Surrey v Warwickshire, Guildford, 3rd day June 7, 2013

JP Duminy set to replace Smith

David Lloyd at Guildford

Surrey 269 for 7 (Solanki 67, Harinath 65, Ponting 50*, Rankin 3-42) trail Warwickshire 631 for 9 dec. by 362 runs

Surrey are set to announce that South Africa's JP Duminy will replace Graeme Smith's stand-in Ricky Ponting for the last two months of the Championship season. The way things are going here, they could do with all three of those international batsmen playing together on the final day against a Warwickshire side suddenly sensing a chance of victory.

While Ponting - whose current spell in English cricket will conclude towards the end of July - stood firm during a dramatic final session that was completely at odds with what had gone on before, the hosts lost three wickets in the space of six telling deliveries from Boyd Rankin (and 5 for 37 in all) to lurch into real trouble.

They had been a seemingly solid 232 for 2 at one stage, still 250 runs away from saving the follow-on, admittedly, but with Ponting and Arun Harinath enjoying each other's company for the second time in as many matches.

But unlike at Derby last week, where the pair added 180, they were parted here after putting together a mere 63 with Harinath slapping a catch to cover. And, from then on, the Bears were pawing at the ground against opponents who suddenly looked like the second from bottom outfit that they are.

Rankin, who only joined this match at the halfway stage after being released by England, bowled an expensive first spell. But when he rejoined the action from the Railway End with a ball old enough to produce reverse swing, a relatively serene picture for Surrey quickly turned into a nightmare.

The big Irishman bowled Zander de Bruyn off his pads, made a nonsense of the decision to send out Stuart Meaker by ripping through the nightwatchman's defence and then boomed a delivery back into Gary Wilson to earn a leg before decision.

Three wickets for two runs in five balls looked bad enough. But Surrey's day became even worse when Jason Roy chose to play an expansive drive against Keith Barker during the final over to be splendidly caught by a diving Jim Troughton at point.

The crowd were stunned. And so was Ponting, judging from the way he marched off without even waiting for the sheepish Roy to join him

Surrey will start the final day requiring another 213 runs to avoid the follow-on and with Ponting - who completed an 84-ball half-century amid the late mayhem - having only the tail for company.

Even assuming they are made to bat again, this match should be saved. But it should never have come to this on a pitch where Warwickshire made more than 600 and the hosts made good progress after 37 overs were lost to rain on the third morning.

Harinath and Vikram Solanki settled to the task confidently enough. And if Ponting felt even a smidgen of pressure after waiting for two days and two session to bat in front of a 'home' crowd, he certainly did not show it. Off the mark with a pushed single against rookie spinner Ateeq Javid, the 38-year-old was soon threading drives through the covers, pulling powerfully and, when the opportunity arose, depositing Javid beyond the rope at wide long-on.

But now even a second consecutive big century, after his 192 at Derby, is likely to save Surrey from the follow-on. Game on - and a full blown crisis, too, if defeat is the end result.

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  • Mark on June 8, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    @Dave Kelly Most experts seem to think that, far from popgun, the Surrey attack is one of the best in Division 1. Tremlett, Meaker, Dernbach, Linley and Batty is a pretty useful attack. Dernbach should not be playing for England but, for Surrey he is very effective and Meaker is a real prospect.

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Stargazer, I was saying that this season the attack is 'popgun' by Div1 standards. The one you are highlighting should indeed be good enough to dismiss Div2 lineups (as indeed would the current one).

    Middlesex, on the other hand, are a bowling rather than batting side, so were always likely to adjust better to the change of quality of opposition.

    Its a bit like when you look at Lancs and Sussex during the 00s. Lancs may well have been better side overall (as their fans claimed) but their strength was in the batting with Loye, Law and Hodge. Sussex's was the bowling unit of Mushtaq, Rana, Lewry and Kirtley, so required far fewer runs to win matches.

  • Mark on June 8, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    Incidentally @Dave Kelly, the attack in that Gloucestershire game was Arafat, Linley, Dernbach, de Bruyn and Batty. Familiar, no? It was a useful and varied attack. The batting was: Roy, Hamilton-Brown, Ramprakhash, de Bruyn, Davies, Maynard, Batty, Arafat five of whom have now gone.

  • Gareth on June 8, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    Got to love Surrey, providing plenty of entertainment & laughs for supporters of the other 17 counties.

  • Mark on June 8, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @Dave Kelly Middlesex went up the same season and have made a go of it... Mind you, I have to say that, that afternoon at The Oval, the had my own side, Gloucestershire, 54-5, if I recall rightly, chhasing 170-odd and could not finish off the tail. With that defeat I really thought that Surrey were out of it finally.

    I don't know about "popgun" attack. Dernbach, Meaker, Linley, Batty, Tremlett, Yasir Arafat. It was a powerful attack. Chris Jordan - leading wicket taker in Division 1 this season - couldn't get a game. It's one thing that the attack is inherently weak, it's another that the side is underperforming criminally this season: which it is. A side that can put out Tremlett, Meaker, Linley, Dernbach and Batty should be able to bowl out most teams.

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2013, 1:59 GMT

    Stargazer - What happened to that side is, by promoting, they swapped having (give or take) the worst eight sides as opposition for the best eight. With a relatively popgun bowling attack, regularly taking 20 wickets for a reasonable amount of runs is going to be a tough ask at the higher level.

    Also, nice though 6 from 8 to grab promotion is, it suggests a great run of form rather than inherent class. If the side posessed the latter, they wouldn't have needed such a run to get into contention in a division containing the likes of Kent, Leics, Gloucs, Glamorgan, et al..

    I don't wish to be too harsh but better to say it as I see it rather than sugar coat. You have had enough of that from the management in the past decade or so, which is why there is barely any progress.

  • Michael on June 7, 2013, 22:21 GMT

    It would do us a power of good if batsmen converted 50's to 100's! Seems obvious enough.

  • Kaspar Damm on June 7, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    That's.. an interesting change. A bit brave, given that JP has been out of the game for some six months, although to be fair he hasn't shown it so far in the limited overs he has played.

  • Ross on June 7, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    Nutcutlet....." At the moment Surrey look ..........." All season from the moment they brought in the likes of Solanki, Keedy etc. As I commented yesterday Surrey are spineless and rudderless. They may escape with a draw.................but no matter because they WILL NOT escape relegation. But my guess is in tomorrows finish Warks will be rueing yesterday afternoons go slow in the sun as Surrey escape with 7 or 8 down.

  • Owen on June 7, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    I'd like to see Surrey get relegated, mainly as I cannot stand Chris Adams and that leaves only one relegation spot for Somerset to avoid, but I do feel sorry for their fans. The squad they have is under-performing massively. They should be doing better,

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