Dan Worrall’s spectacular 26-ball flurry from five wickets for a run torpedoed Middlesex’s opening innings against Surrey in the London derby at the Kia Oval.
A 152 partnership between Sam Robson and Pieter Malan had threatened to put Middlesex under early control before champions Surrey put up a dramatic and thrilling battle to beat them for 209. In response, Surrey went 21 without a loss in five overs by strains, with Rory Burns 15 not extinct.
On a rollercoaster County Championship opening day, Middlesex’s last nine wickets dropped to just 43 runs from 21.1 overs after Robson made 76 and Malan an equally determined 66.
Worrall was left with 5-48, while Gus Atkinson was Surrey’s other star performer with 3-18 and deservedly finished Middlesex’s innings having Luke Hollman taken behind for five thin edges of a hook.
It was the pacy Atkinson, indeed, who started the turnaround by striking out both Robson and Malan just before tea. Robson edged Dom Sibley with his head held high at first slip and Malan was pinned lbw, before Worrall and Kemar Roach combined to deadly effect to net Middlesex’s midfield order in the final session.
Stevie Eskinazi edged the third ball after tea to go for 13, pocketed safely by Sibley again off Worrall, and the same bowler then returned John Simpson for a duck, Sibley taking a third strike.
Roach cut one off the seam for Ryan Higgins to get caught behind and in the next Worrall had Max Holden, aiming in the leg, caught low on the second slide by Will Jacks.
Toby Roland-Jones sliced Worrall to the back spot and, three balls later, Worrall produced an unplayable out-swinger to hit the top of Ethan Bamber’s stump.
In truth, Surrey’s five-speed attack didn’t quite make it in a morning session that was cut short by five minutes due to the threat of lightning from thunderclouds. thunderstorm rolling over South London.
Even though there was both swinging and sewing motion available from a green-tinted surface, prompting the Surrey Burns captain to play first in winning the toss, there was too much inconsistency in length and line and – linked to certain moments of good fortune – it allowed Robson and Malan to flourish.
Middlesex’s second pair of wickets played positively, sensibly and with quite a bit of skill to add 97 to nearly four runs over in the pre-lunch session, although Roach may have had the misfortune to not to add to his early dismissal of Mark Stoneman, which he played through the carries around the wicket.
Worrall, however, was not at his best in a new five-ball spell costing 23 points and neither Jordan Clark nor Sean Abbott could put the pressure on Middlesex with Robson in particular impressive with 14 fours in his first score at the above fifty this season. – a number of them have beautifully struck straights on either side of the wicket.
It was also a surprise that Atkinson didn’t kick the ball until the 24th, with Middlesex 79-1. Atkinson had won a career-best 6-68 and eight wickets in total in Surrey’s hard-fought draw against Essex at Chelmsford last week, but he managed just three clean and accurate overs before the game ended. be suspended for a little over two hours for rain and bad light.
And, by the time Atkinson, 25, was reintroduced for a second spell, in 42nd, Middlesex’s aggregate had reached 154-1, with Robson and Malan continuing to show positive intent after a restart at 3:00 p.m. BST.
It was the change in bowling, however, that set the spark for Surrey’s remarkable fightback, with Atkinson literally lighting the touch paper and Worrall providing most of the fireworks that followed.
Surrey and Middlesex players, meanwhile, dedicated the match to the fundraising efforts of Surrey fashion designer Matt Dunn, who over the winter lost his two-year-old daughter Florence to a little-known form epilepsy called Dravet syndrome.
Dunn led a group of 20 friends and family who ran from Lord’s to the Oval as part of the ‘EverydayinMay4Dravet’ initiative, arriving at lunchtime, to help raise awareness of the condition. Those who support the initiative run or walk at least five kilometers each day in May to raise funds to fight Dravet syndrome.
“It means everything to me that Surrey and Middlesex are doing what they are to support us,” Matt said. “The love, care and support from everyone in Surrey towards my wife Jess, myself and our little boy Freddie has been overwhelming, to be honest, and that’s why we are now able to try to help other people who have young children with this disease.”
Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network.