Matches (20)
T20 World Cup (6)
CE Cup (4)
T20 Blast (10)
RESULT
The Oval, May 18 - 20, 2023, County Championship Division One
278 & 141
(T:58) 362 & 58/0

Surrey won by 10 wickets

Report

Lawes' maiden five sinks Kent as Surrey cement top spot into the Championship break

Young seamer secures personal landmark as Burns seals win in a hurry

Rory Burns and Dom Sibley walk off after sealing victory, Surrey vs Kent, LV= Insurance Championship, Kia Oval, 3rd day, May 20, 2023

Dom Sibley and Rory Burns walk off after sealing victory for Surrey  •  Getty Images for Surrey CCC

Surrey 362 (Abbott 78, Sibley 60, Bhuiyan 4-65) and 58 for 0 (Burns 36*, Sibley 16*) beat Kent 278 (Evison 77*, Lawes 3-41) and 141 (Muyeye 42, Lawes 5-22) by 10 wickets
It speaks to Surrey's qualities as defending champions that even losing a bowler of Kemar Roach's calibre does not hold them back. And it says even more of the nurturing qualities down in south London that the West Indian's replacement, 20-year-old Tom Lawes, would be the one to fire Surrey to a fourth win of the season.
Lawes only turned 20 on Christmas Day - for the record, he only gets one set of presents - but almost singlehandedly blitzed Kent in the second innings. Figures of five for 22 snuffed out the visitors for 141 on day three, handing Rory Burns and Dom Sibley a simple double-figure chase, knocked off so quickly that the Kia Oval felt compelled to let the hundreds of spectators use the ground as a glorified picnic area for an hour or so after this 10-wicket win had been confirmed.
This was Lawes' maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket, beginning late on day two when he changed the direction of this match with a 2.4 over spell that accounted for Tawanda Muyeye and then Jack Leaning. The latter was the day's final ball, meaning the seamer had two deliveries to finish from the Micky Stewart Pavilion End on Saturday morning. Burns decided to stick with him for longer.
Within seven deliveries, Kent skipper Sam Billings had edged through to Ben Foakes and Zak Crawley - the set batter, arriving overnight on 31 - had been squared up by a wider release, edging to Ollie Pope at second slip. At that point, Kent were six down, Surrey still a run ahead and Lawes boasted absurd figures of 4 for 3. A misdirected bouncer, no-balled as it raced away for four byes, put Kent into the lead.
Jordan Cox and Joey Evison did their bit to make Lawes' figures a little less absurd. The latter, however, ended up as number five as Lawes tailed one in late enough to sneak through Evison and send his off stump for a walk. With the heart ripped out, Lawes stepped aside to allow Sean Abbott and Jordan Clark pick through a Kent line-up in real strife. Since winning their opening match of the season against Northamptonshire, Kent have lost three out of four. This, their second inside three days, sends them into the relegation zone.
You could say Lawes' five-bag was overdue, particularly given that on four previous occasions he had had to make do with four in an innings. But this was always coming. His 18 wickets across six appearances in 2022's Championship win spoke of undoubted quality, and gave him the lowest average of the squad (23.72).
Returning this winter, his action looks a little more like Chris Woakes', and Burns is certain he has got quicker. Lawes is one of those nippy quicks who loses very little off the pitch, which explains why his short ball surprised Muyeye and Leaning (bowled off his elbow), and good lengths hit hard did for Billings and Crawley. He's already made it to 15 dismissals from just three games and has also pocketed new career-best match figures of eight for 63 after three for 41 in the first innings.
"It's a very special moment," said Lawes of this first five-wicket haul. "Especially walking off in front of the Pavilion. It's a memory I'm not going to forget, really. To do it with all the teammates and all our mates. Wonderful memories.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to get a bowl (at the end of day two). But with two overs at the end, I was going to steam in and try and make something happen. To get those two at the end (Muyeye and Leaning) last night, that really set up today."
As far as young players at Surrey go, Burns wasn't sure on where he'd rank, but likened his impact to Sam Curran, who arrived into the first-team at the age of 17 and never looked back. "It's similar to when Sammy came onto the circuit," said Burns. "His knack of producing things - when you need a moment, he finds it with a little bit of fairy dust."
Lawes is one of those allrounders in the early stages of their career where one suit is garnering more headlines than the other. Those who've been involved in his development through the ranks, both at Surrey and Cranleigh School, emphasise his middle-order activities with the bat.
We got a sight of that last summer when he compiled 318 runs at 53.00 in the Royal London Cup, filling in throughout the sideshow competition as Surrey's squad was ransacked by the men's Hundred. A few weeks back, he opened the batting in the second innings with Dan Worrall with just 11 needed for victory against Warwickshire. Lawes somehow ended up with 14 not out after finishing the match with a six into the Hollies Stand.
He was not required to strap the pads on this time around. A target of 58 was probably a little too dear to take the piss, though Burns marched out and set the tone for another quick kill with 10 off the first four deliveries of the fourth innings. The skipper then greeted Jack Leaning's off-spin with a reverse sweep for six. When 50 was brought up after 9.4 overs, Burns had 33 of them.
With scores level, the left-hander advanced down the track, scuffing a shot over the top off the bowling of Arafat Bhuiyan. It stopped a couple of feet short of the boundary but Burns and Dom Sibley had already crossed and were on their way back to greet each other for a job well done after just in 11.3 overs.
But for the miscued winning run, this was about as perfect a win you could get, completed seven minutes before lunch on day three. The sun just getting to its glorious best, the weekend now open to all possibilities.
The season itself, however, feels just like last. Surrey are top going into the white-ball break, winning four of six so far - one more than they managed in the same period at the start of last season. Even with England call-ups for red- and white-ball duty, they look primed to go back-to-back.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo