Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications
Surrey 313 (Foakes 62, Stoneman 61, Smith 56; Patterson 5-81, Coad 3-71) drew with Yorkshire 148 (Morkel 4-43, Clarke 3-35) and 30 for 0
"When an hour is all thou hast, make much of that hour." The phrase might be found on an old sampler reminding folk of the virtues of the Protestant work ethic yet it carried topical power on the final morning of this wet game at Guildford. For against the background clatter of staff gracelessly stacking chairs long before this match ended, Surrey's Morne Morkel took three wickets in 12 balls, thereby establishing a dominance that would reach its climax when Yorkshire were bowled out for 148 just before tea.
Steve Patterson's batsmen thus spent the truncated last session of this suddenly dramatic game ensuring cock-up did not become total calamity. They achieved that goal although it was fitting that the weather came to their aid. Bad light trimmed four overs from the 38 Yorkshire might have faced but the openers, Adam Lyth and Will Fraine, had negotiated their way to 30 without loss when the draw was agreed amid gloom and approaching showers. All the same, a contest which had hitherto been notable mainly for its appalling weather had suddenly acquired much greater interest and that was a fitting reward for the tough souls who had braved both wind and rain on this last day.
"Vigilance is the watchword of the righteous." That saying, too, might once have been embroidered and framed in God-fearing households yet it has carried a powerful admonition for Yorkshire this week, quite regardless of their beliefs. To borrow a more modern idiom, they have not always been at it during this game. They didn't expect to play on the second day and had to be roused from their hotel by coaches who were astonished to see Surrey warming up and groundsmen preparing the pitch. Then on this final morning, with nothing but bonus points seemingly at stake, they batted as if shocked into timidity by the intensity of Ben Foakes' attack.
But any tendency to pile blame on Yorkshire's batsmen for their side's collapse should be balanced by recognition of the excellence of Surrey's bowling. That quality was apparent when Morkel dug in the first ball of the morning with perfect accuracy and a disconcerted Gary Ballance could only fend a catch to Dean Elgar in the gully. We little knew it but the tone of the day had been set. Next over Morkel pitched the ball up and had both Fraine and Jack Leaning caught behind by Foakes, who dived in front of first slip to make the second snare.
After bowling only four overs Morkel was replaced by Jordan Clark who took his first wicket for his new county when Jonny Tattersall's thoroughly irresponsible slash edged the ball high to Rikki Clarke at first slip. Next ball the same combination did for a rather less culpable Dom Bess and one's thoughts went back to the July morning last summer when Clark, then wearing Lancashire's colours, dismissed Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Johnny Bairstow with successive balls. There was no repeat of that famous hat-trick this damp morning in Guildford but the sense of panic among the batting side was similar.
There was a rain break but it did not douse Surrey's fire. Immediately the players returned Tom Kohler-Cadmore was caught down the leg side off Clarke for 14 and made his way off the field rubbing his hip. Three wickets had fallen for no runs and there was really no telling which way this game would go.
As it turned out, an utterly unpredictable morning was followed by the most of predictable of early afternoons in a week which has taught us all to value the high days of summer. The rain set in and prevented any resumption until 2.30pm. But still the pattern of the cricket did not change. Despite Jordan Thompson's late aggression - the debutant included a huge six off Clarke in his 34 - the 55 runs added by his side's last three wickets could not prevent the follow on being enforced. After taking four wickets in the innings, Morkel took an excellent catch over his head at long leg to remove Thompson off Matt Dunn. Surrey's cricketers then beetled off to have tea and prepare to bowl again. Yorkshire had lost all their wickets for 97 runs, the last nine of them in 26 overs.
But the excitement was over. Lyth and Fraine batted with immense care in the final session of this game and spectators were left to wonder what might have happened had not 56.3 overs been lost on this last day. Surrey now have a free week but can be emboldened by their cricket at Guildford. Yorkshire, for their part, were probably grateful they could skedaddle home with five points for the draw. Not so far away, Somerset were the big winners from this rain-wrecked four days. Even in mid-June neutrals may be tantalised by the thought that this may finally be the Wyverns' year.