Surrey v Warwickshire, Guildford, 2nd day June 6, 2013

Barker strips Surrey's shortcomings bare

David Lloyd at Guildford

Surrey 49 for 0 trail Warwickshire 631 for 9 dec (Chopra 192, Barker 125, Javid 85, Ambrose 84 Westwood 71) by 582 runs

On a day when Surrey's recruitment policy was again called into question, two of the county's brightest homegrown players combined purposefully to prevent another crisis from turning into a full-blown catastrophe.

An unbeaten opening stand of 49 may look like small beer when set alongside Warwickshire's mighty, and record-breaking, total of 631 for 9 declared but it is at least a start along the path to safety - and by seeing out 21 overs, Rory Burns and Arun Harinath have shown the hosts that they too can make considerable hay on this flat and inviting Guildford field.

The two left-handers, born in Epsom and Sutton respectively, were not who Michael Atherton had in mind when he bemoaned, in national newspaper print, Surrey's recent policy of hiring old pros from around the country and big names from overseas at the expense of developing their own talent.

One of those recruits, Ricky Ponting, will hope to fill his boots here before this match between first division strugglers and defending champions is done. And unless Boyd Rankin - now released by England and poised to join the contest at its halfway stage - can drag more than the very occasional bit of life from an exceedingly docile pitch, Australia's former captain may well succeed.

Two or three wickets during the last knockings on a second day dominated by Warwickshire's batsmen in general and century-making allrounder Keith Barker in particular would, however, have created a significantly different picture. No matter how quiet the surface, a follow-on target of 482 is daunting to any side, never mind a Surrey outfit low on collective confidence.

Burns and Harinath did their jobs splendidly, though, and - a couple of strangled screams for catches apart - they gave the home supporters few scares. Just as well, really, because the Surrey faithful were almost certainly fearing the worst after watching Warwickshire sail beyond their previous best against these opponents (585 for 7 at The Oval, 108 years ago) and then create a record seventh-wicket partnership for the fixture (211 between Barker and Ateeq Javid).

The second day did begin unexpectedly well for the hosts, with Jade Dernbach earning deserved reward for an excellent spell that ended Varun Chopra's hopes of a double century, stopped Tim Ambrose 16 runs short of a hundred and prevented Rikki Clarke from prospering with the bat against his former county and on his old club ground - all in the space of 29 balls and at a personal cost of only 10 runs.

Out of the blue, Warwickshire suddenly had to scrap to secure maximum batting points for the first time this season. But they achieved that target, with four balls to spare, and then saw Barker and Javid take complete charge for almost 60 overs.

Barker, modest and unassuming off the field, is anything but under-stated on it. He gives the ball a real clump with the bat and swings it at good pace when leading the attack. No wonder, then, that Warwickshire missed him while he was absent for four Championship matches with a side strain.

Born in Manchester and a former professional footballer, Barker was the only senior member of Warwickshire's pace department not to be involved with England, at one level or another, last winter. But at 26 it is certainly not too late for this godson of Clive Lloyd to make a mark at international level.

The powerfully build left-hander moved steadily to 50, then accelerated to the third first-class century of his career with the help of 14 fours as well as pulled six off Stuart Meaker.

Javid had to make do with a career-best 85, when a maiden hundred seemed almost certain, but Warwickshire already had enough runs to put Surrey under pressure. The hosts may yet buckle, though not if the early efforts of Burns and Harinath are anything to go by.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ross on June 7, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Before we get onto Surrey ! You can see why Warwickshire are struggling. 500 + an hour before tea on day 2 and batsmen go into their shell for an hour and a half. Effective wasting 20 overs of the match. Come sat. they might rue that. Surrey were embarrasing yesterday, after a good early blast from Dernbach they were toothless, spineless & leaderless. Ponting, Solanki et al, WHERE ? was the leadership as Surrey became more ragged and niggly in the field. Whats happened to Meaker ? Are we just ' untraining ' him and Roy etc so they can join the long list of players who come back to haunt Surrey. No doubt Sussex are licking there lips at two more potential recruits. Keedy ? Solanki ? Lewis ? Peiterson ? dont make me laugh !! Adams has made Surrey a laughing stock. Its got so bad we've even made Atherton look like a good cricket writer !! Lets develop our own players and Stick with em. Meaker for example hardly plays 2 games in a row. Davies or Wilson ? I could go on & on & On !!

  • Mark on June 6, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    @maximum6 Let's say that Surrey's self-marketing policy this season has been unfortunate. Their season was always likely to be iffy for the reasons that you have noted: the scars were always going to be there from the incidents last season. I was posting in the County Championship preview that if Surrey got a slow start things might turn unpleasant and think that this view has largely been proved correct. Surrey though have given the image of presenting themselves as being a bit special and, from comments that I hear and references that I have read, this have been perceived as a lack of humility by press and many fans, who feel that their discomfort is karma.

    There was huge scepticism, even among Surrey fans, about signing so many players at the end of their careers. Ricky Ponting was, in my view, a great signing and fabulous marketing, but Keedy? Solanki? They are not exactly ones for the future and it is hard to see them, Lewis, De Bruyn & Ponting back next year in Division 2.

  • Michael on June 6, 2013, 19:55 GMT

    At first glance it would seem as though the advocates of a youth policy and a home grown policy in relation to Surrey and their imported team should evoke no argument and indeed there is little to said for a side of imported senior pros' when it is losing the whole time. The Surrey performance this season so far has been hideous. Given they were touted as Championship contender quite strongly,it has been nightmare. But in the circumstances one only has to remember a day about a year ago when the Surrey story went out of the window and the club wqas left reeling in chaos by the death of Tom Maynard. Maynard's passing left the side short of two young batsmen never to return and another player close to retirement. Batsmen need to reach a certain level before they can play first class. One cannot magic them up. Also the great Ramprakash retired and the batting was basically left up to a couple of older pros and some kids. A side has to go out for every game and perform. Why the aggro?

  • Mark on June 6, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    Two days to go and if Warwickshire are to win this the most likely route is by spending most or all of those two days in the field. It is going to be a tough way to win. However, you feel that it will only need a couple of early wickets in the morning for a slide to start. Surrey fought their way to a stalemate against Derbyshire, but Warwickshire are going to throw a much stronger attack at them and two days watching the batsmen score at will have sapped strength and will in the Surrey camp. On Warwickshire's side is the knowledge that they can attack at will because runs are irrelevant and there is every chance that the pitch will start to deteriorate, even if only a little.

    For both sides tomorrow will be a defining day: Warwickshire need a win and cannot afford to let another bottom three side escape with a draw; Surrey cannot afford another defeat.

  • No featured comments at the moment.