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 V HAMPSHIRE
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.
WARWICKSHIRE V MIDDLESEX
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."
YORKSHIRE V SOMERSET