Saturday, April 18, 2009

Time eludes Glos as they settle for draw

DAY 4 Close: Surrey 160 & 64-2 drew with Gloucestershire 333 Pts. Surrey: 7 Glos: 10

Gloucestershire impressed as they secured a draw in the opening county championship match at the Oval.

Managing to take nine of the 17 wickets required in the day, the Glos lead was still 109 when players agreed a result could not be possible late into the afternoon on day four.

Earlier in the day, a good morning performance from the shire's bowlers saw Surrey bowled out for 160. Although at one stage Surrey were 46-6 so the Glos might feel slightly disappointed not to have wrapped the innings up quicker. It was Uzman Afzaal's resistance which kept them at bay for a while, even threatening to take Surrey past the follow-on target with 65.

The wickets were spread around; two each for Kirby, Saxelby and Banerjee - justifying the spinner's selection - as Glos forced Surrey to bat again, and reduced them to 24-2 before Ali Brown clubbed 35 as Surrey reached 5pm to claim the draw.

Gloucestershire can take a lot out of their opening match, playing some good cricket and getting on top in a match which they would have been favourite's to win, had it not been for rain interuptions. The bowling was very deciplined and threatening throughout against a quality batting line-up. And Alex Gidman had several bowlers to turn to; there was an interesting debate over who should take the new ball.

One would like to see them work harder in the middle order to build partnerships and take the innings to a different level, rather than simply allowing the good work of the top order to peter out, and for batsman who are "in" to seize their opportunities and make a big score, in order to really develop scoreboard pressure. Hopefully this can be achieved against Essex at Bristol, starting on Tuesday.

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

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