• Specsavers County Championship 7m

    Div One reports: Burns bats all day

    Rory Burns batted all day for a sublime 174* & Somerset take control against Yorkshire

    Day Three in the County Championship's Division One saw Hampshire and Somerset imposing themselves, while Middlesex will be aiming to steady the ship after a shaky start in their second innings.

    Surrey 410/7 v Hampshire 648/7d
    Yorkshire 213 v Somerset 268 & 234/3
    Warwickshire 334 & 233 v Middlesex 334 & 36/2


    Rory Burns stood alone for Surrey against Hampshire on the third day of their match at The Kia Oval. Surrey’s acting captain, standing in for the injured Gareth Batty, scored his first century of the season as his side battled to save the follow-on against a bowling unit that displayed more aggression, variety and experience than the home side had managed on the opening two days.

    Apart from a dogged half-century from Dominic Sibley, the only meaningful resistance came from Burns, who scored an unbeaten 174 in a Surrey total of 410 for seven as they pursued an epic 499 just to avoid the follow-on. He was dropped twice, on 98 and 154, but otherwise never looked in trouble against Hampshire’s spirited attack that toiled away on the hottest day of the match.

    Surrey resumed on 113 for one in reply to Hampshire’s epic 648 and were glued together all day by the determined Burns. In the fourth over of the morning Hampshire’s gifted leg-spinner Mason Crane straightened one nicely and nightwatchman Conor McKerr, on the back foot, was lbw for one. But it was when Surrey lost a proper batsman, Scott Borthwick, for a meagre three, that Surrey supporters realised they had a battle on their hands. It was 137 for three when Borthwick got a very thin edge to one from Kyle Abbott and was caught behind. But already Burns was looking immense.

    Jason Roy played an attacking cameo of an innings, and attempted to break the stranglehold Crane had on the side from the Vauhall End. In the same over Roy hit Crane over midwicket and then straight-drove him for another boundary.  But he had scored only 27 when he was lbw to one that moved back into him from Gareth Berg, who had replaced Abbott at the Pavilion End.  Surrey were wobbling at 204 for four at lunch, with Burns on 88.

    Burns survived his first chance when he was dropped at first slip by Sean Irvine off Fidel Edwards, a difficult chance.  He and Sibley then took their fifth wicket stand to 104.  But then Sibley shouldered arms to a ball that ball nipped back and had him lbw for 57.  He had batted for 134 deliveries and hit eight fours; 297 for five.

    Surrey were showing plenty of character but then they were rocked by a fiery spell from Edwards after tea. Edwards really bent his back and dug one in short to Ben Foakes. The Surrey keeper pulled it straight to midwicket where Rilee Rossouw held on to a good catch. In his next over Edwards induced Sam Curran to edge one between wicketkeeper and first slip. Then he found the outside edge again and this time the batsman edged to the keeper to make it 348 for seven. Edwards then gave Tom Curran a torrid time but he and the admirable Burns saw Surrey through to the close without further mishap.


    A compelling denouement is in prospect at Edgbaston where Middlesex will resume on the final morning of their crucial Specsavers County Championship tussle with Warwickshire on 36 for two, needing 234 to win. After both teams totalled 334 in their first innings, the third day saw Jonathan Trott, captaining Warwickshire with Ian Bell sidelined by a sore elbow, prop up his side's second innings with 99 (199 balls, six fours and a six).

    Trott defied skilfully on a pitch offering some variable bounce and against a Middlesex attack which performed admirably to compensate for the absence of Steve Finn and Toby Roland-Jones. Tom Helm led the way with his maiden five-for, bowling with pace and aggression to take the first two wickets and the last three to end with five for 59. Victory here would be a huge boost to either side in their survival battle, and the match is intriguingly poised going into the final day with all results still possible.

    After Middlesex resumed on 302 for six, they added only another 32. Steve Eskinazi's career-best 179 (243 balls, 24 fours, three sixes) was ended by Keith Barker's first ball of the morning which knocked out off-stump. Ollie Rayner played on to Barker before Rikki Clarke had Helm caught by Andy Umeed at first slip and Tim Murtagh caught behind. Warwickshire's second innings was quickly damaged by Helm whose excellent new-ball spell accounted for William Porterfield, caught at second slip, and Andy Umeed, lbw.

    After Trott and Sam Hain (37, 62 balls, four fours) added 63, Middlesex struck twice again when Hain edged Ryan Higgins to second slip and Matt Lamb nicked James Harris behind. That was 85 for four but Trott and Ambrose (44, 61 balls, three fours) knuckled down to add 94 in 23.3 overs before Ambrose fell lbw to Dawid Malan in the last over before tea. Murtagh removed Clarke with a ball which exploded off a length and looped off the bat to gully.

    Barker clipped Malan to mid-wicket and then Helm returned to wrap up the tail with three wickets - Trott, who pulled a short ball straight to Nick Compton at mid-wicket, Jeetan Patel and George  Panayi - in eight balls.In 13 overs before the close, Middlesex lurched to one for two after Sam Robson fell lbw to Clarke, completing a pair, and Eskinazi edged Barker to Ambrose, but Malan and Compton saw it calmly through to the close.

    Helm said at the close of play: "It's pretty special to get my first five-for. I probably got bit of luck at times today but I guess they all count.

    "I have struggled a bit with my rhythm over the last few weeks so it was good that it came out nicely today. Hopefully I can carry it on next week."


    Somerset are on course for a first Specsavers County Championship win of the season against Yorkshire at Scarborough following a dominant third day. Lewis Gregory’s side claimed a first-innings lead of 55 during the opening hour of play before confidently accruing a total which will severely test Yorkshire on day four despite improving batting conditions. Somerset closed on 234 for three from 68.3 overs, a lead of 289.
    They upped the ante through third-wicket pair Tim Rouse and James Hildreth from midway through the afternoon onwards and have certainly not played like a team without a win in their previous seven matches this season. The pair shared 144 inside 34 overs, with Rouse scoring 69 off 116 balls on debut and Hildreth 85 not out off 111. Things have not gone Yorkshire’s way, highlighted by injuries to key bowlers Ryan Sidebottom and Liam Plunkett. Sidebottom went down with an injury to his back/side early on day one and has only returned to the field to bat.
    Today, England limited overs quick Plunkett left the field with a groin injury after gingerly completing his sixth over in Somerset’s second innings. His fitness is of immediate importance given the start of the NatWest T20 Blast this weekend. Sidebottom, on the other hand, is not part of Yorkshire’s Blast plans and has until August 6 to get fit for the Festival clash against leaders Essex.
    Yorkshire started the day on 159 for seven in their first innings and could only add 54 more runs. Stand-in skipper Gregory claimed his first two wickets of the innings, bowling Plunkett for 19 and getting Adil Rashid caught at third-man uppercutting for an innings-high score of 49. Craig Overton finished with five for 87 from 24 overs, while Tim Groenewald claimed his third wicket when, sandwiched in between the two Gregory strikes, he had Ben Coad (15) caught at first slip.
    The early stages of the Somerset’s second innings proved to be a case of slow and steady. Marcus Trescothick and Ed Byrom shared 53 inside 24 overs either side of lunch. Byrom was dropped on 24 by Tim Bresnan at slip off Plunkett in the 17th over, with 37 on the board, the Yorkshire skipper’s second missed opportunity in the game. But the hosts did make the breakthrough in the 24th - Plunkett had gone off by this stage - when Coad had Trescothick caught at second slip by Adam Lyth for 27.
    Part-time medium pacer Harry Brook picked up his maiden wicket in the 34th over when left-handed Byrom failed to keep out an in-swinging yorker as Somerset fell to 80 for two, leading by 135. Rouse and Hildreth increased the run-rate in the second half of the afternoon and did not let Rashid, in particular, settle. Three milestones then came in the space of a couple of overs in the early stages of the evening. Hildreth reached 50 off 82 balls and Rouse off 97 as the pair recorded their century stand.
    Play was suspended for bad light at 5pm with Somerset 191 for two from 62 overs, leading by 246 with 25 overs remaining in the day. Play resumed at 5.25pm with 18 overs left in the day, but only 6.3 more were bowled before more bad light ended the day at 5.50pm. Coad did manage to force Rouse to chop on during the brief spell late in the day.


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