Surrey v Glamorgan, The Oval, 4th day April 9, 2014

Wagg gets ruthless to sink Surrey

Vithushan Ehantharajah

Glamorgan 209 (Allenby 52, Meaker 4-57, Linley 3-24) and 156 for 0 (Rees 75*, Bragg 72*) beat Surrey 280 (Ansari 74, Davies 67, Allenby 4-47) and 81 (Wagg 6-29, Hogan 4-31) by 10 wickets

Play 09:04
Graeme Smith talks to Mark Butcher about the challenge at Surrey

Quite how we have arrived at a comprehensive 10-wicket win for Glamorgan, their first against Surrey since August 2001, is still a tad confusing. Surrey started the day 50 for 2, with a lead of 121, and a card of batsmen capable of pushing on and out of sight. What occurred instead was a hellacious collapse, brought about by a career best 6 for 26 for Graham Wagg, which saw them skittled for just 81 - their lowest first class score since a 76 against Kent in 1992.

The numbers alone make grim viewing; eight wickets lost for 31 runs, in 15.2 overs this morning. It would be easy to speculate that a more weathered pair than Zafar Ansari and Dom Sibley, with experience of April conditions, would have dealt better at the start of the final day with the moving ball.

As Graham Ford, Surrey's new head coach, conceded at the end of the game: "With youth, mistakes do come in from time to time. I think we've got to be realistic, there are a few younger guys and an experienced player like Vikram Solanki is out of the equation at the moment.

"That does mean younger players have to take on responsibility and sometimes it takes a bit of time to adjust to those more senior roles. It's tough, but when you've got young lads, they are learning all along."

But for all the ignorance of youth, it is only right to sing the praises of Wagg who produced one of the best spells of his career. His morning of 4 for 10 off eight overs was devastating - a near perfect display of swing bowling from Rugby's Akram.

With the ball moving prodigiously from release, Wagg showed tremendous skill to get the ball going every which way, but loose. Naturally, with his slanted approach and side-on action, the ball tailed in to the right hander, but the southpaw also managed to get a handful to hold their line, impeccably.

He looked unplayable; every delivery leaving his hand with purpose and the threat of yet another wicket. At times it seemed like the Surrey batsmen saw him coming through less left-arm over from the Vauxhall End and more naked, riding a wrecking ball.

"I've certainly bowled worse than that and had better rewards in different levels of cricket," Wagg said. "Six for 29 - you'll take that if you bowl badly or bowl well."

He was visibly pumped, addressing both the radio and written media at the end of the day. "Ruthlessness" was the buzzword - a new state of mind that Glamorgan are looking to adopt. As Will Bragg and Gareth Rees knocked off the runs in calm yet clinical fashion, there was no better word to use.

"That word is always in the back of my mind. Not "patience" - we've used that word before but it doesn't work for me and it doesn't work for other guys. "'Ruthlessness' is a great word for us to have as a team. I'll keep barking on about it all year - we've put in a lot of technical work, all of us. We've worked blooming hard this winter. You couldn't have asked for a better result in the first game, against a very good team, in their own backyard."

It started with the first ball of the day. Ansari, who had left 99 balls alone in his first innings, couldn't bring himself to leave another and waved a loose bat at a gentle away-swinger. It was an innocuous sighter - "the worst ball," in Wagg's own words.

In the next over, Sibley could only play Michael Hogan onto his stumps, before Wagg had Steven Davies dropped at slip by Stewart Walters. The disappointment lasted as long as it took for ''over'': Hogan found the edge of Gary Wilson's bat with the next ball.

Jason Roy hit the first runs of the morning - a three down the ground - but was undone by some superb bluffing by Wagg. After taking the time to set up a legside trap, he pushed a full ball across Roy, who did not move his feet and prodded the ball behind. For Wagg, this dismissal was the culmination of a winter of individual technical work combined with analysis of Roy's quirks: the perfect execution of a perfectly-orchestrated plan.

Tom Curran looked a nervous wreck. He was almost lbw first ball then nearly run out as he was sent back by Davies. He eventually managed to get off his pair, scoring his first Championship runs, before succumbing to Hogan. Davies was trapped lbw for Wagg's fifth wicket. When he also scalped Tremlett by the same mode, he had his six.

It was left to Hogan to finish the rout, as Tim Linley's middle stump was laid to rest for the second time in the match. The tall Australian was the perfect foil from the Pavilion End, extracting pronounced bounce from the pitch - far more than his height-a-like Chris Tremlett could muster.

Set 153 for victory, Bragg and Rees sauntered through the afternoon session, side by side. Linley was unluckiest of the bowlers, beating but not troubling the edge of both bats on numerous occasions. But no one came close to matching Wagg's finesse or movement through the air.

"Come on Braggy - beat the rush hour!" yelled one member of the crowd, as the 27 year-old accelerated on the home straight. It is baffling that he has only mustered one Championship century, against Leicestershire in 2012. On this evidence, he should add to that significantly this season.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2014, 11:10 GMT

    @ 122notoutWestByfleet1996. biff played, not that you'd have noticed him. and pietersen has a 20-20 contract, so look for him after the ipl

  • Scott on April 10, 2014, 10:45 GMT

    where were KP and Smith for this game?

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2014, 10:21 GMT

    last season was bad enough - tortoise-crawl batting followed by craven defeat - but at least we were in the first division then. ah well, only 15 more matches to go, and there isn't a third division

  • ian on April 10, 2014, 8:34 GMT

    Ah, so no false dawn for Surrey, then! It's still very dark. Smith now knows the size of the task that lies ahead and, although it's good to see young players in the team, Smith must make sure that their confidence-levels are not allowed to hit the floor. Solanki and Batty are the sorts of players that can steady the ship. It'll be interesting to see how much progress is made and at what speed. This result is the baseline; things mustn't regress from here (they can't, can they?). Well done to Glamorgan; this must be a very satisfying scalp to kick-start the season. A thoroughly good report, Vithu, as ever. Thanks.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    thanks for the quote Vitu (rush hour) - i actually saw a Glammy Supporters coach parked outside Tesco on Kennington Lane at lunchtime and informed the driver he should be prepared for a 4pm off...he was most shocked and grateful for this info!...I didn't know whether to laugh or cry yesterday. last season was bad but that was Div 1...

  • Android on April 10, 2014, 4:48 GMT

    From a 121 run lead to a 10-wicket defeat for Surrey. Beat that

  • GeoffreysMother on April 9, 2014, 21:16 GMT

    What a surprise: and the press conferences were all going so well.

  • Dummy4 on April 9, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Well done Glammie lads. Great start! I wonder how much is down to Hugh Morris' influence. Keep it up!

  • Mark on April 9, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    This was a desperate surrender. The collapse beggared belief. It looked as if the fall of two wickets in two balls caused a dressing room panic. What Graeme Smith will have made of this is anyone's guess.

    On the good side, after fielding the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard XI last summer Surrey are, at least, going with younger players this year. Probably they will not be in the promotion dust-up, but that is for the best as it will allow the younger players to learn and mature. Stuart Meaker and Zafir Ansari have responded with good performances in this game, although Surrey desperately needed Meaker to be as fast and nasty today as he has been against the students and in the first innings here to have any chance of saving the game: the lack-lustre bowling display under pressure was almost as alarming as the batting collapse.

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