Match report provided by the ECB Reporters' Network.
Surrey’s relentless five-pronged pace attack, superbly supported by England Test wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, overwhelmed Middlesex as the county champions eased to a nine-wicket victory at the Kia Oval.
Foakes took six catches, a record in a first-class innings for Surrey against their London rivals, two of them high-class efforts, while Jordan Clark’s 4 for 25 headed an irresistible collective performance with the ball that also included day four wickets for Sean Abbott, Kemar Roach and Gus Atkinson. Dan Worrall, who took 5 for 48 in Middlesex’s first innings 209, went wicketless second time around.
Only the combative Ryan Higgins, who hit 42 from 71 balls, and tailender Ethan Bamber, with a bright unbeaten 25, offered any fight with the bat as Middlesex slid from their overnight 128 for 3 to 240 all out.
That left Surrey needing a mere 70 for a third win in five LV= Insurance County Championship matches, the 22-point haul maintaining their position at top of Division One and reminding everyone – should any reminder be required – of their determination to defend last summer’s title triumph by taking the crown again.
Rory Burns, Surrey’s captain, could add only 14 to his first innings 88 before nicking Tim Murtagh to slip but Ryan Patel and Dom Sibley, not out on 37 and 21 respectively, put on an unbroken 56 to ease Surrey to their first championship win against Middlesex since 2012.
Clark claimed the final day scalps of Luke Hollman, Middlesex captain Toby Roland-Jones and all-rounder Higgins, while Abbott sent back John Simpson and last man Murtagh to earn himself 3 for 31. Atkinson added the wicket of Pieter Malan to finish with 2 for 37.
It took Surrey only 21 balls to make an initial breakthrough on day four, with Roach straightening one just enough from around the wicket to the left-handed Max Holden to brush the edge of his defensive bat on its way into the safe gloves of keeper Foakes.
Holden, who had battled hard to keep Surrey’s five-pronged pace attack at bay on the third evening, scored 43 after adding just a single to his overnight score.
Roach tormented Simpson, another left-hander, with his ability to curve the ball away from the line of off stump and beat him several times, but it was Abbott who claimed the scalp of Middlesex’s wicketkeeper in the morning’s 11th over.
And it was a brilliant diving legside catch by Foakes which ended Simpson’s resistance on 23 after he flicked at a rising ball angled across him by Australian paceman Abbott from around the wicket.
Higgins did his best to counter-attack, twice driving Roach for four between the bowler and mid off when the West Indies fast bowler slightly overpitched, but an injured Malan – having come in at No 7 with Mark Stoneman as his runner – lasted just ten balls for one before falling to an excellent tumbling catch at point by Patel off Atkinson.
That wicket came from Atkinson’s fourth ball, after he had replaced Abbott at the Vauxhall End, and it maintained the 25-year-old’s significant impact on the game following his first innings 3 for 18 and the dismissal of Stoneman on the third afternoon.
Hollman was the next to go, on four, giving a diving Foakes his sixth catch of the innings when the left-hander thick-edged a superb ball from Clark – again from an around the wicket angle.
Higgins, on 28, was dropped above his head by Sibley at first slip when he wafted at another sharp, lifting ball from the hostile Atkinson, but Clark then had Roland-Jones caught by Sibley for six.
Bamber unfurled some lovely offside strokes as he hung around gamely with Higgins but it took Surrey’s bowlers just 2.4 overs after the lunch interval to wrap up Middlesex’s innings.
Higgins top-edged a pull at Clark to Roach on the deep mid wicket ropes and Murtagh was bowled for a duck as he stepped away to swing optimistically at Abbott.
Surrey will fancy their chances of claiming their third win of the season in the LV= Insurance County Championship after building a first innings lead of 171 against Middlesex on day three at the Kia Oval.
Jamie Smith made 97 and their last three wickets added 97 to swell their total to 380 before Middlesex lost Sam Robson and Mark Stoneman in successive overs after an opening stand of 51. Steve Eskinazi fell just before the close with Middlesex 128 for 3 at stumps, still 43 behind.
Smith batted superbly during the morning and looked certain to score his first century of the season. But tied down by leg-spinner Luke Hollman, he came a couple of yards down the pitch looking to clear mid-wicket and was beaten in the flight, allowing John Simpson to complete an easy stumping.
Until that indiscretion the 22-year-old hardly played a false shot and was particularly punishing on the unusually out of sorts Toby Roland-Jones. He greeted the Middlesex skipper’s introduction into the attack by carving his second ball to the point boundary before driving the next delivery through long off for four.
Boundaries off successive deliveries from Roland-Jones took Smith into the 90s but Hollman, bowling the first spin in the match 20 minutes before lunch on the third day, succeeded in tying him down. Smith hit a six and 15 fours and faced 187 balls.
