contained half a dozen fours and two sixes, both of which came off Afzaal.

Surrey had managed to postpone the inevitable for a further 58 minutes this morning, with Matt Nicholson shepherding the tail well enough to add a further 55 runs to their overnight 172-7, which left Somerset a modest target of 108 off a minimum of 77 overs.

There were the odd alarms and comical moments especially when Saqlain Mushtaq was at the crease playing and swishing at Alfonso Thomas and showing exaggerated caution when tackling Ian Blackwell’s left arm spin.

The Pakistani off-spinner still managed to get into double figures, sharing in a stand of 27 for the eighth wicket before he became Blackwell’s fourth victim of the innings, caught behind.

Jade Dernbach, Surrey’s six-wicket hero in the Somerset first innings, also put up some resistance, like Saqlain he too had scored a dozen before succumbing to the second new ball, getting an inside edge on to off-stump to give Charl Willoughby a second wicket.

It was Willoughby, a Kolpak signing for Somerset, who wrapped it all up when Surrey last man Pedro Collins mis-hit to Marcus Trescothick running back to wide and deep mid-off – a very well judged catch by the former England opening bat.

With the outcome pretty well a foregone conclusion, acting Surrey captain Mark Ramprakash, went for the unorthodox when Somerset began their chase. After Dernbach opened at the Nottingham Road end, Ramprakash tossed the ball to Saqlain to see if he could conjure up something from the Chapel end.

And he did not let them down. Somerset opener Neil Edwards decided to shoulder arms to the third ball of Saqlain’s second over, sadly it appeared to be the doosra, the mystery ball that goes the other way, it rapped his pad and he departed lbw.

Thus inspired Ramprakash replaced Dernbach with Usman Afzaal to see if he could emulate Saqlain with his left arm orthodox spin.

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