BY MARCUS HOOK
Ryan Patel produced a remarkable spell of five wickets in 11 balls to help propel Surrey to the top of County Championship Division One.
The South Londoners produced an innings and 69-run victory at Guildford over their nearest title rivals Somerset.
Having been put in to bat, the hosts made 459 thanks largely to Ollie Pope’s third championship century of the season.
In reply, Somerset were 169-4 after 53 overs, whereupon Patel was introduced to the attack.
Seven overs later the 20-year-old from Wimbledon was walking off to a standing ovation, having taken an astonishing six wickets – conceding just five runs – to bundle the visitors out for 180.
“It was all a bit surreal to be honest,” said Patel. “I could hardly believe what happened.
“It was all so quick. I don’t think it’s hit home yet how quickly it all happened. I mean – five in two overs, it was weird, just weird.
“I’d bowled a lot of overs in my two previous games and couldn’t buy a wicket. I was getting very frustrated. Then it all came at once.
“I got one with my first ball, which gave me a lot of confidence. It was coming out really nicely, but I never expected to finish up with six wickets.
“I tried to keep myself level-headed. Throughout I was trying to get myself away and get back to the end of my run-up, while everyone was still in the huddle. I didn’t want to get caught up in taking a wicket with what seemed like every ball.
“Our head bowling coach Geoff Arnold has been really good, with all of us seamers. He keeps telling me to keep things simple and not to try and buy wickets – create pressure and the wickets will come.
“Throughout the whole day the boys had bowled really well – to keep Somerset to just three runs an over on a small ground was a great effort.
“Jade [Dernbach] and other people didn’t get what they deserved probably. When I came on to bowl, all I was thinking about was keeping an end tied down and supporting Rikki Clarke, who was bowling beautifully.”
Patel was asked if he minded not being given the new ball when Somerset were then asked to follow on.
“No. The boys – Morne [Morkel] and Jade did really well when they bowled with the new ball, so there was no need to change.
”It was a bit of a freak thing what happened, so no, I didn’t need or want to take the new ball.”
Patel was also pleased for Ollie Pope, 20, who is now the top run-scorer in Division One with 585 runs at an average of 83.57.
“He’s in the form of his life, isn’t he?” said Patel. “Again, he’s keeping it simple. He’s not gone away from he usually does and he’s scored three championship hundreds in six games this season. It’s unbelievable.
“We’ve all grown up together playing for all the Surrey age groups and the academy – so it’s nice to see a few of the boys, like Sam [Curran], Virds [Amar Virdi] and Popey doing really well.”
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