That Somerset have marched up the County Championship to the top of the First Division should surprise no one, given the nature of the two men leading them.
Their coach is a former Royal Marine, Andy Hurry, and their captain is Justin Langer. They have instilled a deep-seated work ethic. In Hurry's case it stems from his military background; in Langer's case it is from a classic, hard-nosed Antipodean belief that greater rewards arrive with greater effort.
And after this comprehensive thrashing of Surrey, who are still looking for a win after six rounds of matches, Langer explained: "I never thought I would see a county team's culture change in the way Somerset's has. It is a great credit to them, the way they have responded. Our coach is outstanding – he is the main reason I came back to Somerset."
Langer, a former Australia Test batsman of high class, cited as an example of the squad's altered attitude Ian Blackwell, whose all-round performance underpinned the team's victory here.
"On the evening of the day he scored his hundred [Saturday] Blackwell was out running laps around the ground," Langer said. "It was like a miracle. He is buying into the strong work ethic that runs through this squad."
Somerset had allowed Surrey to bat on for a further hour yesterday morning, adding 55 to their overnight lead of 52, before they were able to tackle the target of 108 in a minimum of 77 overs. There was an early hiccup when the opener Neil Edwards fell lbw to the off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq, who shared the new ball with Jade Dernbach. However, Langer then joined the former England opener Marcus Trescothick and the pair thumped 80 runs off the next 10 overs.
Langer was determined to wrap it all up before lunch, because of fears of early afternoon rain, but he gave Usman Afzaal the charge and was bowled and his departure marked the start of the interval. After lunch James Hildreth hammered 16 off half a dozen balls to secure victory and put Somerset top.
Langer praised the pitch for providing a competitive match and a positive result. "There was something in it for everyone," he said.
Next for Somerset is tomorrow's Friends Provident Trophy quarter-final against Kent at Canterbury. Few would bet against them winning that in their current, all-conquering mood.Reuse content