Surrey 194 and 141 for 3 (Stoneman 71) lead Warwickshire 230 (Rhodes 51) by 105 runs
Mark Stoneman’s 71 from 85 balls set the seal on an excellent second-day fightback at The Kia Oval by champions Surrey, who reached stumps on 141 for 3 – an overall lead of 105 – after earlier bowling out Warwickshire for 230.
Only 19-year-old Rob Yates resisted the Surrey pace attack for long, the left hander taking his overnight 10 to 48 not out by lunch and his determined resistance guiding the visitors to 176 for 5 at the interval despite the losses of Dom Sibley, Sam Hain, Adam Hose and Matt Lamb in the morning session.
But Warwickshire’s hopes of a more substantial first innings lead than their eventual 36 were dashed when Yates was caught behind off Curran without adding to his score soon after lunch. After that, Surrey’s quicker bowlers worked their way remorselessly through the lower order.
Morkel, in particular, was a fearsome proposition in conditions still favouring swing and seam, and with The Oval’s floodlights on throughout the first two sessions. There was even a 15-minute stoppage for bad light in mid-afternoon, with Warwickshire on 208 for 6, and soon after the restart Craig Miles was caught at the wicket off Clark for 20.
Miles, however, had already done well to come through a blistering examination by Morkel. One over from the South African giant, when Warwickshire’s score was on 194, featured a bouncer which clipped Miles’s shoulder as it flew high to keeper Ben Foakes, who had to leap to claw it down, and two searing lifters which both beat the batsman.
Tim Ambrose fell for 18, leg-before to a wicked yorker from Curran delivered from around the wicket, and Clark had Oliver Hannon-Dalby taken at second slip before Morkel finished off the innings when Jeetan Patel skied him to wide long off.
The morning session had seen Morkel dismiss Sibley for 31, caught at first slip after adding just nine runs to his overnight score, and Hose taken at third slip for 9, with Clark pinning Hain leg-before for 15 and Curran forcing Lamb to edge to Foakes.
Surrey’s second innings began with Stoneman and captain Rory Burns clearly intent on providing a positive response to the criticism following their first-day slide to 194 all out against what is a makeshift Warwickshire seam attack due to a chronic injury list. Surrey are yet to win a Specsavers County Championship match this season, with two defeats and four draws from their six games so far.
On-loan left-armer Toby Lester, who took a career-best 4 for 41 on day one, saw his first three overs taken for 25 as Stoneman and Burns did not let him settle. The arrears had already been wiped off the slate when Warwickshire captain Patel brought himself on after just seven overs and, soon, the veteran off-spinner made the breakthrough.
Burns, on 34, went back to a quicker arm ball and was leg-before, after a spirited opening stand of 77 in just under 14 overs, and Scott Borthwick had made only 11 when he edged Patel to Will Rhodes at slip. Patel’s testing spell gave him figures of 11-3-25-2.
Stoneman, driving elegantly through the offside for the majority of his 11 fours, had taken Surrey’s lead almost to three figures when he edged a fine ball from the returning Hannon-Dalby to keeper Ambrose, but Dean Elgar was joined by Foakes to see the home side through to the close, which came 13 overs early due to more bad light.
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