v Surrey 19-22 May

Match Report Specsavers County Championship 19 May 2017

SURREY 265/5
Kumar Sangakkara stroked an elegant 113 not out in Surrey’s opening day 265 for 5 against Middlesex at Lord’s after enjoying the rare distinction of walking through the Pavilion past his own recently-commissioned portrait.
MCC unveiled portraits of both Sangakkara and his fellow former Sri Lankan international batting great Mahela Jayawardene, a close friend, before Surrey – who themselves declined the option of bowling first – were put into bat by Middlesex captain James Franklin in an eagerly-awaited Specsavers County Championship London derby clash between the champions and the early-season Division One leaders.
The paintings were on display for the first time as, out in the middle, the 39-year-old Sangakkara showcased his enduring class to lead a Surrey recovery from 83 for 3. That represented a worrying slide from 55 without loss, but Sangakkara was then joined by Dom Sibley in a fourth wicket partnership of 114 in 33 overs which steadied Surrey’s ship.
The 21-year-old Sibley fought hard to reach 54 from 111 balls, with eight fours, before edging a deserving Tom Helm to Adam Voges at first slip. Earlier, when he had made just 22, Sibley was dropped in the same position, waist high to his left, by Voges off Helm.
Sangakkara, on 24, would have been run out if Toby Roland-Jones, veering across the pitch in his follow through to get to the ball, had hit the bowler’s stumps on the turn from short mid wicket when the left-hander with 134 Test caps and more than 28,000 international runs to his name had been sent back by Sibley.
That scare apart, however, there was little in the pitch or from the Middlesex attack that seemed to trouble Sangakkara as he drove beautifully through the covers, picked up further runs with a succession of flicks off his pads and, when Franklin twice overpitched, punched the left-arm seamer down the ground for two of his 11 fours.
There were also two sixes from successive balls for Sangakkara, playing in his 254th first-class match, with both blows struck into the stands over midwicket off Ollie Rayner’s off spin. They took him to 95 and, soon, he was easing Rayner through the cover ring for three runs to go to his 97th century in all senior cricket.
Ben Foakes, for 19, also fell to a thin edge behind off Steven Finn just before heavy rain arrived to wash away the remaining 24 scheduled overs of the day.
Earlier, a spectacular catch at second slip by Rayner was the highlight of a fascinating morning session as Surrey started well but then lost three wickets in quick succession before Sangakkara and Sibley counter-attacked after lunch.
Rayner dived to scoop up right-handed and just millimetres from the turf an edge from Rory Burns that looked as if it could not possibly carry to the waiting slip cordon. That ended a defiant 33 from the left-handed Burns and gave Franklin, Middlesex’s captain, the second of two crucial wickets.
Franklin had also pinned Scott Borthwick lbw for 8 with one that skidded on and defeated the Surrey No 3’s attempt to flick it to leg off the back foot, while Finn earlier made the initial breakthrough by tempting Mark Stoneman, on 33, to chase a widish ball and edge to keeper John Simpson.
Stoneman, who survived a chance to gully when 20 during a testing new ball spell by Helm, had put on 55 with Burns after Surrey had declined the chance to bowl first themselves under cloudy skies – forcing a toss which Middlesex won, prompting Franklin to choose to bowl.
The surface, though, looked a good one although there was always something in it for the faster bowlers and, either side of losing their first three wickets, Surrey’s excellent progress certainly supported their decision to bat first. By the close, though, it had become clear that Sangakkara’s brilliance was simply the difference between the two sides in these opening exchanges.
Both Sangakkara and Jayawardene took part in multiple sittings with Surrey-based artist Antony Williams, and the completed images now take their rightful place in the Lord’s Pavilion alongside pictures of other cricket heroes such as Sir Viv Richards and Glenn McGrath.
Sangakkara said: “I was humbled when I was asked to sit for the portrait commissioned by MCC. It is a great honour. I wanted to know how I would be represented through Antony's eyes; not just my expressions or my physical appearance but how he would interpret me as a whole. Having seen the final portrait, I was so very pleasantly surprised, unnerved and a bit embarrassed seeing myself in a frame on canvas but thoroughly happy with the work done.”
Dawid Malan hit his maiden century of the season as Middlesex enjoyed the best of the second day of the first Specsavers County Championship London derby of the season at Lord’s.

Malan combined with his Middlesex sixth-wicket partner James Franklin to add an unbroken 92 through to stumps - cutting Surrey’s first-innings lead to a modest 17 and taking the hosts into the third day on 296 for five. 
Just before the close Malan reached three figures from 169 balls and with 15 fours, while Franklin faced only 67 deliveries in his livewire knock worth 63.     

Responding to Surrey’s workmanlike 313 all out, Middlesex openers Nick Compton and Nick Gubbins added 20 either side of lunch. Gubbins rode his luck to start, playing and missing he survived three strenuous lbw appeals as the Curran brothers, Tom and Sam, set a stern examination with the new ball.

