Surrey edge action-packed day
Surrey appeared to hold a slight advantage after day three of their LV= County Championship match against Worcestershire thanks to Stuart Meaker’s career-best 6-39 and an unbeaten run-a-ball 55 from Rory Hamilton-Brown at the Kia Oval.
On a pitch offering decent carry and plenty of sideways movement, 19 wickets fell on day three, which ended with Surrey 152 ahead on 131 for six.
Aiming to build on the hosts’ first-innings lead of 21, Jason Roy clubbed David Lucas straight down the ground for six only to fall to a superb catch at second slip off Alan Richardson three overs later.
Steven Davies, looking to drive through mid-on, then had his off stump rocked back by Lucas and, with Zander de Bruyn and Mark Ramprakash both being pinned on the crease by Richardson and Tom Maynard getting a leading edge to mid-off, the hosts soon found themselves on 59 for five.
It was left to Hamilton-Brown to boost his side’s hopes. The skipper added 44 with Chris Jordan and remained at the crease alongside Gareth Batty at stumps.
Earlier in the day, after resuming on 123 for seven, Surrey only lasted a further 40 minutes before they were dismissed for 140 - their lowest first-innings total at this venue since September 1999.
Ben Scott produced a superb catch off Richardson, low and to his left behind the stumps, to see the back of Meaker.
Batty drove Lucas through extra-cover off the back foot for four, but departed next ball attempting to repeat the dose. Two deliveries later, Lucas struck again when Jade Dernbach edged behind.
When Worcestershire replied, Michael Klinger got off the mark with an attractive cover drive off Zander de Bruyn before becoming the first of three scalps for Jon Lewis, who opened up with four straight maidens.
Daryl Mitchell drove boundaries through mid-on and cover off de Bruyn before Vikram Solanki fell to an outstanding two-handed catch by Jordan at point.
Just before lunch, Meaker struck twice in the space of four deliveries by trapping Moeen Ali lbw and having Mitchell caught at second slip.
Alexei Kervezee was next to go, caught at second slip off Lewis. With Scott edging a drive to Davies and Shaaiq Choudhry giving Maynard a fourth catch, Worcestershire were 56 for seven.
Four overs later, Lucas played down the wrong line to become Meaker’s 100th victim in first-class cricket, but thanks to James Cameron, who made 41 off 94 balls, Surrey allowed Worcestershire to wriggle off the hook.
Cameron found a useful ally in the shape of Richard Jones, who held firm in a stand of 41 for the ninth wicket.
Jones was eventually caught at first slip off Dernbach and Cameron, pulling, was the last man to go, caught behind off a thin edge.