BY MARCUS HOOK
Given that it’s 61 years since Surrey last matched their current five-match run in the County Championship of four victories by an innings, plus a win in the other, we can’t be far away from asking the question: Is this side up there with the greatest Surrey line-ups to have ever taken the field?
The manner in which second-placed Notts were brushed aside – as were Somerset, when they came to Guildford as nearest rivals five weeks ago – puts Surrey in a seemingly unassailable position at the top of Division One.
When asked, I’ve always said the components of a championship-winning side are: a) ruthlessness, b) the ability to score late order runs and c) an attack capable of bowling sides out twice. Surrey have all three.
Once control was established at Trent Bridge, shortly before lunch on the opening day, it was never relinquished. Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman’s opening stand of 147 put Notts’ 210 all out into context. It was so good to see Stoneman back in the runs again, after all the criticism he has received since being dropped by England.
By the time Rikki Clarke had powered his way to his first championship hundred for six years, though not before sharing in a 125-run alliance with Sam Curran for the seventh wicket, the result was beyond doubt.
It was then a question of Morne Morkel and company going to work with the ball.
The arrival of Morkel has transformed Surrey in the same way Saqlain Mushtaq did 20 years ago, but let’s not forget that Clarke, at 36, is a cricketer reborn with 30 championship wickets at an average of 19.26.
If you like your Champo it’s frustrating that there’s another four-week wait for the next game – a day-nighter against Lancashire, who, after losing the Roses match at Old Trafford have been dragged into the relegation zone.
What it does mean is that Surrey can really attack the T20 Blast with gusto.
They are a better side than their record of two wins, two losses and a no result suggests, plus, at some point they will have Tom Curran (side strain) and Jason Roy (finger) to come back in.
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