Surrey steadily building promotion charge
Surrey 589 for 8 dec (Ansari 112, Burns 97, Wilson 97*) and 43 for 1 beat Glamorgan 232 (Allenby 69, Tremlett 5-60) and 398 (Cook 83*, Rudolph 73, Dunn 4-124) by 9 wickets
For all the fuss made about Surrey's so-called stars it should not go unnoticed that coach Graham Ford is steadily developing a squad of hard-working county cricketers well capable of sustaining a challenge for promotion. Their nine-wicket victory over Glamorgan was Surrey's third in four Championship matches and it was achieved with 12.1 overs remaining in the final session of the last day, after a game in which almost all of Gary Wilson's players made substantial contributions.
The win, which was sealed in the crystal sunshine of a Colwyn Bay evening, also moved Surrey up to second place in Division Two table and one of its chief virtues was that it was completed only after tough Glamorgan resistance had been overcome, most notably that of Chris Cooke, who toughed it out for an unbeaten 83 not out.
Cooke has yet to score a first-class century, and one would take a bet that he will eventually work a lot less hard to reach three figures than he did during his 183-ball innings at Penrhyn Avenue. Yet Glamorgan's No. 5 could only look on aghast from the other end when Arun Harinath claimed the two wickets in five balls which turned the game in mid-afternoon.
When Wilson summoned Harinath into the attack - to bowl medium-pace for the first time rather than his most-occasional offspin - Glamorgan had ground out a lead of four runs. Both Cooke and skipper Mark Wallace looked comfortable at the crease. Then Wallace chased the eighth ball of Harinath's spell and Wilson pouched the edge. The twelfth delivery was seemingly nondescript but had the lethal quality of being straight; Ruaidhri Smith played all around it. Surrey's fielders celebrated with a mixture of delight and, maybe, profound astonishment. Having done his job, Harinath was immediately withdrawn from the attack
"Was it the last throw of the dice or did I have so much faith in Arun?" Wilson mused, before racing off to catch the London train. "I think I'll keep the answer to that one close to my chest. But he has been working hard on his bowling with Graham Ford and we just thought something different might crack it."
In truth, Harinath's two wickets did not so much offer Surrey's bowlers a crack through which they could espy victory; they blew the doorway to triumph wide open. Despite going into tea on 375 for 7 and with some hope of scraping a draw, Glamorgan lost their last three wickets for 23 runs in eight overs after the resumption, one of them to the tireless Matt Dunn and two to the admirable Zafar Ansari, who is rapidly blending tough professionalism with the talent he displayed at Fenner's and the intelligence he no doubt possessed when strolling around Trinity Hall's Front Court.
That all left Surrey needing a mere 42 to win and they accomplished that facile task in 12.5 overs for the loss of Rory Burns to the fifth ball of the innings. It also completed a win for which Wilson's bowlers and fielders had striven for more than a day since establishing their massive first-innings lead on the third afternoon.
"That was a proper old-school win," Wilson said. "We shouldn't underestimate how flat the wicket was and the bowlers have done an outstanding job on the final day. Everyone's chipped in at different times and it was a really good team performance from us."
A glance at the completed match scorecard justifies Wilson's judgement. All the same, no one worked harder for the victory on the last day than Dunn whose final figures of 4 for 124 probably did him less than justice. The Surrey seamer gave everything whenever Wilson called on him and he took wickets in all three sessions of the day. Most importantly, perhaps, Dunn claimed two lbws in three overs from the Penrhyn Avenue End during a morning in which Glamorgan added exactly 100 hundred runs to their total either side of those breakthroughs.
Yet the manner of the dismissals surely concerned the home dressing room. Murray Goodwin was pinned on the back foot by one which came back but kept low and Ben Wright seemed beaten for pace by Dunn, who was working up a fair head of steam. But one of the reasons why the Surrey seamer and his colleagues remained fresh throughout the day was that they were never used in long spells by the shrewd Wilson. A further consequence of this rotation of bowlers and of switching them to different ends was that the batsmen were not allowed to settle into any sort of groove.
After suffering those two morning reverses Cooke and Jim Allenby took their side to 282 for 4 at lunch, Allenby only risking his wicket when he thumped his fourth delivery over midwicket for six early in his innings and then skied a second attempt off Batty soon afterwards. The ball dropped safely between fielders.