Sussex v Surrey, Arundel, 3rd day

Solanki's grace enlivens Surrey

David Lloyd at Arundel

June 14, 2013

Comments: 3 | Text size: A | A

Surrey 362 for 6 (Solanki 130, de Bruyn 99*) lead Sussex 295 by 67 runs
Scorecard


Vikram Solanki places the ball through the off side, Sussex v Surrey, County Championship, Division One, Arundel, 3rd day, June 14, 2013
Vikram Solanki produced the most dominating batting of the match © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

Warm sunshine, wonderful setting and a former international batsman making the sure-footed, seldom in doubt century that turned Surrey's slim advantage into a position of strength. And all Ricky Ponting needed to do for most of the day was watch from the sidelines.

At 37, Vikram Solanki is one of those veterans whose move to The Oval has earned Surrey criticism from a number of directions - not because the former Worcestershire player is a poor signing, by any means, but for the fact his arrival, and that of others, may have blocked the progress of home grown talent.

Well, whatever the rights and wrongs of Surrey's recruitment policy, watching Solanki in prime form has never been anything less than a pleasure. And in terms of what the acting captain's first hundred in these colours could do for his new county, the hierarchy must feel he is worth every penny.

Surrey are without a win in the Championship, and the odds are against them breaking their duck here with only a day remaining. But this was the sort of dominating performance which they were expected to produce on a regular basis in 2013 - and it ought to do wonders for their confidence for the rest of the campaign.

In fairness to Sussex, who have lost their position as table-toppers to Yorkshire, the visitors enjoyed the best batting conditions of the match either side of tea when there was barely a cloud in the sky. And while the pitch remained slow, with the odd delivery still sticking in the surface, there was a clear invitation for Surrey to take control.

Solanki, who played 51 one-day internationals for England and is currently leading this side because both Graeme Smith and Gareth Batty are injured, needed little encouragement. He had to find a supporting act, though, and, crucially, a perfect one presented itself in the shape of another middle order veteran, Zander de Bruyn.

The pair added 177 for the fourth wicket, de Bruyn ending the day unbeaten and just one run short of his own century.

Six members of the Sussex line-up had passed 30 on the second day of this game but only Mike Yardy reached 50. And when Surrey openers Rory Burns and Arun Harinath both perished when apparently established, the impression that batsmen could never consider themselves truly 'in' on this surface was strengthened.

What is more, the dismissal of Ponting - squared up by fellow Australian Steve Magoffin and caught in the slips by Chris Jordan - for only 13 left the battle for first innings supremacy in the balance. Or so it seemed.

Jordan, playing against his old county, Magoffin and Jimmy Anyon combined to produce a real threat. And had Jordan speared a yorker through Solanki's defences early on, instead of seeing it dug out, it is anyone's guess how the third day would have panned out. Instead, Surrey's No. 3 was soon driving sumptuously, cutting firmly and taking the initiative away from the hosts.

Having reached 50, Solanki pulled Jordan for another emphatic boundary, de Bruyn set about Monty Panesar's left-arm spin and, for the first time in the match, a big partnership seemed probable rather than just possible.

The century stand was sealed with the help of Solanki's off-driven six against Chris Nash (he later pulled Anyon for another big 'un) and his hundred came up with a gorgeous cover drive - one of 11 fours. A little punch of delight marked the milestone, then the captain went into overdrive, taking 30 more runs from 17 balls before holing out to long-on.

That acceleration underlined Solanki's belief that there could be some life left in a match which lost its first day to rain. And with de Bruyn staying around to supervise a final morning charge, there is hope for Surrey and a possible nervy survival battle for Sussex.

"Once you get in it's a reasonably good wicket but you have to work hard when you first some in," said Solanki. "It was very pleasing to score my first first-class hundred for Surrey but more important was that we were able to get into a position where we might be able to exert some pressure on the final day."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by WilliamFranklin on (June 15, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

The obsession with praising Jordan, who bowled average at best and went for 5 an over (until a few overs near the close of play improved his figures) is strange. He's had a good season but has thus far been poor in this match.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (June 14, 2013, 20:25 GMT)

The age of miracles is not yet over. Zander de Bruyn made 99* and presumably will make 1 more tomorrow! And Surrey got a lead. less of a wonder but as welcome, Solanki made a ton which he was likely to for a while. If they can bat a little longer they may put Sussex under pressure-maybe ring up a Lancs bowler for how to do it! More likely Wells will ruin the occasion,as so often before in his few seasons.

Posted by Cyril_Knight on (June 14, 2013, 18:55 GMT)

The big hundred for Solanki has been on the cards all season. He has looked a classy batsmen. However he does get out stupidly, with lapses of concentration (that explains how such a good player can average below 40).

Hopefully today will prove the turning point in Surrey's season. Players like Solanki and de Bruyn have to lead the batting, there are no young batsmen not in the side (bar the infuriating Roy, 22). So the responsibility lies with the senior batsmen on big money.

It is sad though, that right now, Surrey are the closest to victory they have been all season and the draw is 90% certain.

Improvement has been shown. It is now up to Adams to show some consistency in the selection of his quick bowlers. Pietersen comes in next week but Batty is a bigger miss, Ansari is not a first choice spinner and will not contribute much to the task of taking 20 wickets to win.

Comments have now been closed for this article

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
County Results
Glamorgan v Gloucs at Cardiff - Sep 24-27, 2013
Glamorgan won by 8 wickets
Kent v Lancashire at Canterbury - Sep 24-27, 2013
Kent won by 2 wickets
Notts v Somerset at Nottingham - Sep 24-27, 2013
Match drawn
Surrey v Yorkshire at The Oval - Sep 24-27, 2013
Match drawn
Sussex v Durham at Hove - Sep 24-27, 2013
Sussex won by 6 wickets
All recent results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days