Rory Burns and Scott Borthwick’s opening stand of 164 – the best for any wicket for Surrey this season – was the highlight on day two of the Bob Willis Trophy clash with Sussex at the Oval, which concludes tomorrow (Wednesday).
Burns hit 103 and Borthwick 50 before the hosts slipped from being 164 without loss to 171-4 just before the close.
“The way Rory played really put them on the back foot, plus we have two very good players (Amla and Foakes) in now, so hopefully we can kick on again in the morning,” said Borthwick, whose exit – lbw to the off-spin of 19-year-old Jack Carson – sparked the slide.
“It would have been an ideal day if we had not lost those wickets, but overall I think it was even and, for me, it was a joy to watch Rory Burns from the other end.
“He looks in very good nick and he timed the ball well right from the start. It was great to get us off to such a good start with that partnership. It’s an easy-paced pitch and if you get set as a batsman you can score quite quickly.”
The visitors posted 415 thanks to a hundred from Tom Haines, who, on day one, was involved in what appeared to be a verbal spat with Surrey’s Dan Moriarty. The situation eventually had to be diffused by umpires Neil Bainton and Ben Debenham.
Eight of Sussex’s ten wickets fell to spin, with Moriarty returning figures of 5-154 and fellow twirler Amar Virdi taking 3-80.
“Both Amar Virdi and Dan Moriarty bowled excellently throughout the Sussex innings,” said Borthwick. “They really stuck at it with the ball. Dan has worked extremely hard since joining the club last winter and he has been very good in every game he’s played so far.
“To bowl the way he has, not just in this format, but in the T20s as well. I think Mozza’s been excellent.”
Surrey, who have lost all of their four-day outings so far, go into day three 244 runs adrift of Sussex with six first innings wickets remaining.
So, not for the first time this season, the South Londoners face are playing catch-up at the halfway stage.
They will also be keen to avoid equalling the unenviable record, which has stood since 1946, of their suffering five successive defeats in first-class cricket.
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