Craig Overton bowled superbly to claim career-best figures of 9/134 as Somerset beat Yorkshire by 179 runs and picked up their first Championship win of the season. A thriller at Edgbaston saw Middlesex get over the line with one wicket in hand as Warwickshire remain winless.
YORKSHIRE V SOMERSET
SURREY V HAMPSHIRE
Surrey’s Rory Burns produced one of Championship cricket’s great endurance performances to deny a spirited Hampshire side victory at the Kia Oval on Thursday.
Just when Surrey were wondering how they would replace their finest batsman, Kumar Sangakkara, and their captain, Gareth Batty, who were both injured for this match, Burns provided both great batting and impressive leadership to give his side a draw after following on.
First he batted for three minutes over ten hours as he carried his bat for a career-best 219 in a Surrey total of 483. Surrey missed out on avoiding the follow-on by just 16 runs.
Then he came straight out again and batted for another 153 minutes to score 68. By the time he was third out, at 126, Surrey were safe. Even then it took a freak dismissal to get rid of Burns. The delivery from Sean Ervine rebounded off wicketkeeper Lewis McManus’s pads and onto the stumps to leave the batsman stumped.
Burns, 26, had a previous highest score of 199. But, in general, he has a reputation for not converting his many fifties into the centuries that capture media and selectors’ attention. That was hardly the case in this match.
He looked likely to be on the field for every minute of the match, until he got out half an hour before the close, and batted from tea on Tuesday until just after tea on Thursday.
Hampshire have been terrific in this game. They found ways to take wickets on a pitch which, if anything, was a little too good. The surface started flat and slow and refused to change its personality when a little schizophrenia would have been welcome.
But Hampshire were the more deserving team. First they made the fifth highest score in the county’s history. And then they had the determination and the variety in their attack to take wickets and, but for Burns, would surely have prevailed.
Surrey resumed on the fourth day on 410 for seven, needing another 89 runs to avoid the follow-on and that looked well within reach as Burns and Tom Curran continued their unperturbed partnership.
Curran has reached his fifty off 94 balls with seven fours. In the process he has reached 1,000 first-class runs before he was bowled by Ian Holland for 53.
Holland was Hampshire’s demon bowler of the day. In his next over he bowled Amar Virdi and just as Surrey looked likely to reach their target of 499 he dismissed last man Mark Footitt.
Surprisingly, Hampshire didn’t use Holland in Surrey’s second innings until 30 overs had passed.
Then he came on and took two wickets in three balls, having Mark Stoneman lbw and then bowling Scott Borthwick for a duck. But Hampshire never looked like taking the remaining seven wickets on this track, well though they continued to bowl.
WARWICKSHIRE V MIDDLESEX
Middlesex secured a crucial Specsavers County Championship win over Warwickshire by one wicket amid scenes of the highest tension at sultry Edgbaston. A career-best 45 (77 balls, five fours) from 22-year-old Ryan Higgins, playing only his third first-class match, saw his side most of the way to a target of 234. He was eighth out with 24 still needed but last-wicket pair Tom Helm and Tim Murtagh found the seven runs required by the tenth wicket to see their side home to a victory which puts precious space between them and bottom-of-the-table Warwickshire.
For the champions, great relief and celebrations. For the home side, meanwhile, heartbreak - as they are left to contemplate a mountainous task ahead to avoid relegation with their woes compounded by a surprise win for fellow strugglers Somerset over Yorkshire at Scarborough.
After Middlesex began the day on 36 for two, they mustered a series of useful partnerships which together got an awkward job done - just! Nobody reached 50 but most got to double figures. Overnight pair Nick Compton and Dawid Malan took the score to 54 before Malan (32, 55 balls, five fours) fell lbw to a Keith Barker in-ducker.
George Panayi then ended Paul Stirling's counter-attack (15 from 12 balls) with another lbw decision but Compton and John Simpson added 43 in ten overs. Compton collected 49 from 99 balls, with five fours and a six, before he charged and missed at Jeetan Patel and was slickly stumped by Tim Ambrose.
Simpson and Higgins importantly saw their side through six overs up to lunch, at which Middlesex were 140 for five - 94 short. The sixth-wicket pair then continued to bat watchfully and took their alliance to 48 in 16 overs before Simpson (40, 87 balls, five fours) inside-edged Rikki Clarke on to pad and the ball looped to William Porterfield at gully. At 170 for six, Middlesex still needed another 64 and Higgins and James Harris found 23 of them.
Harris edged Boyd Rankin behind to spark Warwickshire hopes again and when Patel was brought back on and Harris bat-padded his first ball to short leg, Middlesex's last two wickets had to find 24. Ollie Rayner and Tom Helm collected 17. Then Rayner fell lbw to Rankin and last pair Helm and Tim Murtagh had to summon up seven. Amid scenes of excruciating tension they did so, Murtagh clubbing Rankin through the covers for a winning three before the teams left to a big ovation from spectators who had witnessed a wonderful final day's play.
After the tense finish, Middlesex captain Dawid Malan said, "It was a fantastic bounce-back by the guys to what happened at Chelmsford. To get over the line when at one point it didn't look like we would was a great effort."
Warwickshire coach Jim Troughton saw the positives in defeat, "If we put in that level of fight and effort we will get ourselves over the line in games. We know we need wins. At the back end of the season we have a lot of home games and we need to use that to our advantage."