Friday, 30 August 2013

Surrey v Derbyshire day 2

I'll say one thing about this Derbyshire side.

They can't half battle.

Ignoring any disagreement over team selection, the guys who have taken the field for this match have done just what they did in the two previous ones and taken the fight to the opposition. Just before tea today I thought we were looking at a deficit of 150, which would almost certainly have spelt the end of our ambitions in this match. Yet back they came again and the advent of the second new ball saw the last four Surrey wickets fall for just two runs.

I have nothing but admiration for Mark Footitt. The leader of the pack bowled with controlled aggression all day and returned the superb figures of 4-50 in 19 overs, neatly topping and tailing the Surrey innings with some hostile bowling that saw the key wicket of Hasim Amla go early, as it had to do if we were to stay in the game after an average day with the bat yesterday.

Yet he was followed by Solanki, de Bruyn and Davies, good, experienced players all and capable of taking Surrey out of reach of our young side. Solanki got his customary runs (his career average must be 50-plus against us) but the rest were cut off in their prime and a lead of seventy was probably a hundred less than Surrey would have wanted on a pitch increasingly taking spin.

Full marks to David Wainwright too for a long and canny spell at two an over that brought him three wickets, while youngsters Higginbottom, Burgoyne and Hughes toiled away for less reward. Mind you, it was somewhat ironic that Mark and Matt should so suddenly finish the Surrey innings, two players whose current contracts expire at the end of the season. Both are doing all they can to earn another deal and Footitt's championship scalps (30) are now down to a respectable thirty runs each. To give him credit where it is due, he has stood up to the challenge of cricket at a higher level and shown himself good enough - and, crucially, fit enough.

Ben Slater and Paul Borrington deserve pats on the back for reducing the deficit to 57 by the close, without being parted. The mental examination of opening the batting after a day in the field is considerable, but they got there and tomorrow is another huge day for their side. If they can put forty or fifty together, our opponents will start to get very edgy...

It is much easier to say than do on a deteriorating wicket, but if we could get up to 275-plus I don't think Surrey would fancy chasing 200 on the last day. You never can tell, as the big name batsmen at the top of their order should be capable of taking the game by the throat, but our first task is to get runs in the bank tomorrow. If every one of our batsmen played to their season average, we'd make 285, just so you know.

So much, again, depends on Wayne Madsen and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. One of the others has the opportunity to become a hero, but to get the runs that we need, someone has to get seventy or eighty-plus. You still cannot discount the side having a bad session, or day, but the demolition of Middlesex by Somerset today has put both sides under pressure and it will be fascinating to see which one copes with that the best.

Tim Tremlett didn't bowl tonight and his absence would give us a timely boost, yet we must prepare to face him and bat the day. It is a situation tailor-made for Shiv and if he or the skipper makes runs, we will win.

There you go. I've said it.


Gary said...

I think we have a chance if Tim Tremlett has a bowl tomorrow Peakfan! Seriously a good effort to keep them down to that total and totally agree with your comments about Footit. He has been superb the 2nd half of the season.
Need to bat for pretty much all of tomorrow to set a testing target I would guess - good moment for Chanderpaul to prove his worth and remind everyone why he is no 2 in the world

Anonymous said...

Surrey plainly have the edge but this is a finely balanced game. I shall be at the oval tomorrow and am very much looking forward to it.
I find it extraordinary that anyone can criticise timmy g or chesney. Ultimately this is just a cricket game, paternity leave is now firmly established, people who do far more important jobs than cricketers (eg doctors, nurses, teachers, firemen, police officers) take it all the time and rightly so. That is not to diminish the enjoyment we all get from cricket, or the individual importance of certain players and the effect their absence can have, just to recognise that a sense of perspective is necessary. As CLR James put it (I think): what do they of cricket know who only cricket know?

Spireite Tim

Peakfan said...

Totally agree Tim!

notoveryet said...

Groenewald and Hughes' aren't playing, so whether you think it's right or not, it's the way of the world now, so get over it and move on. The team selection is another thing though, and Palladino's omission is likely to lose us this game.

A batter had to come in, as did Wainwright to partner Burgoyne on this pitch, which left Poynton, Johnson, Hughes or Higginbottom losing out if Palladino played. All have played a part in the last two wins, so it would have been tough on them, but that's team sports for you.

I'd bet there wasn't a Derbyshire player who didn't want Palladino in the team yesterday, much as they wouldn't have wanted to miss out themselves, and not a Surrey player who didn't cheer up when they heard he wasn't.