On 17 Gubbins, moved across his stumps to go lbw after prodding hesitantly outside the line off a late away-swinger – the first ball of the mid-session from Sam Curran. 

Curran gave way at the Nursery End to fellow left-armer Mark Footitt, who produced a beauty to account for Compton, the former England bat who ultimately did well to edge to the keeper after the ball lifted and left him off the pitch.  

Home No3 Stevie Eskinazi also enjoyed some good fortune. On 29 he was dropped at second slip by Scott Borthwick then, on 41, Eskinazi dragged an attempted drive against Stuart Meaker just wide of his own off stump. Undaunted, the South Africa-born right-hander continued to go for his shots in moving to a 64-ball 50 with nine fours. 

In a final session scheduled for 45 overs, Eskinazi – who moved past 1,000 first-class career runs during his stay – departed for 67 after feathering a Footitt leg-cutter to the keeper. He and Malan had added 100 for the third wicket.

After almost two hours at the crease Malan moved to his maiden half-century of the championship summer from 85 balls and with nine fours.  

Borthwick then made amends for his earlier blunder by holding a stinging overhead chance in the cordon to account for Adam Voges (9) and give Stuart Meaker a first scalp.

Footitt stuck for a third time by trapping John Simpson leg before as he worked across the line to leg, bringing together James Franklin and Malan, who survived through to stumps.  

Surrey, resuming on their overnight score of 265 for five, had earlier conspired to lose their last five wickets for 48 runs and inside the first 90 minutes of the opening session.

Their first-day century maker Kumar Sangakkara started the demise, perishing to the 12th delivery of the morning. Having added a single to his Friday-night score of 113, the Sri Lanka legend, in aiming a back-foot force against Franklin, picked out Ollie Rayner low at gully.

One run later and in his next over, Franklin, the New Zealand left-arm seamer, swung one away from Sam Curran who obligingly followed and edged to Rayner at second slip. Curran walked off with two to his name and the feeling, perhaps, that he might have allowed the delivery to swing harmlessly by.

His brother, Tom Curran, then sparred at a spitting delivery from Toby Roland-Jones and edge into the cordon where Rayner, back at second slip, snaffled his third catch inside 25 minutes.

Gareth Batty, the Surrey skipper, joined forces with Stuart Meaker to post the visitors third batting bonus point before Batty, in aiming a hook against Tom Helm, skied to mid-on where Steven Finn took an excellent tumbling catch.

With 313 on the board, Meaker cut a wayward delivery obligingly to backward point to give Helm figures of three for 81. However, Franklin was easily pick of the home attack with his four for 40 from 15 overs.  

