tuesday 18th september - friday 21st september
SOMERSET V SURREY
Unfit pitch leads to final day abandonment and draw in Taunton
Surrey XI: Burns(c), Stoneman, Roy, Elgar, Pope, Foakes, Clarke, T. Curran, Morkel, McKerr, Virdi.
It was Surrey’s day from the moment Rory Burns won the toss and elected to take first use of a pitch that had no suggestion of the ‘excessive turn’, which had led to Somerset’s previous home game against Lancashire ending inside two days.
Few balls beat the bat all day as Stoneman top-scored with 85, supported by solid contributions from Burns (78), Jason Roy (63) Dean Elgar (72 not out) and Ollie Pope (44). Jamie Overton was the most successful Somerset bowler with two for 76.
Left-arm spinner Jack Leach sent down all but one of his 19 overs from the Somerset Pavilion End, finishing the day wicketless, having conceded 79 runs.
Stoneman and Burns batted through the morning session with few alarms and had taken the total to 147 in the 37th over when Stoneman, whose half-century had occupied 85 balls, failed to keep down a rising delivery from Jamie Overton and was caught by Craig Overton at backward point.
Burns, who had cruised to fifty of 87 balls, followed with the total on 206, bowled aiming a loose drive at Tim Groenewald, back in the Somerset side after a long injury lay-off, having been preferred to off-spinner Dom Bess.
Roy, making his first red ball appearance of the season, moved smoothly to the third half-century of the innings off 75 deliveries, with a six and 6 fours. But in the final over before tea he fell lbw to Jamie Overton and at the interval Surrey were 263 for four.
Elgar, facing his old team-mates, looked untroubled as he too reached the 50-mark off 74 balls, with 8 fours, and Pope looked equally in control as they added 82 in the final session.
Elgar began the second day on 72 and looked assured from the off with a series of picturesque straight drives that took him to his first Surrey hundred before he was eventually out for 110.
A late flurry from Amar Virdi, including four successive boundaries off his spin counterpart Jack Leach, took Surrey to 485 before Conor McKerr was the last man out.
Somerset’s reply immediately after lunch got off to the worst possible start when Marcus Trescothick edged Morne Morkel to second slip and departed first ball.
Soon it was 11 for three as Morkel’s opening spell of five overs brought figures of two for eight and then recent frailty in the home batting line-up was exposed as a series of poor shots saw them crash to 53 for seven.
McKerr claimed three for 20 from seven overs with his second wicket, that of Craig Overton, a delightful hooping delivery from outside off-stump that made a mess of the all-rounder's stumps.
With Somerset nine down, the afternoon session was extended before tea was eventually called with 29 overs remaining in the day. Due to bad light and then sweeping rain, no play was possible following the second interval.
Surrey were then frustrated by the weather on a third day limited to just 49.3 overs due to rain and bad light.
By the end of that day, the hosts had reached 168 for three in their second innings and required a further 171 to avoid an innings defeat.
The match looked set to end inside three days when Somerset crashed to four for two, following on, Marcus Trescothick bagging a pair when dismissed by Morne Morkel for the second time in the match.
But from there the home side found a resolve that was missing from their first innings batting, James Hildreth making 60 and Azhar Ali ending the day unbeaten on 61.
With victory still within sight on the fourth morning, the players arrived to discover overnight weather had moved the covers and left the pitch unfit for play.
A sad way for Surrey’s hunt for a tenth consecutive Specsavers County Championship win to come to an end.
Surrey and England’s big hitting batsman scored 63 in his first red-ball appearance of 2018, batting at three against Somerset.
Watch the highlights of every day of Somerset v Surrey below.