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Surrey stride on as Morne Morkel dismantles Notts resistance

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Morkel stars as Surrey smash Notts (2:07)

Catch up with all the latest from the County Championship as Surrey beat title-challengers Nottinghamshire by an innings (2:07)

Surrey 592 (Burns 153, Clarke 111, Stoneman 86, S Curran 70) beat Nottinghamshire 210 (Morkel 4-60) and 199 (Patel 55, Morkel 5-60) by an innings and 183 runs
Scorecard

Realistically, this match was only ever going to end one way with Nottinghamshire one down overnight and still 325 runs short of requiring Surrey's openers to pad up again. Yet the supporters who turned out anyway might have expected to be entertained a little beyond 1.58pm, which was scarcely long enough to digest lunch.

This is a Surrey side, though, that takes no prisoners, as their opponents in their last five matches have discovered. That sequence includes Hampshire and Somerset as well as Nottinghamshire, all beaten by an innings by the middle session of the third day. Yorkshire, beaten by and innings at the Kia Oval and seven wickets at Scarborough, at least managed to detain them until the final morning.

Rory Burns and Ollie Pope are the leading scorers in a powerful batting unit, Ben Foakes is a very useful wicketkeeper-batsman and Surrey can assemble a seam quartet as formidable anyone's. Nottinghamshire think there's is none too dusty but Morne Morkel, Sam Curran, Jade Dernbach and Rikki Clarke outbowled them comprehensively here. Add to their capabilities the fresh potency of Amar Virdi's offspin and Surrey are a side with no obvious shortcomings.

They stretched their lead over Nottinghamshire to 43 points from one game fewer and even if Somerset overtake the Trent Bridge side and go second by completing a win over Worcestershire at New Road they will still have a daunting gap to close with only six fixtures remaining. It is hard to see any destination for the title now other than The Oval, but then it has looked that way for a while.

Surrey are reaping the benefits, too, of having players, such as Burns, Pope and Foakes, who are on the radar of the England selectors but are not imminent picks; others, such as Curran, Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman, who have been considered worthy of a look but are not currently needed; and a third category, into which Dernbach and Clarke fall, who have substantial experience at international level but are not likely to add to it.

Burns again reinforced his candidacy here with the keystone innings of the Surrey innings, in which the patience, stoicism and astute judgment his supporters have been talking up for at least the last 12 months were his most reliable assets. He is growing nicely into the role of captain, too.

It was one of those days when, with the outcome almost guaranteed, it would have been easy to go through the motions, let things drift. Instead, he kept thinking, trying different things to make sure the batsmen did not settle and to keep his bowlers on their toes.

It worked handsomely. Will Fraine, the 22-year-old debutant in a Nottinghamshire team that is in transition, did himself no harm at all, extending his stay to almost 90 minutes against bowling, from Morkel in particular, that was as challenging as anything he has faced so far and though he was disappointed to be out on 30, well caught by the diving Foakes off a decent delivery by Clarke, he had many reasons to feel pleased with himself.

Otherwise, only Samit Patel threatened to be an obstacle in Surrey's path and his half-century was a breezy affair rather than anything with a stubborn quality. He was undone easily enough by Morkel, who tempted him into a loose drive that saw him comfortably caught at second slip by Borthwick.

Patel's wicket prompted the final collapse, the last seven Nottinghamshire batsmen disappearing for 46 runs in eight-and-a-half overs as Surrey applied the boot to the throat. Morkel, who bowled with a controlled hostility throughout that only Luke Fletcher on the Nottinghamshire side was anywhere near matching, finished with 5 for 60 and 9 for 120 in the match. Five Surrey bowlers now have between 24 and 30 wickets each, which is a factor as important as any in where they are.

"To bowl them out in under two sessions today was really outstanding," Burns said afterwards. "Morne Morkel takes the plaudits with a five-for today but the way the bowling unit went about it to bowl out a very good Notts side for 200 twice shows the way we are going about our business.

"We are winning our games in a dominant fashion and it makes it easy for me as captain but we have to keep on going about our processes the right way and doing what we have done well so far."

Peter Moores, the Nottinghamshire head coach, believes the title is Surrey's to lose. "They look a good side so credit to them," he said. "They're in a great position and if they keep playing this cricket they've got a great chance. Morkel is key. He opens things up for them.

"If we win our last five games we can create a bit of pressure but in this game we have to accept that we didn't bat, bowl or field well enough."