Middlesex had plugged away throughout the morning session. Tim Murtagh found a thin outside edge with the sixth ball of the day to remove Ben Foakes (22) and the impressive Ethan Bamber, who’d earlier been deposited over long on for six by Will Jacks, hit back to bowl Jacks through the gate for 27.
When Bamber was taken off at the pavilion end his replacement Ryan Higgins offered Jordan Clark (12) some width and Clark slashed to backward point, but after Smith’s dismissal Surrey’s tail wagged.
Bamber bowled Gus Atkinson (13) via an inside edge but Sean Abbott looked at ease against the second new ball, hoisting Bamber over long on for six adding six boundaries in his 48. The Australian lost his leg stump trying to guide a straight ball from Murtagh down to third but Dan Worrall enjoyed himself at the end, the pick of his shots a drive over wide long-on off Higgins to bring up 350 and secure a third batting point.
Roland-Jones belatedly brought himself back on and ended the innings when Worrall (32) touched a bouncer to the wicketkeeper.
Robson, who top-scored with 76 in the first innings, and Stoneman launched the Middlesex response with a stand of 51. It wasn’t easy with the floodlights on and Worrall unfortunate not to be rewarded during a probing seven-over new-ball spell before Surrey struck twice in seven balls.
Abbott made the breakthrough in his fifth over with a quicker delivery which drew Robson (22) forward and found the edge as it nipped away off the seam. In the next over Atkinson went round the wicket and Stoneman (28) was right to be aggrieved to be given out caught behind by umpire Graham Lloyd when TV replays clearly showed he hadn’t hit the ball.
With Pieter Malan not able to bat until later in the innings after spending time off the field, Max Holden was promoted up the order. He was badly dropped by Jacks at second slip on 18 off Kemar Roach but added 57 with Eskinazi before Clark ended the stand in his third over when Eskinazi nicked off. Holden was unbeaten on 42 but Middlesex have work to do on the final day.
Rory Burns led from the front with a fluent and aggressive 88 as Surrey moved into a strong position on 190 for three, only 19 runs behind Middlesex at the halfway stage of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at the Kia Oval.
But the most eye-catching innings of a second day cut short to 42 overs by bad weather was Jamie Smith’s 55 not out, with the 22-year old dazzling a Sky television audience – and those hardy souls who braved chill and cheerless conditions in south London – with some memorable and high-class strokes.
Smith helped his captain Burns to add 75 in 15 overs for Surrey’s third wicket, after both Dom Sibley and Ryan Patel had gone cheaply following a morning session almost entirely lost to rain, and was then joined by Ben Foakes in a further unbroken partnership of 53 before bad light intervened again at 5.07pm. Play was finally called off for the day at 6pm.
Foakes remained unbeaten on 22, a solid effort in itself as Middlesex’s four seamers strained for further breakthroughs, and perhaps a defining moment of the match came immediately before the players left the field for the final time – with Smith dropped on 55 by Stevie Eskinazi at first slip off Ethan Bamber.
Surrey had resumed on 21 without loss but there was time for just 11 balls before bad light and rain drove the players off until 1.50pm, and Burns and Sibley’s opening alliance had realised 49, in testing circumstances, when Sibley (13) edged Bamber’s third ball to first slip.
Soon Surrey were 62 for two with Ryan Patel undone on five when he tried to pull his bat out of the way of a lifting ball from Ryan Higgins, only for it to deflect off a glove to Max Holden at third slip.
Smith, however, majestically drove his first ball on the up through square cover for four and, while Burns cruised past 50 with some excellent shots of his own – a number of them from several steps down the pitch as he tried to negate the still-seaming ball – it was the brilliance of his younger partner which stood out.
Smith’s first six scoring shots were all fours, including an immaculate straight drive off Higgins punched all along the ground between non-striker Burns and the umpire, and later he skipped out to the same bowler and hoisted him effortlessly for six to wide long on.
By then, however, Burns had gone to a thin edge to keeper John Simpson, off Higgins, as he again advanced down the pitch, but it had been a fine and urgent effort from the former England Test opener, who looked in great touch. He faced only 105 balls, once pulling Toby Roland-Jones for six over mid-wicket and also hitting 11 fours.
Smith, who also survived a low chance to gully off Roland-Jones on 26, completed an 83-ball half-century with a whip for three wide of mid on off Tim Murtagh, and he quickly celebrated the milestone by lifting Bamber over mid-wicket for his ninth four.
Dan Worrall’s spectacular 26-ball burst of five wickets for one run, in a spell of 6-3-7-5, torpedoed Middlesex’s first innings against Surrey in the London derby at the Kia Oval.
A partnership of 152 between Sam Robson and Pieter Malan had actually threatened to put Middlesex in early control before champions Surrey fought back in dramatic and thrilling fashion to bowl them out for 209. In reply Surrey reached 21 without loss in five overs by stumps, with Rory Burns 15 not out.
