Rory Burns led from the front with a smooth, aggressive 88 as Surrey were in a strong 190-3 position, just 19 points behind Middlesex halfway through their County Championship game at the Kia Oval.
But the most eye-catching innings of a second day cut short to 42 overs by bad weather were Jamie Smith’s 55 not out, with the 22-year-old dazzling those hardy souls who braved the cold and dreary southern conditions from London – with some memorable and classy shots.
Smith helped his captain Burns add 75 from 15 overs for Surrey’s third wicket, after Dom Sibley and Ryan Patel left cheaply after an almost entirely wasted morning session in the rain, and was later joined by Ben Foakes in another unbroken partnership of 53 before the bad light kicked in again at 5.07pm BST. The game was finally canceled for the day at 6:00 p.m.
Foakes remained unbeaten on the 22nd, a solid effort in itself as Middlesex’s four tailors strove to make further inroads, and perhaps a game-defining moment came just before the players left the pitch for the last time – with Smith dropped by Stephen Eskinazi at the first slip. off Ethan Bamber.
Surrey had resumed the 21st unbeaten but there was time for just 11 balls before bad light and rain chased the players away until 1.50pm, and the opening alliance of Burns and Sibley had made 49 , in testing circumstances, when Sibley (13) edged out Bamber. third ball on the first slide.
Soon Surrey were 62-2 with Patel down on five when he tried to pull his bat out of the way of a Ryan Higgins lift ball, only for it to deflect a glove towards Max Holden on the third slide.
Smith, however, majestically threw his first pitch to square cover for four and, while Burns topped 50 with some excellent shots of his own – a number of them from multiple walks down the field as he was trying to deny the still-crimping ball – it was his young partner’s brilliance that stood out.
Smith’s first six shots were on all fours, including an immaculate direct drive from Higgins hit all the way to the floor between non-attacking Burns and the umpire, and later he jumped up to the same bowler and tagged him. effortlessly hoisted for six long. .
By then, however, Burns had gone to a thin edge to keep John Simpson clear of Higgins as he advanced downfield again, but it had been a fine and urgent effort from the former Test opener. from England, who seemed in good contact. He only faced 105 balls, firing Toby Roland-Jones for six over the average wicket and also hitting 11 fours.
Smith, who also survived a slim chance to delight Roland-Jones on 26, finished an 83-ball half-century with a whip for three wide from mid over Tim Murtagh, and he quickly celebrated the milestone by lifting Bamber at middle-wicket for his ninth four.
Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network.