DAY TWO STUMPS: MIDDLESEX 395; SURREY 134-6

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Ollie Rayner took three more wickets against his favourite opponents as Middlesex’s spinners put them in control against Surrey in their Specsavers County Championship match at the Kia Oval. With 29 victims, Rayner has taken more wickets against Surrey than any other opponent and he enjoyed himself again on the ground where he took 15 wickets in 2013.

The former Sussex off-spinner picked up openers Rory Burns and Arun Harinath in four balls and then claimed the key wicket of Kumar Sangakkara before tea. Replying to Middlesex’s 395, Surrey were 134 for 6 and trailing by 261 at stumps after Malan removed Roy (47) with his second ball and Toby Roland-Jones returned to pin James Burke late in the second day for one.

Middlesex are in a strong position on a dry pitch offering turn and bounce for Rayner and reverse swing for their seamers. Harinath and Burns had negotiated testing new-ball spells by Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh to take Surrey to 40 without loss in the 21st over when Burns, aiming to leg, was caught off a leading edge for 19.

Harinath, pinned by an arm ball, followed four deliveries later and Rayner set off on an exuberant celebration with delighted team-mates in his wake when he claimed the crucial wicket of Sangakkara, whose previous eight Championship innings have brought him 531 runs. The Sri Lankan drove at a ball which turned and bounced and Murtagh held on to an excellent low catch at cover.

Surprisingly, Rayner did not bowl straight after tea but Murtagh kept the momentum going Middlesex’s way when he picked up Steven Davies (10) to a well-judged running catch by Paul Stirling in the covers off a mis-timed drive.

Roy, after a cautious start, led the fightback with some impressive straight drives against the seamers. Malan came on to bowl his leg spin and give Rayner a breather and the switch paid immediate dividends when Sam Robson held a sharp catch at short leg offered by Roy.

Roland-Jones then picked up belated reward for two fine spells from the Vauxhall End when Burke was leg before to one that nipped back. Foakes has batted nearly two hours for his unbeaten 22 and much will depend on him if Surrey are to get to 246 and at least avoid the follow-on.

Earlier, Roland-Jones and Murtagh had added to Surrey’s frustration by sharing a last-wicket stand of 68 which took Middlesex to 395 all out. Having resumed on 298 for 7, Middlesex progressed cautiously at first with James Franklin facing 65 balls before hitting his first boundary.

Tom Curran and Gareth Batty had shared the bulk of the bowling in the absence of Ravi Rampaul with a hamstring strain and Curran was rewarded with a fourth wicket when James Harris (9) played on to a ball which kept low.

Batty turned one past Franklin’s defences after the New Zealander had made 32 but Roland-Jones in particular punished anything loose and struck three sixes in an unbeaten 44 including a slog-sweep off Batty into the new Peter May Stand which brought up the 50 partnership. Murtagh (24) was eventually bowled by Burke while Curran picked up 4 for 113 from 35 overs.

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DAY TWO TEA: SURREY 68-3

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Off-spinner Ollie Rayner took three wickets, including two in three balls, to put Middlesex in control at tea on day two against Surrey at the Kia Oval.

Responding to Middlesex’s 395, Surrey openers Rory Burns and Arun Harinath survived some testing new-ball bowling by Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh to the score to 40 in the 21stover.
But then Rayner, who took 15 wickets in this fixture in 2013, had Burns (19) caught off a leading edge at mid-off as he aimed to leg before his arm ball pinned Harinath for 20.
Rayner then made an even more important breakthrough as Kumar Sangakkara was taken at point off a mis-timed drive to give Rayner figures of 3 for 17 from nine overs at tea with Surrey 68 for 3.

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DAY TWO LUNCH: MIDDLESEX 395

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Middlesex’s last pair Toby Roland Jones and Tim Murtagh frustrated Surrey with a stand of 68 before they were bowled out for 395 on the second morning at the Kia Oval.

Roland-Jones’ entertaining unbeaten 44 included three sixes before the fun ended when Murtagh (24) was bowled by James Burke.

It was a tough morning for a Surrey attack without Ravi Rampaul, who was unable to bowl because of a hamstring strain. Tom Curran bowled James Harris (9) via a bottom edge but James Franklin accelerated after a slow start to make 32 before he was bowled by a ball from Gareth Batty which turned out of the rough. But from 327 for 9, Middlesex added a further 68 runs for the final wicket.