High-class Dernbach too good for Leicestershire
Surrey 294 and 311 for 6 dec beat Leicestershire 183 and 207 by 215 runs
The England selectors will sit down in the near future to pick a Lions side for the match against Sri Lanka in a couple of weeks. It won't be an easy task. The highlight of this season has been the performances of up-and-coming players vying for international honours and, at The Oval, Jade Dernbach produced a brilliant display of pace, which dismantled Leicestershire, to highlight his credentials with 5 for 41.
Dernbach's late call-up to the World Cup squad was a surprise move after many thought Chris Woakes - who has also been prolific so far this summer - was next in line. But Dernbach had impressed on the Lions tour, taking wickets on flat Caribbean surfaces, having learnt his trade on batsmen-friendly pitches in south London.
The pitch for this Championship match had far more on offer for the bowlers, after Surrey gambled by leaving it very green, and towards the end of the third day the bounce was becoming variable. Dernbach later confirmed that it was normal swing, rather than reverse, that did the damage which started when he found Will Jefferson's edge before trapping Josh Cobb lbw.
He took a break after seven high-class overs but returned post tea with a better burst, claiming 2 for 7 in seven more overs, his wickets coming in the space of four balls as Leicestershire sank to 99 for 5. Both Jacques du Toit and Wayne White were beaten by balls which tailed in late, although White was a little unlucky as his delivery didn't bounce much.
Leicestershire provided pockets of resistance but it was tough going. Matthew Boyce, who was dropped on 7, batted two-and-a-half hours for his 41 before giving the innings away with a loose drive against Yasir Arafat. James Taylor, though, stood out and has rarely had to work so hard for his runs as he did here, taking 89 balls to register a boundary during a thorough going over. Dernbach called it "the gutsiest innings I've been involved with." It was a high-quality battle between two players who could earn England honours this summer.
Chris Tremlett wasn't quite a threat as in the first innings and Taylor attacked the short balls, hooking for six and four, but Stuart Meaker took his match tally to eight wickets. Paul Dixey top-edged a pull, then Claude Henderson, Nathan Buck and Matthew Hoggard were beaten for pace by full deliveries. Rarely does county cricket witness such a sustained pace barrage.
Taylor battled to his fifty from 138 balls, receiving blows to body along the way, and took a second strike on the helmet from Dernbach for his hard work. He needed attention from the physio - and new helmet - but resolutely carried on, until flicking Dernbach to deep square-leg off the first ball of the day's final scheduled over. It was nothing less than Dernbach deserved.
The victory push was set up by brisk morning batting and the biggest surprise of the day was that Mark Ramprakash didn't register his first hundred of the season. He'd moved comfortably to 91 when he missed a drive against Nadeem Malik and lost his off stump. Surrey made swift progress as Ramprakash and Zander de Bruyn took their stand to 148 before Steve Davies chipped in with 37 to hasten a declaration.
Rory Hamilton-Brown tried to end the innings with enough time to have an over at Leicestershire before lunch but didn't quite get it right. However, it was another positive piece of captaincy during an impressive match in the field for the young leader. His team are much better than the innings thrashing against Middlesex last week and in this game they showed it.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo