Surrey stay top of County Championship but Lancashire inflict first defeat

Surrey remain top of the County Championship but had their wings clipped by a 123-run defeat to Lancashire on Wednesday.

The visitors inflicted two top-order collapses on a previously unbeaten Oval outfit this week.

The South Londoners recovered from the first to post 360, but Tom Bailey (5-48) and Will Williams (4-23) delivered a near flawless exhibition of seam bowling to dismiss Surrey for just 84 at the second time of asking.

“We’re obviously very disappointed at not being able to chase down 208,” said Rory Burns. “We would have taken that sort of last innings target, so you have to give huge credit to Lancashire and say hats off to the way they bowled.

“Bailey and Williams certainly put the ball regularly in good areas and it was offering a little bit.

“I think playing with the floodlights, both last evening and again this morning, meant the surface quickened up a little too.

“The pitch was certainly a bit more favourable to the bowlers in those conditions.

“With the Kookaburra balls you do have to make the most of the first 40 overs of an innings, because they go a little bit soft as they get older, which affects the fields you have to set. So, fair play to Lancashire’s bowlers for doing that Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

“The key is getting on the front foot in those first 40 overs. We could probably have batted a bit better.

“We have to regroup but I do think there are a number of positives we can still take from this match.

“Our bowlers were good throughout, as was our fielding, and we fought hard to get to 360 in our first innings.

Tom Latham has been talking about relishing the challenge of playing five championship games for Surrey as cover, at number three, for Ollie Pope.

Even with more than 5,000 Test runs to his name, the 31-year-old New Zealander is keen to bring more to the party than just experience while Pope is involved in the Ashes.

“You want to do well on the park, but it’s also about coming into the environment and fitting in with the culture,” says Latham.

“Every time you go to play or train it’s about learning a few more skills and trying to get better.”


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