Middlesex v Surrey, Lord's, 2nd day May 3, 2013

Substance over style works for Dernbach

Vithushan Ehantharajah at Lord's

Middlesex 161 for 9 (Dernbach 3-59, Batty 2-23) trail Surrey 338 (Murtagh 3-54, Collymore 3-72) by 177

On a day where the sun shone bright and the sky remained spotless, Middlesex produced an inept batting display to leave themselves with one first innings wicket remaining and a deficit of 177 runs.

Collectively, the Surrey bowling unit operated with a determined nature that would have buoyed Graeme Smith. It must be said Smith rotated them well - Chris Tremlett in particular responding positively to the four over shifts he was given - but Middlesex will know their own batting sold them short. Many have championed their bowling attack but there was undoubtedly going to be games where the batsmen would be needed to make something happen. This is one of them.

Zander de Bruyn started the morning with the bat and showed good intent to push Surrey on, as Tim Murtagh swung a delivery past Steven Davies' inside edge and rapped him on the pads, in front of middle and off, to send him on his way. Murtagh was reliable as ever, but Steven Finn was off-colour, seemingly concentrating solely on pace; the giveaway being a handful of leg side wides. His third and final wide, before he was taken out of the attack, was particularly unbecoming of a Test bowler.

Pennies for the thoughts of Andy Flower and David Saker; both present at Lord's today, surely running the rule over the four international quicks present, past and future. Toby Roland-Jones represents the latter and he was more convincing today, claiming his first wicket of the match with a devilish back of a length ball that made a play for de Bruyn's shoulder, but made do with the thumb of his glove.

Surrey will know they left runs in the track as Corey Collymore, an international of the past, and Paul Stirling shared the last four wickets. Head coach Chris Adams preaches "hard cricket" and he will not be happy that the last six wickets only added 71 runs, but what he can't fault is the response with the ball.

Middlesex's innings started at a greater pace to Surrey's dreary first go, but where the visiting side left well - particularly day one centurion Rory Burns - the hosts found themselves falling for temptation. Chris Rogers took a brace of fours off Jade Dernbach before he chased a wide, full length delivery from de Bruyn and only succeeded in diverting it rather violently onto his middle stump. His replacement Joe Denly also seemed nonplussed by Dernbach until he made one just duck in, which the batsman - head falling to the offside - could only meet with pad.

One of England's preliminary 30 for the ICC Champions Trophy, Dernbach failed to make the whittled down 15 as Ashley Giles went for substance above style. There's no doubting his talents; his armoury of slower balls, cutters and back-of-the-handers seems both a gift and a curse. His slower-ball did make an appearance and had Dawid Malan baffled briefly before the ball dipped just wide of his toes and onto his bat.

But Dernbach has shown this season that he has a clear appreciation of the sub-plots of long-form bowling. After Robson was squared up neatly by de Bruyn and Malan unluckily adjudged lbw to Gareth Batty's first ball when it seemed there was bat involved, Dernbach produced a mini-spell of pressure which pressed home Surrey's advantage.

Neil Dexter edged him to Vikram Solanki in the slips before Dernbach produced an in-swinging yorker to greet Paul Stirling on his County Championship debut. Regardless of how many more times Stirling dons the whites in county cricket, he'll struggle to face a better ball - especially first-up.

Roland-Jones swatted two fours before giving Tremlett a return catch for his first wicket, while Simpson's chip to mid-on should rightly earn him some blank stares and coarse words from anyone with Middlesex's best interest at heart.