Tom Lawes dismissed both Zak Crawley and Sam Billings in dramatic fashion early on day three, finishing with a career-best 5 for 22 to set up an impressive Surrey victory by ten wickets against a well-beaten Kent at The Kia Oval.
Crawley fell for 34, adding just three runs to his overnight score, and Billings bagged a pair as Kent slumped to 141 all out, leaving Surrey needing just 58 to complete their fourth win in six LV= Insurance County Championship matches this season.
They got there at 58 without loss from 11.3 overs, ending the match just before the scheduled lunch interval, with Rory Burns reverse-slapping Jack Leaning’s off-spin for six over third man in a run-a-ball 36 not out. Dom Sibley was unbeaten on 16, and the 22-point haul strengthens champions Surrey’s position on top of the Division One table.
For Kent it is a third defeat of a summer, hinting towards a championship relegation battle for them. It took Surrey only 16 overs on the third morning to take the last six Kent second innings wickets for 61 runs and give themselves their modest victory target.
All-rounder Lawes, still only 20, underlined his huge potential by adding the scalps of Billings, Crawley and Joey Evison to those of Tawanda Muyeye and Leaning late on day two after Kent had resumed on 80 for four.
It was his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket, and Lawes – who broke through into Surrey’s senior side midway through last season – now has 36 red-ball wickets from ten matches at an average of 20.22 in a stellar start to his career. His spell this morning was 6.2-1-20-3, adding to the 2.4-1-2-2 of the previous evening.
Billings, who initially faced the final two balls of Lawes’ third over when play resumed – Leaning having been bowled by what was the last ball of day two – only lasted six balls in all before edging a sharp lifter to keeper Ben Foakes. The Kent captain is enduring a difficult season so far, with only 92 runs from ten championship innings and a top score of 31.
Lawes, having struck in his first full over of the morning, then removed Crawley in his second full over. The England Test opener pushed defensively at a fine ball which left him just enough to take the edge on its way into Ollie Pope’s hands at second slip.
And another excellent piece of bowling soon earned Lawes his third scalp of the day, a pacy inswinging near-yorker plucking out Evison’s off stump on five to leave Kent 107 for seven.
Sean Abbott, replacing Dan Worrall at the Vauxhall End, then had Jordan Cox caught down the legside by Foakes for 15, fending off a short ball, and it was left to Jordan Clark to replace Lawes at the Pavilion End and apply the finishing touches to Kent’s innings.
Clark’s fourth ball saw Grant Stewart (6) edge to Pope at second slip and last batter Michael Hogan lost his off stump, wafting at Clark in the big seamer’s next over, to go for 2.
It gave Clark second innings figures of 3 for 36, and six wickets in the match, while Abbott took 2 for 17 in what was a brilliant and relentless performance throughout by Surrey’s five-pronged pace attack.
"Over the moon, @backandacross!"— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) May 20, 2023
Tom Lawes spoke to Mark Church after claiming a career best 5/22 as Surrey beat Kent by 10 wickets at The Kia Oval.
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