Instead what we got was blind loyalty to the players who had played a part in the two wins, regardless of its effect on the shape of the bowling side. All credit to Footitt yet again (who seems to grow the less experienced the attack he's part of) and Wainwright, but Higginbottom and Hughes were put to the sword today, and may well have lost this match and the chances of avoiding relegation. Until Higginbottom's late rattle of wickets, he and Hughes had gone for 100 runs (plus plenty of extras) in 21 overs without a wicket, in a match where no-one else has gone for more than 3 an over, and most for little over 2.

They didn't suddenly become bad bowlers overnight, and I don't blame them. Both were put in situations that were completely new to them with no safety net. Higginbottom was taking the new ball for the first time with the weight of responsibility, and from the sound of the commentary, tried to bowl too fast and lost control. Hughes (for all his undoubted spirit) does not have the pace or skill to bowl first change and had nowhere to go when Solanki decided to go after him. Despite a wicket in his first over, Burgoyne suffered too by finding himself bowling much earlier than he should have been, simply because Higginbottom and Hughes had been hit out of the attack. Taken together. the youngsters went for 173-3 in 47 overs, against 96-7 in 42 overs from Footitt and Wainwright. Even if Palladino had not been at his best, or able to bowl the number of overs he usually manages, he would not have been anywhere near this expensive, and his presence would probably have allowed Higginbottom, Hughes and Burgoyne to bowl at a time and in a situation they were comfortable in.

In this context, Krikken's comments tonight beggar belief. He tells us that "The ends are bare. There’s more grass further down the wicket for the seamers and you feel that’s going to hold but it will spin more and more." So that explains the two spinners, and I think we can all agree with that. But if there's grass further down the wicket for the seamers that will hold for the game, wouldn't that suggest that the strongest seam attack we could put out might not be a bad idea as well, and leave out one of the marginal batters? Particularly when Palladino is no mug with a bat, so won't significantly weaken the batting?

Miracles might happen, but I think a lead of 80 will be too many to overcome. With Somerset's win over Middlesex, our chances of survival will be hanging by a thread again. And I will put the blame for that firmly at Karl Krikken's door. He clearly has a lot to offer, but team selection is not one of them. if we're losing, he veers from one madcap selection to another, if we're winning he sticks with what he's got. This nearly cost us promotion last year, and it might now cost us relegation this year.

Peakfan said...

In common with you and, it seems, a few other supporters I expected and would have liked Tony in this side, notoveryet.
As I have written before though, we're not the ones whose jobs rely on any given selection and the correctness of it.
Krikk must have thought that the eleven that took to the pitch represented his best chance of winning the game. Trust? Blind faith? A cunning plan? Don't know, but the decision was made and we abide by it, much as you suggest should be done with the Groenewald/Hughes issue (I fully agree, by the way)
I'm not sure we can get the 200 lead which would give us a very good chance, but we will undoubtedly hear more from the coach at the end of the game.
If he ends up winning, he's a genius, if we don't, the opposite. Such is the way with fan reaction to the selection of 'their' team.

Marc said...

If it,s any consolation,my Surrey friend still thinks Derbyshire will win if they can post a 200 lead. He reckons by tomorrow the pitch could be very tough indeed to bat on.Mmmmmm..

I think if you can bowl the opposition out for less than 300,most people would probably settle for that,most of the time. When defending a score of just over 200,it is imperitive and by doing so we have just about kept ourselves in the frame. Like Notoveryet,I cannot understand the thinking behind Palladino,s omission which,no matter which angle you may view it,has not enhanced our chances of winning.If his importance has now diminished then I would fully expect him to take part in our one day matches from now on.

Some may point out Clare,Turner and Groenewald,s absense as a factor but even had they been available there is no guarantee Krikken would have picked them. It is an inescapable fact that Krikken,s thinking has fundamentally shifted in recent times and on the back of two wins is perhaps convinced he has stumbled on a winning formula.

That formula had been held together by the glue of Madsen,Footitt and Groenewald with sticking plaster provided by the likes of Slater and Johnson. Most of the remainder have only had a marginal influence on proceedings.

All the batsmen need to have a major influence on proceedings today,if we are to attain a total which would place Surrey under real pressure. We mustn,t forget they need to win this every bit as much as we do,with Somerset having already bagged their points. It is vital we get these runs on the board and we have to be more positive than we were in the first innings. I,m not saying we need to be smashing boundaries every other ball but we cannot allow the bowlers to dictate as we did in the first innings. The batsmen will have a limited lifespan on this wearing pitch and they need to accumulate some runs while they have the chance.

If we have a decent morning and can emerge in batting credit for the loss of no more than one or two wickets we could yet turn this match around. We need at least a couple of players to make 70 or 80 and aim for a total around the 300 mark. Not easy but by no means impossible. Could be an interesting day.