Warks retain control through Clarke
Division One title contenders Warwickshire were grateful for Rikki Clarke’s 4-46 as they forced Surrey to follow on 285 behind on day three of the LV= County Championship match at Edgbaston.
The 30-year-old all-rounder posted his best bowling figures of the season in his former county’s dismissal for 286, and when they made 38 without loss in their second innings, Zafar Ansari survived a big appeal for a catch at second slip.
A flat pitch continued to make life tough for the bowlers but Warwickshire found a way of speeding up progress as left-arm seamer Keith Barker taking a wicket with the second ball of the day.
Arun Harinath, stuck of the crease, went for 44, edging a catch behind the wicket without addition to the overnight partnership of 83 with Rory Burns.
The home side took two more wickets inside an hour during a rain-shortened morning and then four in the afternoon with Clarke picking up 3-7 in 29 deliveries.
With the main workload shared by four seamers, it was Chris Woakes who was first to lift the tempo after Barker’s initial breakthrough.
Following up his unbeaten century in a total of 571, the England Lions all-rounder struck twice in 14 balls as Zander de Bruyn played across the line and Jason Roy thundered a drive to Jim Troughton at mid-off.
Surrey then began to buckle alarmingly;Steven Davies gave Clarke his first wicket, angling a low catch to William Porterfield in the gully, and Burns was unseated when Warwickshire teamed up their tallest bowlers.
Possibly unsettled in fending off a rearing delivery from the 6ft 8in Boyd Rankin, the young Surrey left hander launched a leaden-footed drive when tempted outside the off stump by the 6ft 4in Clarke.
Having batted for nearly four hours since he was dropped first ball, he paid the price for giving wicketkeeper Richard Johnson a second chance and departed when only two short of matching his championship-best 79 in the previous match against Nottinghamshire.
A straightforward lbw decision enabled the fired-up Clarke to see off Chris Jordan, but Surrey found some resolve as Stuart Meaker added 102 runs in partnerships with Gareth Batty and Jon Lewis.
After Batty had fallen lbw for 28 in Barker’s first over with the new ball, Meaker went on to make 41 before a back-foot drive off Clarke resulted in another catch for Porterfield in the gully area.
Porterfield also wrapped up the innings when stretching above his head to hold an edge from Murali Kartik for Rankin’s only wicket so far in his first county match of an injury-shortened summer.
Meanwhile, off the field, Surrey’s captain Rory Hamilton-Brown arrived at Edgbaston on Sunday morning to meet up with his team after a month on compassionate leave following the tragic death of Tom Maynard.