Match Preview: Surrey v Essex

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Surrey v Essex

LV= Insurance County Championship
The Kia Oval, Kennington
Sunday 12 – Wednesday 15 September
10:30am start

Essex meet Surrey at The Kia Oval in the penultimate LV= Insurance County Championship match of the season starting on Sunday at 10:30am. Tom Westley’s men have won both of their Division Two games this season in comprehensive fashion, beating both Glamorgan and Gloucestershire in little more than two days.

The latest victory was completed with a day to spare with the bowlers completing within two hours of the resumption of play on Day Three.

Gloucestershire had been demolished before lunch on day one for 74 when Jamie Porter (4 for 32) and Sam Cook (3 for 27) ran through the to-order leaving Simon Harmer to wrap up the innings with the last three wickets at a personal cost of just two runs.

Paul Walter will be looking to build on his important innings with the bat, where he struck 96 to lead Essex to a sizeable first-innings lead.

Squad:

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Hear from the Head Coach:

Head Coach, Anthony McGrath is understandably ecstatic with the current form of his Essex squad.

With just two matches remaining this season, he rightfully extended full praise to his players after their latest success when they outplayed Gloucestershire at Chelmsford.

“I’m delighted with all the guys and their attitude because they have gone about their work in a totally professional manner,” he insisted.

“We dominated the game from ball one and Gloucestershire made us fight hard in our first innings. Paul Walter was superb and with excellent support from Adam Wheater and the tail, we forged a 200-run lead.

“We were 70-odd for 5 when Paul and Adam got together. If Gloucestershire had knocked a couple more over then we might have only got a small first-innings advantage and it could have been a difficult game. But that partnership plus the contributions from the lower order proved so important.

“It was just a shame that Paul couldn’t get to three figures because he really deserved it but we always challenge our players to put winning performances in and Paul certainly did that.

“Although we haven’t been able to end the season in Division One, we’ve wanted to show that we believe we are still one of the best teams in the country in red-ball cricket.

”I’ve stated on a number of occasions about my reservations with the Conference system and the fact that going into the last month of the season, 12 teams have little to play for apart from pride.

“They can’t challenge for the Championship title and there is no promotion or relegation but our players know how important it is for them to stay fully focussed and ensure that collectively we do our best to win each match.

“We are representing Essex and we want to prove to people that we are still right there as a competitive side, so these games in this final few weeks are very important to us.

“We want to make sure we finish strongly and take that into next season.”

Our Opposition:

Surrey have only played one of their four scheduled matches in Division Two after their fixture with Durham was cancelled following a positive case of COVID-19 within the squad.

They did get on the field though this week when meeting Northamptonshire but suffered a two-wicket defeat at Wantage Road where the victors achieved their highest ever successful run-chase against Surrey in first-class cricket after requiring 320 to win.

One to Watch:

Hashim Amla has accrued the most Championship runs for Surrey this season with an aggregate of 713 @ 47.53, which includes one half-century and two centuries.

When he retired from international cricket, he was the second-highest Test run-scorer in South African history with 9,282 runs in 124 matches.

He spent an all too brief and successful period with Essex in 2009 when he recorded 410 runs @ 103.50 in his five first-class innings.

Now 38 years of age, Amla has enjoyed some standout moments in 2021, including 173 in the victory over Gloucestershire and a 278-ball 37 not out to save the match for Surrey at Hampshire.

Head-to-Head:

The last time the two teams met in the County Championship at The Kia Oval was in April 2019 when the match ended as a draw.

Peter Siddle claimed 6/104 in the Surrey first innings but thanks to an unbeaten 100 by Ryan Patel – his maiden first-class century – the home side totalled 395. Ryan ten Doeschate led the response with 130 whilst Dan Lawrence scored 93 as Essex gained a first-innings lead of 53.

Surrey continued the run-fest reaching 324 for 6 before declaring, although Simon Harmer took 5/88.

Left with an unlikely target of 272 to win in a minimum 19 overs, Essex were then asked to bat for one over in order that Surrey could get there over rate level and thus avoid a points deduction for the overall slow over-rate in the match.

Jamie Porter, with Alastair Cook watching on from the non-striker’s end, faced the maiden over sent down by Burns in ultra-fast time before the draw was agreed.

The teams have clashed on 198 occasions in first-class cricket with Surrey holding bragging rights with 73 wins and 78 draw, whilst Essex have won 44 matches.

Milestones:

The race between Simon Harmer and Sam Cook to become the first Essex bowler to take 50 Championship wickets this season gathered momentum with a clutch of wickets for both bowlers during the victory with Gloucestershire.

Off-spinner Harmer is just one victim away from the milestone having bagged 49 scalps @ 23.18, whilst paceman Cook goes into the Surrey game with 46 wickets @ 16.23.

With the bat, Dan Lawrence heads the averages with 529 runs @ 52.90 followed by Paul Walter with 485 runs @ 37.30. Tom Westley has aggregated the highest number of runs for the county in the Championship this summer with 584 @ 36.50.

When he took the third wicket of his seven-wickets haul against Gloucestershire, Simon Harmer took his tally of first-class wickets to 300 for the county, including 49 Championship wickets this season.

Adam Wheater requires one more victim to reach 150 first-class dismissals for Essex. He currently has 137 catches and 12 stumpings. Additionally, when he had scored 9 in his innings against Gloucestershire, he completed 7,000 first-class runs.

The match with Gloucestershire saw Jamie Porter make his 100th first-class appearance; 93 of those representing Essex.

How To Watch:

Our Live Stream service will be available across all four days of this game from 10:30am, which also includes player stats, scorecards and clips throughout the day.

The broadcast will be courtesy of Surrey and can be accesed via the Essex Cricket Matchzone here.