Spinners Dan Moriarty and Amar Virdi proved too hot for Gloucestershire to handle in The Kia Oval sunshine as Surrey closed in on an innings victory in the LV= Insurance County Championship.
Virdi and Moriarty shared 11 wickets on day three as Gloucestershire were bundled out for 158 in their first innings in reply to Surrey’s 473 – losing the final nine wickets for 74 runs in 41 overs – and then, following on, struggling to 124 for 5.
Slow left-armer Moriarty took a career-best 6 for 60 in Gloucestershire’s first innings in his first appearance of the season, while off spinner Virdi picked up 3 for 46 from 26 equally probing overs.
Only Miles Hammond, last out for a four-hour 77 and adding a defiant unbeaten 38 later in the day, stood out in a supine Gloucestershire batting effort.
Will Jacks’ occasional off spin claimed the other first innings wicket, but it was Surrey’s quick bowlers who inflicted early damage on Gloucestershire’s second innings when the Group 2 leaders were asked to follow on.
Kraigg Brathwaite chipped a full ball back to Jamie Overton on 28 and Australian paceman Sean Abbott marked his county debut by pinning left-hander Chris Dent lbw for 14 from around the wicket before producing a nip-backer to bowl Tom Lace for a duck. Lace, caught on the crease, completed a sad pair.
Ian Cockbain, on 6, then had his forward defensive breached by Virdi, the ball spun sharply between bat and pad, and Jamie Smith pulled off an excellent stumping when Virdi saw Ryan Higgins (11) advancing.
Both wickets were wildly celebrated by Virdi with trademark celebratory runs towards the boundary edge, to the delight of a good-sized crowd enjoying Surrey’s dominance, the warm weather and the chance to watch cricket again.
At the start of day three, however, as Brathwaite and Hammond took their second wicket stand to 45, Gloucestershire seemed capable of putting up meaningful resistance. Resuming on 45 for 1, they reached 84 before Virdi beat Brathwaite with an arm ball that had him lbw for 33 pushing forward.
In the next over Moriarty turned one to have Lace caught at slip for 0 and, suddenly, panic ensured as Surrey’s spinners made hay. Cockbain (1) swept Virdi from outside off stump to square leg, Higgins (0) left one from Moriarty that arrowed into his off stump, Jonny Tattersall (7) flicked a low catch to leg slip and Tom Smith (2) was brilliantly held left-handed by Jacks at silly mid-on as Gloucestershire slumped to 113 for 7 by lunch.
Jacks, brought on for the 65th over, claimed a memorable maiden first-class wicket when he spun one sharply from two feet wide of off stump to bowl Matt Taylor, shouldering arms, for 12 and Moriarty finished off the innings by bowling David Payne for 1 with a classic delivery pitching on middle and hitting off and then seeing Hammond pull to mid wicket.