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8th Match, The Oval, April 14 - 16, 2022, County Championship Division One
(f/o) 223 & 227

Surrey won by an innings and 17 runs


Jamie Overton presses England claim with five-wicket haul in resounding Surrey win

Hosts sweep Hampshire aside by an innings and 17 runs

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
Jamie Overton completed his five-for on the third morning, Surrey vs Hampshire, LV= Insurance County Championship, Division One, The Kia Oval, 3rd day, April 16, 2022

Jamie Overton completed his five-for on the third morning  •  Getty Images

Surrey 467 (Pope 127, Amla 73, Jacks 72, Patel 58, Barker 4-80) beat Hampshire 223 (Barker 57, Overton 5-54) and 227 (Weatherley 87, Vince 57, Clark 4-55) by an innings and 17 runs
There are any number of vacancies to be filled at the top of English cricket right now - captain, coach, director of cricket, head of paperclips*. But with Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Olly Stone all at various stages in recovering from injuries, a genuinely fast bowler hitting their straps during the opening weeks of the County Championship has every chance of vaulting into the mix for the Test team.
If that fast bowler happens to be named Jamie Overton, now 28 but long tipped to play at international level, then the anticipation sharpens. His maiden five-wicket haul for Surrey since moving to London from the west country in 2020, followed up with three more in the second innings for career-best figures in an innings win, will have had the selectors scribbling in their notepads. Or would have, if there were currently any in post.
Never mind, the word will get out. Overton cranked up the intensity and cracked open the game for Surrey on day three at the Kia Oval, Hampshire brusquely swept aside as if caught up in the bank holiday weekend rush. Having picked up two wickets on the second afternoon, as the visitors struggled in reply to Surrey's 467, Overton returned to quell a minor uprising by the eighth-wicket pair of Keith Barker and James Fuller, then bombed out the tail with enough alacrity that Rory Burns was happy to enforce the follow-on despite being a bowler down.
Each of Overton's five first-innings wickets was a capsule RF bowler's dismissal. The left-handed Nick Gubbins was drawn into edging one angled across him; Liam Dawson beaten by a peach of an outswinger that hit the top of off. And after a tranquil start to the third morning, Overton came bullocking back into the fray to end a partnership worth 90, and the innings in the space of four balls: Barker bounced out from round the wicket, Kyle Abbott fending another bumper to short leg, Fuller's resistance ended by a yorker that crashed into middle and leg.
Overton was left out of the XI in Surrey's opening fixture at Edgbaston - a tactical decision, according to the head coach, Gareth Batty - but showed the benefit of some technical changes made over the winter. "I don't like singling people out but I think we've all seen Jamie Overton do something pretty special there," Batty said. "Particularly that first innings, the bowling was electric, and that's some hard work that he's done. It's nice that first outing he gets the rewards in wickets."
With Kemar Roach missing from the attack due to a hamstring injury, Overton carried straight on into a spell with the new ball. James Taylor made the breakthrough, straightening one a fraction to find the outside edge of Ian Holland's bat, Ollie Pope taking a brilliant diving catch at slip - but it was perhaps no coincidence that the lapse came after Holland had been struck a blow on the hand in the previous over from Overton.
The game again settled down for a period, despite Hampshire losing Gubbins before lunch. Joe Weatherley had weathered the initial storm, surviving a top-edged swipe at Overton that cleared Ben Foakes running back, and seemed to be progressing steadily towards a second hundred in consecutive Championship fixtures. But the return of Overton, this time menacing the middle of the pitch from the Vauxhall End, shook up the innings. His second ball, rearing past the gloves, brought a sustained appeal for caught behind, and although Weatherley slashed the next through backward point for four, he was immediately defeated by a short-pitched ball that stayed low and arrowed back at him, even as he tried to keep the hands down; Foakes' leaping, one-handed take ended a century stand between Weatherley and James Vince.
Overton removed Dawson for the second time in the match, this time flinching a pull to long leg, and Vince's dismissal after a typically mellifluous half-century, tickling Taylor down the leg side shortly before tea, raised Surrey's hopes of finishing the contest inside three days. Burns again turned to Overton, who claimed his eighth wicket when Felix Organ jabbed a sharp chance to gully, enabling him to better the 8 for 143 claimed for Somerset at New Road in 2018. With Taylor and Jordan Clark picking off the last four, Surrey secured victory well before the scheduled close.
Overton has been on the England radar ever since he and twin brother, Craig, stomped out of Barnstaple and on to the county scene with Somerset as teenagers. But while Craig has been capped in eight Tests and four ODIs, and was involved on their most recent tour of the Caribbean, the closest Jamie has come is twice being called into white-ball squads without being picked.
His performances at Surrey to date have not encouraged thoughts of a recall - remarkably, this haul more than doubled his first-class wicket tally for the club, after nine appearances in which he had averaged 87.33. Nevertheless, his pace and hit-the-deck approach remain coveted by England. And with Craig taking a career-best 13-wicket bag in Somerset's one-wicket defeat at home to Essex - at one point, the brothers simultaneously took two in an over 150 miles apart - it raised the prospect that both could be involved in the summer, becoming the first twins to represent England in the process.
Hashim Amla had suggested after the first day that this was "not a 300 for 3 pitch", and that assessment was borne out. Resuming on 152 for 7, Hampshire had already shipped their best chance of getting something from this game - but losing by an innings still represented a mighty comedown after they had dished out a similar mauling of Somerset. Vince suggested after victory in the opening round that there wasn't much room for improvement, but after seeing his side succumb twice in far-from-treacherous conditions, that position will have to be reassessed.
*Okay, that last one was made up

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

Hampshire Innings
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County Championship Division One