Rory Burns will lead Surrey out at The Kia Oval for the second time this year on Thursday as his table-topping side take on the LV= County Championship bottom-placed side Somerset.
With the forecast again looking promising, this should be a great game, with Surrey’s batters, who have piled on 400+ in their two first innings to date, taking on a Somerset attack containing the division’s leading wicket-taker in Craig Overton and the canny Australian seamer Peter Siddle.
After heading their conference in 2021 despite an eight-point deduction, Somerset’s season unravelled in the last part of the summer. They lost four in a row – two by an innings – to prop up Division One as it became clear that their young batters were a long way from the finished article. And this season has been no better, with a heavy first-round defeat to Hampshire being followed by an agonising one-wicket loss to Essex.
The return of Matt Renshaw – who played against Essex – has shored up their top order and any side containing the evergreen James Hildreth and Steven Davies cannot be taken lightly. Jack Leach is always a threat, despite not bowling on the greentop against Essex, and Craig Overton and Peter Siddle were in fine form, taking 18 of the 19 wickets to fall, Overton picking up 13 in the match, to make it an extraordinary few days for the twins, sharing 21 wickets between them. The battle between the two should be electric.
Ahead of the game, Craig Overton said: “We know that we have to turn up and put in a good performance to put right the things that have gone wrong. We’ve had a good rivalry with Surrey over the last few years and hopefully we can turn our fortunes around with a win there this week. We’ve lost a few games in a row, but the fight that we showed last week was incredibly pleasing. That’s something that we’ve had in the past and it was great to see that spirit again. We were bowling well and there was a real buzz in the field.”
Surrey will have been delighted with the solid start to their campaign, particularly given the fact that they have not always had a quick start to the season and they will be looking to continue their form against a Somerset side who have only passed 200 on two occasions in their last six Championship matches. But Somerset should not be underestimated – they have been the country’s most consistent side over the last decade and their talented young batters will come good at some point.
For Surrey, the injury to Kemar Roach has been the only cloud on the horizon to date, with the batters in fine form and the bowling attack hunting as a pack and giving captain Burns plenty of options.
It’s all to play for at The Kia Oval, with Surrey replacing Kemar Roach with Sam Curran from the 13 that were selected for the Hampshire game last week.
Director of cricket: Andy Hurry
Head coach: Jason Kerr
Captain: Tom Abell
Overseas: Marchant de Lange, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle
Out: Eddie Byrom (Glamorgan)
Tom Abell (c)
Roelof van der Merwe
Follow the match
The match will be broadcast live on kiaoval.com and the Club’s official YouTube channel with commentary from BBC London’s Mark Church. This commentary will also be available on the BBC Sport website.
Clips from the match will be featured across Surrey CCC social networks and highlights will be available at the end of each day’s play. There will also be a full match report posted on the Club website on every evening of play.
P W L D
Home 90 50 12 28
Away 89 30 22 37
Total 179 80 34 65
Last three matches
June 3-6, 2019 at Guildford: Somerset 344 (GA Bartlett 137, M Morkel 4-64, MP Dunn 3-85, R Clarke 3-72) & 153 (JC Hildreth 64, Morkel 3-41, Dunn 5-43) beat Surrey 231 (BT Foakes 57, RS Patel 63. C Overton 5-38, J Overton 3-46) & 164 (JA Brooks 5-38, TD Groenewald 3-29) by 102 runs
May (13), 14-15, (16), 2021 at The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton: Surrey 206-4 (RJ Burns 55) drew with Somerset (did not bat)
July 11-14, 2021 at the Kia Oval: Somerset 429 (JC Hildreth 107, J Clark 3-75, GS Virdi 3-86) & 69 (R Ashwin 6-27, DT Moriarty 4-20) drew with Surrey 240 (RJ Burns 50, MD Stoneman 67, MJ Leach 6-43, RE van der Merwe 4-54) & 106‑4 (van der Merwe 3-60)