SURREY 194/4
The remarkable Kumar Sangakkara frustrated champions Middlesex for the second time in three days at Lord’s, reaching his 60th first-class century and adding an unbeaten 116 to his first innings 114 to lead Surrey’s resistance in the Specsavers County Championship’s London derby.
The unveiling of a portrait of himself in the Lord’s Pavilion, just before this match, seems to have inspired the 39-year-old Sri Lankan great to add further lustre to his already magnificent career. Sangakkara passes the painting, commissioned by MCC, every time he walks from Surrey’s dressing room on to the field, and back again.
At the end of a keenly-contested third day, in a game of true ebb and flow, Division One leaders Surrey were 96 runs ahead on 194 for 4 in their second innings, having conceded a first innings deficit of 98 when Middlesex converted their overnight 296 for 5 to 411 all out with James Franklin hitting the 22nd first-class hundred of his career.
Surrey looked in some trouble when Toby Roland-Jones struck twice in a superb new ball spell of 6-2-15-2 to leave the visitors wobbling at 16 for 2. But Sangakkara then joined Scott Borthwick in a battling third wicket partnership which was worth 123 in 44 overs by the time Borthwick was leg-before to off spinner Ollie Rayner for a three-hour 49.
Roland-Jones rekindled Middlesex hopes of victory by returning for a third spell in the final hour, from the Nursery End, to bowl Dom Sibley for 9 with a beauty which left the right-hander to hit his off stump as he pushed forward defensively.
Still, however, Sangakkara remained. His 98th hundred in all senior cricket – a tally which includes 38 in 134 Tests and a further 25 from 404 one-day international appearances – arrived from 174 balls and, by stumps, the former Sri Lanka captain had faced 199 balls, stroking 14 fours. When 108, Sangakkara also reached 20,000 first-class runs.
Running in hard from the Pavilion End at the start of Surrey’s second innings, Roland-Jones had initially seen Mark Stoneman caught at first slip for 0 and Rory Burns leg-before for 10, to one which nipped back up the slope, after also offering a beefy 30 from 38 balls with the bat in the latter stages of the Middlesex first innings.
Franklin, the 36-year-old former New Zealand all-rounder, went on from his overnight 63 to score 112 from 134 balls before slashing Stuart Meaker to third man ten minutes before lunch. His potentially game-deciding sixth wicket stand with fellow left-hander Dawid Malan had reached 130 before Malan aimed a pull at Meaker’s first ball of the morning and gloved a legside catch to a tumbling Ben Foakes behind the stumps.
Malan, on 103 at the start of the day, made 115 from 214 balls in five hours of hard graft, punctuated by 16 fours – many of them elegant drives and clips off his pad – and his dismissal brought in Roland-Jones to offer some thumping strokes of his own in an invaluable partnership with Franklin that realised 53 more runs in ten overs.
Roland-Jones, who pulled Mark Footitt for six and plundered three fours in five balls from one Meaker over, then drove Tom Curran straight to mid off before Franklin finally fell – having hit four sixes and 14 fours in a superb effort – while both Tom Helm and Ollie Rayner were out cheaply in the first two overs after lunch.
Meaker finished with the slightly flattering figures of 4 for 92 and Tom Curran, the pick of Surrey’s seam quartet, deserved his two late wickets.
Middlesex head coach Richard Scott paid tribute to the third day efforts James Franklin and Toby Roland-Jones, who so far in Surrey’s second innings has figures of 3 for 39 from 17 overs.
Scott said: “Toby is so whole-hearted, he’s a warrior. He just keeps on running in day in and day out and at the moment he’s the first name down on our team sheet, to be honest. His new ball spell was superb and he all but bowled Sangakkara first ball too. Then there was his batting today – he came in and upped the tempo to make sure we got a decent first innings lead.
“As for James Franklin, that was a class hundred. He played brilliantly towards the end of day two, giving us fresh impetus in partnership with Dawid Malan and the confidence to go on and get that lead. His innings and his four wickets in Surrey’s first innings are major contributions and, with them just 96 runs ahead and with the second new ball due in eight overs’ time, we are looking forward to tomorrow’s final day.
“A win here would be a big lift for the team. We were robbed of victory in our last game here, against Essex, because of bad weather and we have ten days off following this match so to win this would give us some good momentum going forward from here. We have got better as this game has gone on, after what was overall a disappointing first day, and in many ways we have bossed it since. So, to finish it off tomorrow would be a great achievement.”
This year’s first London derby ended in parity as title-chasing Surrey left Lord’s with a hard-earned draw against near neighbours and reigning Specsavers County Champions Middlesex.    

The players shook hands on the draw with Middlesex on 92 for two and having turned down the thrills and potential spills of a possible last afternoon run chase.

Despite the batting heroics of Surrey’s Kumar Sangakkara – he hit his 59th and 60th first-class hundreds on the first and third days of the match – it was Middlesex who generally edged events over the four days to bank 13 Division 1 points, while Surrey headed home with 11.

In pursuit of an unlikely victory target of 242 off 39 overs – at an asking rate of 6.2 an over – Middlesex lost opener Nick Gubbins in the fourth over when, in pulling a short one from Sam Curran, he was adjudged caught behind by Ben Foakes behind the stumps.

Soon after tea Nick Compton pulled a Mark Footitt bouncer down the throat of the long-leg fielder to go for 18 and put paid to any lingering hopes of a late afternoon run chase as the hosts batted out time for their third draw of the campaign.

Surrey’s first casualty of the morning proved an unpopular one with the good smattering of supporters sat in the base of the Grandstand, many of whom had turned up on the fourth day to watch Sangakkara bat with the sun on his back.

The Sri Lanka legend, who had posted his second century of the match and his fourth of the season on day three, added only four to his overnight score when he perished in the sixth over of the final day.

Prodding in defence, the 39-year-old left-hander - who is averaging 98.66 after four championship starts for the Brown Caps - followed a James Franklin leg-cutter and edged low to John Simpson, the Middlesex keeper.

Sam Curran and Foakes then combined to see off the new ball and add 83 for the sixth wicket. Both went to deserved 50s, Foakes from 116 balls, while Curran needed only 88.

The stand ended four deliveries before the scheduled lunch break when Curran, pushing forward at one from Ollie Rayner that turned and lifted, feathered to Simpson to depart for 51 and give Rayner his second wicket of the match.

The Middlesex off-spinner bagged a third in the mid-session when he tossed one up above the eyeline of Tom Curran (22) and turned it through the gate to clip the top of middle and leg stumps. 

With a lead over 230 and the game seemingly as good as safe, Surrey skipper Gareth Batty departed lbw to a shooting off-cutter from Toby Roland-Jones – who took four for 76 – and a run later, Stuart Meaker was bowled by Dawid Malan, the occasional Middlesex leg-spinner, who skidded one through to clip the top of off stump.

With his side 241 ahead and his partner Foakes high and dry on 67 not out, Surrey’s last man Footitt spooned a catch to mid-wicket to gift Malan a second wicket and leave the hosts with an improbable run-a-ball victory chase that would prove well beyond their compass.

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