Weather interference and an excellent pitch for batting combined to sentence the LV=Insurance County Championship between champions Warwickshire and Surrey to a draw at Edgbaston.
A mouth-watering opening-round clash between two sides with serious title aspirations ended in stalemate with Surrey on 43 without loss in their second innings after Warwickshire piled up 531 in their first.
On a pitch offering the bowlers nothing, Bears wicketkeeper Michael Burgess hit a career-best 178 (221 balls, 20 fours, eight sixes) – his fourth first class century. He enjoyed resolute support from the tail, notably number 11 Olly Hannon-Dalby with whom he added 122 for the tenth wicket. Hannon-Dalby made an unbeaten 11 (89 balls) having got off the mark from his 67th ball faced.
Warwickshire took advantage of the benign batting conditions which, along with the loss of 47 overs in the match to rain and bad light, killed off any hopes of a positive result.
The home side resumed on the final morning on 293 for seven and soon raised the third batting point in unusual fashion when Craig Miles headed a short ball from Jordan Clark over the slips for four.
Surrey’s bowlers persevered but the pitch showed no sign of deterioration and Burgess added 55 with Miles (32, 60 balls) and 54 with Henry Brookes (29, 65 balls). Miles and Brookes both perished to slick slip catches by Ollie Pope, off Reece Topley and Ryan Patel respectively, which set the scene for a bizarre passage of play in which Burgess and Hannon-Dalby stretched the innings by another 134 minutes.
When Hannon-Dalby went in, Burgess was on 69. Twenty overs later, the number 11 was still there and still to score when Burgess reached his ton. It was one of those sessions totally inexplicable to anyone who is not familiar with cricket…and pretty inexplicable to many who are.
With the game long dead, batsmen turning down runs and weary bowlers plodding in, attention turned to numerical quirks which could not possibly affect the match result, like would the 50 partnership be raised with Burgess having scored all 50? (It was).
Surrey plugged away nobly, but Burgess plundered away until he was out lifting Will Jacks to deep mid-wicket. The last two hours had been whimsical but Warwickshire’s 531 was a strong recovery from 41 for four.
Rory Burns and Ryan Patel batted untroubled for 48 minutes after tea before the captains shook hands on the draw.
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