Surrey's resemblance to the vibrant team that has won the Championship three times in the past five years is looking less convincing by the day. Uncomfortably placed in a pack of seven counties lodged between clear leaders Warwickshire and disconnected Northamptonshire, they will do well to avoid a demoralising defeat here.
Surrey's resemblance to the vibrant team that has won the Championship three times in the last five years is looking pale. Uncomfortably placed in a pack of seven sides lodged between clear leaders Warwickshire and disconnected Northamptonshire, they will be lucky to avoid a demoralising defeat here.
The pitch, too lively, apparently, for Surrey to manage more than 155 on Thursday, is much easier than that, as the home side demonstrated yesterday. Fifteen in front with all their wickets intact when the morning session began, they scored at four runs an over to claim full batting points before declaring 45 minutes before tea. Stephen Peters and Stephen Moore, Worcestershire's new opening combination, had reached 240 before a listless attack finally prised them apart.
It had been their most productive partnership so far, by some distance. But both have been in fine form. Peters completed his third hundred in consecutive innings at New Road, Moore his second in a row and a career-best of 146. Had Moore, a bright prospect at 23, not stretched for a widish ball in the last over of the morning, providing wicketkeeper Jon Batty with his second catch off Adam Hollioake, he might have added handsomely to his 22 boundaries.
Amid all this, Graeme Hick missed out, caught behind without scoring. The maestro still needs one more century to match WG Grace's 126. But no matter: Ben Smith and Andrew Hall fluently added another 129, for a lead of 245.
For a time Surrey appeared to have some defiance in them, even with Graham Thorpe's appearance delayed because he had been unwell. But Mark Butcher was out just after tea, before Hall saw off Mark Ramprakash and Hollioake in the space of three balls and then dismissed Scott Newman. Batty fell to his namesake Gareth before Ally Brown departed, playing across the line to Matt Mason.
The day's allotted overs were completed with Surrey six down and still 78 short of an innings defeat, but Worcestershire's request for the extra half-hour was declined. Rain is forecast for today but it will need a lot to save Surrey.Reuse content