On a rollercoaster LV= Insurance County Championship opening day, Middlesex’s last nine wickets fell for just 43 runs in 21.1 overs after Robson had made 76 and Malan an equally determined 66.
Worrall ended up with 5 for 48, while Gus Atkinson was Surrey’s other star performer with 3 for 18 and, fittingly, finished off the Middlesex innings by having Luke Hollman caught behind for 5 thin-edging a hook.
It was the pacy Atkinson, indeed, who began the turnaround by removing both Robson and Malan just before tea. Robson edged head-high to Dom Sibley at first slip and Malan was pinned LBW, before Worrall and Kemar Roach combined to deadly effect to fillet Middlesex’s middle order in the final session.
Stevie Eskinazi edged the third ball after tea to go for 13, safely pouched by Sibley again off Worrall, and the same bowler then sent back John Simpson for a duck, with Sibley taking a third catch.
Roach nipped one away off the seam to have Ryan Higgins caught behind for 4 and in the next over Worrall had Max Holden, aiming to leg, caught low down at second slip by Will Jacks for 7.
Toby Roland-Jones sliced Worrall to backward point to go for 2 and, three balls later, Worrall produced an unplayable out-swinger to hit the top of Ethan Bamber’s off stump.
In truth, Surrey’s five-strong pace attack did not get things quite right in a morning session that was cut short by five minutes because of the threat of lightning from storm clouds rolling in over South London.
Even though there was both swing and seam movement available from a green-tinged surface, prompting Surrey captain Burns to bowl first on winning the toss, there was too much inconsistency in length and line and – linked to some moments of good fortune – it allowed Robson and Malan to flourish.
Middlesex’s second wicket pair played positively, sensibly and with no little skill to add 97 at almost four runs per over in the pre-lunch session, although Roach was perhaps unlucky not to add to his early dismissal of Mark Stoneman, who he bowled through the gate for 8 from around the wicket.
Worrall, however, was not at his best in a five-over new ball spell costing 23 runs and neither Jordan Clark nor Sean Abbott could put the pressure back on Middlesex with Robson in particular impressing with 14 fours in his first score above fifty this season – a number of them beautifully-struck straight drives either side of the wicket.
It was also a surprise that Atkinson was not thrown the ball until the 24th over, with Middlesex 79 for one. Atkinson had taken a career-best 6 for 68, and eight wickets overall, in Surrey’s hard-fought draw against Essex at Chelmsford last week but he managed only three sharp and accurate overs before play was suspended for just over two hours for rain and bad light.
And, by the time 25-year-old Atkinson was re-introduced for a second spell, in the 42nd over, Middlesex’s total had reached 154 for one with both Robson and Malan continuing to show positive intent following a 3pm restart.
That, though, was the bowling change that provided the spark for Surrey’s remarkable fightback, with Atkinson literally lighting the touchpaper and Worrall providing most of the fireworks that followed.
Surrey and Middlesex players, meanwhile, have dedicated this match to the fundraising efforts of Surrey seamer Matt Dunn, who during the winter lost his two-year-old daughter Florence to a little-known form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.
Dunn led a 20-strong group of friends and family who ran from Lord’s to the Oval as part of the ‘everydayinMay4Dravet’ initiative, arriving at lunchtime, to help raise awareness of the condition. Those supporting the initiative run, or walk, at least five kilometres every day in May to raise funds to combat Dravet Syndrome.
“It means everything to me that both Surrey and Middlesex are doing what they are to support us,” said Dunn. “The love, care and support of everyone at Surrey to my wife Jess, myself and our little boy Freddie has been overwhelming, to be honest, and it’s why we are now able to try to help others who have young children with this condition.”
Catch up on all the action from the final day of our nine-wicket defeat to Surrey in the LV= Insurance County Championship at the Kia Oval.
Kevin Hand caught up with Toby Roland-Jones following our nine-wicket defeat to Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Match report provided by the ECB Reporters' Network.
Catch up on all the action from day three of our LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Kevin Hand caught up with Ethan Bamber following day three of our LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Catch up on all the action from day two of our LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Kevin Hand caught up with Ryan Higgins following day two of our LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Watch all the key match action from day one of Middlesex's latest County Championship encounter, against Surrey at the Kia Oval
Kevin Hand caught up with Sam Robson following the opening day of our LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
We caught up with men's First Team Coach, Richard Johnson, ahead of tomorrow's LV= Insurance County Championship clash against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
Middlesex return to LV= Insurance County Championship action tomorrow when they take on Surrey at the Kia Oval in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
At our Championship match against Surrey at the Oval we will be working with Surrey to support them in all they're doing to help raise funds for Matt Dunn and his family after the tragic loss of their daughter.