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Essex match in balance ahead of Day 4

Published: 13th April, 2019

Ryan ten Doeschate’s 130 dominated day three at the Kia Oval, helping Essex to an eventual 448 and a 53-run first innings lead against Surrey.

By stumps, however, Surrey openers Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman had knocked off the deficit in a determined unbeaten partnership. Both were on 34 not out in a Surrey second innings of 68 without loss – a lead of 15 – when bad light ended play 4.2 overs early.

A draw looks the likeliest outcome in what has been a closely-fought Specsavers County Championship Division One contest on a slow surface, but Ten Doeschate’s 28th first-class hundred was a fine effort and underlined his love of batting at the Kia Oval.

Last September, in the final game of the 2018 season and after Surrey had already clinched the title, it was Ten Doeschate’s nerveless 53 not out that led Essex to a thrilling one-wicket win.

Ten Doeschate, the 38-year-old Essex captain, was supported well by Robbie White in a sixth-wicket stand of 102 following the dismissal of Dan Lawrence for 93 in the day’s opening hour.

And gritty displays from tailenders Peter Siddle and Jamie Porter, in a partnership of 30, ensured Essex banked a full five batting bonus points while also denying Surrey a third bowling point.

Porter, especially, withstood some hostile short-pitched bowling from Morne Morkel until being caught at short leg for 8, fending off another lifter from the giant former South Africa paceman.

But Siddle, hitting a straight six and several boundaries off slow left-arm spinner Freddie van den Bergh, reached a creditable 41 off 69 balls while last man Matt Quinn contributed 10 before being bowled swiping at Van den Bergh.

Lawrence, on 87 in Essex’s overnight 202 for 4 in reply to Surrey’s first innings 395, had only added six runs when he pushed out at a Rikki Clarke outswinger and edged to slip. But, by then, Ten Doeschate had raced past fifty after resuming on 20 and their fifth wicket stand had realized 81.

On-loan wicketkeeper White reached a useful 39 before edging Morkel behind and Simon Harmer (17) also made valuable runs until he was bowled behind his legs shuffling across the crease against Clarke.

Ten Doeschate went to three figures off 114 balls, pinching a quick single into the covers after driving Morkel straight for his 18th four just after the fast bowler had taken the second new ball with Essex on 318 for 5.

In all, Ten Doeschate hit 20 fours and a six struck over long on from down the pitch against Van den Bergh and only an 18-minute rain interruption, starting at 12 noon, gave the Surrey attack some respite from his quick-footed aggression.

Indeed, Ten Doeschate’s only anxious moment before finally being leg-before to a Liam Plunkett off-cutter on the stroke of 3pm came in the first session of the day when he survived a concerted appeal for a caught and bowled by Van den Bergh to the last ball before the short weather delay.

On 66, and trying to whip a full ball off his pads, Ten Doeschate saw Van den Bergh sprint forward to claim a diving ‘catch’ via an inside edge; after consulting, however, umpires Nick Cook and Richard Kettleborough turned down the appeal.

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