Published: 22nd April, 2014
Surrey closed the third day at the Kia Oval on 217-6 in reply to Essex’s 306 with Matthew Dunn taking 5-60. Graeme Smith was the first batsman to go past fifty in the game making 65 and Jason Roy played responsibly finishing the day unbeaten on 30.
After heavy overnight rain the start of play was delayed until midday when Essex resumed on their overnight 225-6. Surrey made an early breakthrough when Stuart Meaker had James Foster well caught by Roy at third slip for 20.
Graham Napier played aggressively and was given valuable support from David Masters as they took Essex past 250. They had added 43 when Masters drove Chris Tremlett straight to Dunn and departed for 23 to leave the visitors 279-8.
Napier immediately followed Masters back to the dressing room when Dunn had him neatly caught by Smith at first slip for 28 to give the Surrey paceman his fourth wicket of the innings. Monty Panesar and Tymal Mills then put bat to ball taking Essex past 300 but Dunn claimed a deserved fifth wicket when he dismissed Panesar for 17 as Essex were all out for 306.
Smith and Rory Burns opened Surrey’s reply in solid fashion against the new ball pairing of Mills and Masters. Both left handers were watchful in defence and Smith found the midwicket boundary on a couple of occasions with a customary flick of the wrists.
Burns looked settled but on 16 he pushed Ravi Bopara into the legside and looked for a quick single. He was sent back by his partner and an excellent piece of work from Bopara saw Burns run out and Surrey 46-1.
Dominic Sibley joined his captain at the crease and a partnership developed in the face of some testing bowling. Sibley played a couple of handsome shots through the legside and Smith looked in commanding form driving on the up and seizing on anything short of a length.
The introduction of Panesar saw Smith using his feet and driving him to the cover boundary to bring up his fifty from 66 deliveries. Together the Surrey pair took the score past 100 and they guided their side safely to tea with Smith 58* and Sibley unbeaten on 20.
After the interval Smith moved onto 65 but Masters then got a delivery to bounce more than the Surrey captain was expecting and Jaik Mickleburgh took the catch in the gully to break a partnership that was worth 77. Sibley continued to play well as he was joined by Gary Wilson and they took Surrey past 150.
Mills then brought Sibley’s good innings to an end on 34 when he was caught in the gully by Mickleburgh to leave Surrey 156-3. Wilson departed for 18 as he looked to go over the top against Panesar but only found Napier at mid on.
And Surrey found themselves 165-6 when Steven Davies was caught at short leg for 8 as he looked to work a delivery from Mills into the legside. Jason Roy got off the mark in emphatic style when he pulled Panesar into the OCS Stand for 6 and at the other end Meaker played a couple of handsome shots off Bopara to the cover boundary.
Meaker had moved onto 14 when he looked to pull a quicker Panesar delivery and was bowled to leave Surrey in trouble at 186-6. Roy played responsibly and found good support from Tremlett as they took Surrey past 200 and secured a first batting point.
In testing conditions Roy and Tremlett guided Surrey to stumps with the scoreboard reading 217-6 with Roy unbeaten on 30. Another intriguing day came to an end with plenty of cricket still left in the match and an important morning session waiting tomorrow.