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  • Specsavers County Championship 2m

    Burns impresses with sparkling hundred

    Rory Burns held Surrey together with a skilful and determined 101 after the title outsiders had been put in by Hampshire on a seaming pitch in their Specsavers County Championship Division One match at the Kia Oval.

     
    Rory Burns held Surrey together with a skilful and determined 101 after the title outsiders had been put in by Hampshire on a seaming pitch in their Specsavers County Championship Division One match at the Kia Oval.
     
    The 26-year-old left-handed opener continued his recent fine run of form as Surrey, who ended on 260 for 6 from the 80 overs possible due to bad light, were made to fight for first day runs by a four-man frontline Hampshire seam attack.
     
    Burns faced 207 balls in a superb four-and-a-half hour knock, hitting a six and 15 fours before top-edging fast bowler Brad Wheal to Tom Alsop, running in from deep square leg.
     
     
    He had reached 98 with a hook for six off Wheal and fully deserved his second Championship hundred of the season. Unfazed by being beaten several times outside his off stump, he merely concentrated on accumulating steadily while also putting away anything remotely loose with eye-catching efficiency.
     
    In his last seven Championship innings, since the start of August, Burns has scored 443 runs at an average of 74 and, overall this season, he has made 1,102 Championship runs at 44 with seven fifties besides his two centuries. He also moved past 5,000 first-class career runs when completing his half-century and his career average of 41, midway through his 76 th  first-class match, marks him out as a player of substance.
     
    Burns saw a succession of partners fall to the moving ball, before being fifth out, although his fellow opener Dominic Sibley was unfortunate to be brilliantly held by diving wicketkeeper Lewis McManus when, on 11, he tickled an authentic leg glance at Gareth Berg.
     
    That was 23 for 1, in the 13 th  over, and Kumar Sangakkara’s answer to the tricky conditions was to attack. The great Sri Lankan had made 26 from 31 balls, with five fours, when he flashed at a lifting ball from Gareth Andrew that was angled across him and edged to a jubilant McManus.
     
     
    Arun Harinath made it through to lunch alongside Burns, which Surrey took at 93 for 2, but was out shortly afterwards for 9 as he pulled Ryan McLaren straight to square leg.
     
    Steven Davies was another who favoured a positive approach, also hitting five fours, before he steered a short ball from the pacy Wheal to gully to depart for a 36-ball 32.
     
    But Ben Foakes, who added 76 in 21 overs with Burns for the fifth wicket, also batted with great judgement and authority and, when a third stoppage for bad light finally brought a premature end to the day, at  5.15pm , he had moved securely to 47 not out  from 98 balls, with seven fours .
     
    Sam Curran, after a bright 17, was caught at short leg off Liam Dawson’s left arm spin, but Tom Curran was still there on 3 not out at stumps. 
     
    Third-placed Surrey, who still have a chance of pipping leaders Middlesex and champions Yorkshire to the Championship if they win both their last two matches, owe much to Burns although Hampshire – themselves desperate for a win in their bid to beat the drop to Division Two – kept going well in the field and are certainly not out of this game yet. The second new ball is immediately due at the start of day two.

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