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Footitt's spell devastates Warwickshire

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County Championship Round-up: Footitt's stunning burst (1:15)

ESPNcricinfo recaps the second day of the Specsavers County Championship as Surrey's Mark Footitt puts Warwickshire to the sword. (1:15)

Warwickshire 91 (Footitt 6-14) and 29 for 0 trail Surrey 454 (Stoneman 165, Burns 71, Sangakkara 71, Wright 5-113) by 334 runs
Scorecard

A devastating spell of bowling from Mark Footitt - or perhaps that should be Mark F00000itt - powered Surrey into an overwhelmingly dominant position at The Kia Oval.

Footitt claimed 6 for 14 as Warwickshire were bowled out for just 91, the lowest first-class total by a visiting team to The Oval since 1999 and their fourth lowest total this century, to give Surrey a first innings lead of 363 runs.

At one stage Footitt, generating sharp pace on an easy-paced wicket, claimed six wickets for three runs in 32 deliveries as Warwickshire collapsed from 30 without loss to 48 for 8. It was a passage of play that saw five Warwickshire batsmen - including Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell - dismissed for ducks and gave Footitt a five-wicket haul for the fourth Championship match in succession.

No other bowler in this match - and there are several who have been in international reckoning in recent times - has come close to replicating the bounce and pace achieved by Footitt as he charged in from The Vauxhall End. In one over before tea he accounted for Trott, set-up by some back of a length deliveries and then pinned by a lovely full inswinger as he fell over to the off side, and Bell, edging a peach of a ball that bounced and left him, while Sam Hain, drawn into a poke outside off stump, fell in his next over.

William Porterfield was beaten by another beauty that bounced and took his outside edge, Rikki Clarke played across another that swung in and Keith Barker was bowled by one that may well have kept a bit low.

While a couple of Warwickshire batsmen - not least Bell, who received one that scuttled along the pitch two balls before he was dismissed, and Barker, who was struck by a bouncer the ball before he was bowled - may point to some variable bounce as mitigation for their dismissals, the fact that their tenth-wicket pair posted the equal highest stand of the innings underlined the failings of the top-order and they may reflect that it was their choice to bowl first. Chris Wright, coming in at No. 10, finished as their highest scorer with an unbeaten 28 as reward for some application and a straight bat.

It may well be that Footitt's England chance has passed him by. He made it into the squad during the 2015 Ashes and then went on the tour to South Africa but, after an understandably nervous performance during the warm-up games, was overlooked for the start of the series. He came tantalisingly close to selection for the final Test in Pretoria but, in the end, the England management went for Chris Woakes instead. There is every chance that was as close as Footitt will get to a Test cap.

But in form like this, he really does present a compelling case for a recall. Offering left-arm pace and swing, all delivered amid an awkward flurry of arms and legs, he challenges batsmen in a variety of ways and has the ability to unlock strong line-ups in good batting conditions. Certainly he looked a far more dangerous bowler than the relatively sedate Sam Curran, another left-arm swing bowler who has been tipped for selection, and he might yet - aged 31 - add some bite and variety to the England attack.

It might be that he did not help himself at the start of last season. Having come back from what was, ultimately, a bit of a disappointing tour of South Africa from a personal perspective, he went into his first season with Surrey a little short of match fitness. He subsequently suffered a side strain in the opening weeks of the season after coming up against better batsmen on flatter tracks and finding it took more out of his body than had been the case at Derbyshire. It has taken time to recover his confidence, rhythm and pace.

It would be a risk to take him to Australia. He is, despite his age, relatively inexperienced and might well find the aggression and pressure of an Ashes series a huge culture shock. He would have to learn to swing the Kookaburra ball, too. But if he can bowl like this, he will enjoy the pace of Australia pitches and no batsman will fancy facing him. It would be a stretch to compare him to Mitchell Johnson - he's not that quick or awkward - but the challenges he offers are not so different.

"I still have the ambition to play for England," he said afterwards. "If it's too late, it's too late. But Gareth Batty went on the last tour and we was 38, so I've not given up and I don't think you're ever too old.

"Would I like to go to Australia this winter for the Ashes? I've never even been there, so it would be nice just to go. Perhaps I wasn't quite there fitness-wise this time last year but I feel strong now and I have my pace back."

"I've seen a few spells over the years," Jim Troughton, Warwickshire's first team coach said, "but that's right up with the best of them. He got pace and shape and bounce. I wouldn't say any of our batsmen threw it away but we weren't up to it and we're going to have to front up in a big way over the next couple of days. I still think it's a pretty decent track."

At least Warwickshire showed a little more resolve having been asked to follow-on. But any doubts Ashley Giles, Warwickshire's new director of sport, had about the enormity of the task facing him upon his return to Edgbaston should now have been dispelled. An ageing side lacked the pace to extract life from the surface and the batting line-up looks overly reliant upon two men in their mid-30s. There are few obvious reserves pushing for selection, either. These are early days, but it could well be the start of a painful transition for Warwickshire.

They had actually enjoyed the best of the first half of the day. Bowling with excellent discipline, they slowed the Surrey rate of scoring to a crawl and then picked up wickets as the batsmen's frustration mounted. From a platform of 314 for 2 in the 86th over, Surrey lost their last eight wickets for 140 runs in a further 55 overs - and the last five for 49- with Wright recovering from an expensive start to finish with a five-wicket haul for the first time since July 2015. It was nothing compared to what followed from Footitt, though.