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
Scorecard

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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.

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