Cricket

Recent Match Report – Surrey vs Gloucs Group 2 2021

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Gloucestershire loanee stranded on 86 as Surrey claim final five wickets

Surrey 473 (Amla 173, Clarke 65, Patel 62, Overton 50*) beat Gloucestershire 158 (Hammond 77, Moriarty 6-60) and 268 (Tattersall 86*, Virdi 4-96) by an innings and 47 runs

This is the time of year when Surrey’s County Championship season is meant to fall away: international call-ups, injuries and workload management meant they made as many as six changes this week, with four players coming in to make their first appearances of the summer. Instead, they became the first team in Group Two to beat Gloucestershire, applying the finishing touches to the rout by taking five wickets and leaving time to get home for Sunday lunch.

They were held up by a determined innings from Jonny Tattersall, Gloucestershire’s on-loan wicketkeeper who was stranded 14 runs short of a first Championship hundred, but ended up completing a win inside the first session to move into third place in the group. They are three points behind Somerset and six behind Gloucestershire, though have only two fixtures remaining compared to the top two’s three.
“One thing we’re quite lucky with at Surrey is that we’ve got quite a big squad,” Amar Virdi, who took seven wickets in the match, said. “There’s a lot of good players and we’ve got a very strong work ethic, whether boys are playing every week or for the twos.”

Rory Burns, Ollie Pope and Kemar Roach were all lost to international duty, with Ben Foakes ruled out with a torn hamstring and Jordan Clark and Reece Topley both rested. “You do miss some of the big players, but we have a lot of good ones behind them,” Virdi said. “We’re not solely reliant on guys that are playing international cricket; we’ve got a strong core of county players as well.”

Virdi was the beneficiary of two bizarre shots from Gloucestershire’s lower order on the final morning: Matt Taylor skipped down the pitch to pick out long-on, and David Payne chipped a catch to mid-on with a mistimed hack. Even the busiest Sunday-evening traffic on the M4 back to Bristol would struggle to explain their shot selection while trying to save the game.

The first wicket to fall had been that of Miles Hammond, who looked aghast when he was given out caught behind while sweeping Dan Moriarty. It seemed that the ball had flicked his pad on the way through to Jamie Smith, but umpire Billy Taylor gave him out; Hammond glared at him like a parent who was “not angry, just disappointed” before ruefully trudging off. There were no such frustrations when Ian Gould gave Tom Smith out lbw to a Jamie Overton nip-backer that smashed him on the pad in the following over.

It was to Gloucestershire’s credit that they decided to have a dart after losing their ninth wicket, with Daniel Worrall and Tattersall adding 56 in 7.2 overs and dragging them towards parity. Tattersall swept and slog-swept well, while Worrall’s bat resembled a pitching wedge as he chipped over mid-on and mid-off; regrettably, it retained its shape when he prodded forward to defend a straight one from Dan Moriarty, which zipped between his pad and the shaft of the club to knock back his off stump.

Tattersall was left stranded on 86 not out, his second-highest Championship score (his first-class hundred was against Leeds-Bradford MCCU in early 2019). Having been dropped by Yorkshire five games into the season after managing an aggregate of just 101 runs, Tattersall was signed on a one-match loan to cover for James Bracey’s absence ahead of his Test debut next week.

Tattersall has had an unusual career to date: he was released by Yorkshire in 2015, but successful trials in 2016 and 2017 led to a one-year deal for the 2018 season. With Jonny Bairstow regularly absent on England duty and Andrew Hodd, the club’s first-choice keeper, coming towards the end of his career, Tattersall saw an opportunity and took it, training over the winter to become an option behind the stumps.

After two-and-a-half seasons with the gloves, he was left out of the side for the 19-year-old Harry Duke, and his next step is uncertain: Glenn Phillips, the New Zealand batter who is in Bristol ahead of the T20 Blast, is expected to keep in Gloucestershire’s fixture at Grace Road next week following the departure of Kraigg Brathwaite for West Indies’ series against South Africa, while Bairstow’s return from the IPL will put Tattersall’s place in Yorkshire’s T20 side in doubt.

Either way, a resolute innings from No. 7 was a reminder that he is a handy player: he started by defending doggedly on the third evening, and grew more expansive on Sunday as it became increasingly clear that the game was up. “We showed a bit of fight today and the guys who batted out there did a really good job,” Chris Dent, Gloucestershire’s captain, said. “Surrey played the better cricket over the four days but we are still top of the group and there is a lot for us to play for.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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