Surrey 239 (Wilson 65, White 3-43) and 315 (Burke 73, Footitt 4-103) beat Derbyshire 207 (Rutherford 59, Fletcher 4-58) and 125 (Batty 4-32) by 222 runs
Much has been made of the players who are unavailable for selection by Surrey at the moment, rather less of the opportunities their absence affords to others. If Graham Ford, their coach, had been given a full-strength squad from which to choose, it is almost certain that neither Dominic Sibley nor James Burke would have got the nod for this game against Derbyshire, which Surrey won when they took three wickets in the extra half-hour as the home side's later batsmen seemingly lost all contact with their powers of resistance or competitive spirit.
Surrey captain Gareth Batty took the last four wickets in 6.5 overs on an evening when straight balls suddenly became lethal. From 78 for 6, when Wayne White was plumb as you like lbw to Tom Curran for 23, Derbyshire lost those last four wickets for 44 runs with Mark Footitt slogging 20 before he holed out to Burke at deep midwicket, thus ensuring that Surrey's defeat to Glamorgan last week at Guildford could be consigned to the "blip" category much beloved of coaches everywhere.
"We needed a reaction and we got it," Batty said. "I think the boys to a man were magnificent and all of them should be really proud of themselves."
Yet the Surrey hierarchy should be careful. They will rarely encounter batting quite as gutless as some of Derbyshire's was in the closing stages of this game. In his Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain Daniel Defoe enthused that he found "a great deal of good and some gay company" in Derby. Well, Derby folk remain cheerful and welcoming in the 21st century but Defoe would have been hard-pressed to find the city's cricket community in a sunny mood after they had watched the tripe their players served up on Tuesday evening. "Here we bloody go," said a local, when Billy Godleman played on to Curran for 10 in the fifth over. The trouble was the old boy had it dead right. Thirty-five overs later the players were shaking hands.
Yet when one's shock at the craven submission of Derbyshire's middle and lower order had subsided, it was clear that the challenge of scoring 348 in the fourth innings had proved far too much for Madsen's batsmen. Perhaps this was hardly surprising given that the county have never scored so many to win a game in their history and that not since 1985 have they more than 300 for victory in the fourth innings.
But in this chronicle of poor cricket, we are in danger of forgetting the excellent stuff served up by Sibley and Burke, and that will never do. It was the contrasting innings played by these talented young cricketers which seized a decisive advantage for Surrey on the third day before loanee Luke Fletcher's accurate seamers rammed home the visitors' superiority with the scalps of Hamish Rutherford and Wayne Madsen. Both batsmen edged catches to the slips and both, it should be noted, were got out; they did not present their wickets to the bowlers.
Burke and Fletcher's contributions will be fairly plain to anyone glancing at the completed scorecard in next year's Wisden. In only his third first-class appearance, the 24-year-old Burke recorded his maiden first-class fifty and his 73 was the highest individual contribution of a match in which, irony of ironies, batting was particularly difficult until the third afternoon He then dismissed Chesney Hughes and Ben Slater as Batty's bowlers ran amok in the sunlit evening.
But the smooth ease with which Surrey asserted their dominance on the third afternoon and evening should not obscure the hard work done by Sibley to build his side's winning position. When the morning session began, Surrey's No. 3 had already batted for 88 minutes, almost all of it in Monday evening's murk and drizzle.
Sibley then gritted it out for another 95 minutes, adding just 26 more runs before he was fourth out, unluckily leg before to White for 46. By then, though, Surrey were 143 for 4 and their lead was 175. Foundations had been laid. Burke was able to make hay when the sun shone because Sibley had gritted it out when it had rained.
At first, though, Burke did not have things all his own way. Rattled on the helmet by Footitt, he scored most of his runs behind the wicket before he grew in confidence. After the loss of Ben Foakes and Gary Wilson, both of whom were bowled by Derbyshire's left-arm spearhead and England hopeful, Burke added 83 for the seventh wicket with Batty, whose savvy company probably helped him as he reached his fifty. The pair's stand was the highest of the match and it broke Derbyshire.
"Burkey copped a few in the chops from Footitt but he just kept battling through," Batty said. "He played a magnificent innings and I think it turned the game."
As for Footitt, while he bowled all four of his victims and is undoubtedly rapid, he also sent down 11 no-balls and three wides. Nearly a quarter of the runs he conceded therefore required the batsmen to do no work at all. Charity runs are rarely a characteristic of Ashes Tests but then there can rarely have been a team quite as charitable as Derbyshire were on a remarkable Tuesday when 18 wickets fell. Happily for the club's many supporters, Madsen and his players did not find their coach Graeme Welch in a particularly forgiving or benevolent mood when they returned to the pavilion. The doors remained locked for an over an hour while Surrey's players celebrated both their win and an unexpected day off just a few yards away.