Surrey v Leicestershire, The Oval, 4th day

Ansari and Batty spin Surrey to win

Ryan Bailey

June 25, 2014

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Surrey 522 for 9 dec (Wilson 160*, Tremlett 90*, Roy 76, Amla 71) and 69 for 0 beat Leicestershire 271 (Robson 75) and 319 (Robson 81, Shreck 56, Ansari 5-93, Batty 4-83) by 10 wickets
Scorecard


Zafar Ansari removed Matt Boyce in the second innings, Surrey v Leicestershire, County Championship Division Two, The Oval, 3rd day, June 23, 2014
Zafar Ansari combined with Gareth Batty to work through Leicestershire's second innings © PA Photos
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Zafar Ansari and Gareth Batty spun Surrey to a convincing 10-wicket victory against Leicestershire at The Oval, but not before Charlie Shreck had played the innings of his life.

It was not long after Shreck had tottered to the middle at No 11 - with his side on the brink of another feeble spanking - that an official was ordered to lower the Leicestershire flag on top of the pavilion.

Batty, Surrey's veteran offspinner and the young slow left-armer Ansari, who led the way with 5 for 93, had shared the spoils as Leicestershire's middle order offered little resistance on the final morning, collapsing from 213 for 5 to 225 for 9.

But Shreck hit his maiden first-class half-century, at the age of 36, in an improbable last-wicket stand of 94 with Jigar Naik to leave Surrey requiring 69. Ansari and Rory Burns chased down the victory target of 69 with an element of disdain and minimal ado.

Ansari's stock is rising with every passing week and after scoring his maiden first-class century at Derby last week, he followed that up with his first five-wicket haul here to leave Leicestershire floundering. The prospect of them salvaging something from this game may have seemed improbable but was not unmanageable.

Conditions, even on the fourth day, facilitated heavy run-scoring once batsmen had attuned themselves. The top-order all managed to pass twenty but Angus Robson apart, none could reign themselves in for the long haul. Until Shreck's grandest hour, that is.

Ned Eckersley, who had played with such composure on Tuesday evening, fell across a straight one from Matthew Dunn in the first over of the day and that set the tone for what was to follow. Such was the extent of their batting disintegration, Surrey were afforded the extra half hour before lunch to take the one wicket they required.

But Shreck, unlike many of his team mates, has no inhibitions when he straps the pads on. An innings consisting of seven boundaries highlighted that as he and Naik, who played second fiddle but looked equally assured on his way to an unbeaten 37, curbed Surrey's victory charge - temporarily at least.

"I really enjoyed it," Shreck said afterwards. "I was actually quite nervous over lunch which is strange because it's normally over fear of getting hurt with bat rather than needing to score runs.

"It was a lovely wicket to bat on but their spinners bowled nicely today. There was a bit of rough but we didn't do ourselves any favours. There is a lot more ability in that dressing room than we're actually showing which is disappointing.

"We have a lot of learning to do especially when we have the opposition of that calibre seven down for not much in the first innings. We ran out of steam and we have to give them credit but we just didn't bat properly first time and then we collapsed again today."

Leicestershire lost seven wickets in a morning session. Moreover, the manner in which the wickets fell typified a side devoid of all confidence as the procession had an element of inevitably about it. One member of the crowd even resorted to applauding each Leicestershire run as he looked to get value for his entry fee.

"We've had a tough month," Shreck continued. "There has been a lot of cricket that hasn't gone our way and games in which we've been in a good position at the halfway point have been let slip. It's not a fitness issue but just a knowledge thing. We need to keep going because the third day often decides the outcome of a game and it did here."

Surrey must take much of the credit though. Batty and Ansari bowled with patience as they induced the type of shots that hinted at a side completely out of their depth. Nathan Buck was lbw attempting an expansive sweep when the situation called for no-nonsense defence while Josh Cobb, the Leicestershire captain, managed to get bowled around his legs trying to work the ball for a single.

The hosts could have been forgiven for contemplating what they would do with their afternoon off but found patience and composure when Shreck and Naik weathered the storm and overturned the deficit.

"We are very proud of the guys because it was tough out there," Graham Ford, Surrey's head coach, said. "We were made to work hard and the group have come together quite nicely over the past few weeks, sticking together and supporting one another.

"We're building up some momentum now and hopefully we're going in the right direction but it doesn't always go to plan but we've got a good mix of guys and we just want to build on each performance from now until the end of the season."

A second successive ten-wicket triumph edged Surrey closer to the top two but for Leicestershire, things are not as rosy.

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