Youth and experience combine to put Surrey in Edgbaston command

Youth and experience combine to put Surrey in Edgbaston command

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Kumar Sangakkara’s 83rd first-class half-century inspired Surrey to set Warwickshire a target of 396 ahead of the final day of their County Championship match at Edgbaston.

The 38-year-old Sri Lankan fired 88 with poise and precision to put the visitors in a commanding position after the third day of play.

All-rounder Sam Curran recorded a late 62, while Rory Burns fell one short of 50 as Alec Stewart’s men look destined for a crucial win in their battle against relegation.

Ian Westwood was the only casualty in the two overs Warwickshire faced before the close, putting Surrey nine wickets away from victory.

Having seen out the final few overs of the previous day together, Burns and nightwatchman Stuart Meaker posted a further 52 to the overnight score in a morning session controlled by the visitors.

Opener Burns took a leading role in the partnership but fell short of a second half-century in the match as Oliver Hannon-Dalby trapped the left-hander for a simple lbw decision.

Fast bowler Meaker remained at the crease without looking too convincing and survived a couple of scares.

A wayward pull almost found it’s to Laurie Evans, hovering well inside the boundary at fine leg, with wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose missing a stumping opportunity a couple of overs prior.

Jeetan Patel toiled away for much of the session and saw his luck change quickly following the lunch break as Meaker, who had produced his highest first-class score for more than two seasons, feathered one behind.

The arrival of Zafar Ansari to the middle alongside the unflappable Sangakkara certainly helped the run-rate improve, although the all-rounder looked unsettled on his way to 29.

Keeping Surrey in the driving seat was the evergreen Sri Lankan Sangakkara on his return to the side, having been a part of the Caribbean Premier League in recent weeks.

The batsman, who averaged a shade below 50 while playing for the Edgbaston outfit nine years ago, glued the innings together nicely as the game began to run away from the hosts.

A 71-ball half-century plus the introduction of flamboyant Roy accelerated Surrey’s lead past the 250 mark ahead of tea.

The new ball was offered soon after the interval and with it was the return of Keith Barker to the bowling crease.

Having bowled economically without reward in the early overs of the third innings, failing to concede a run in five overs yesterday evening, the 29-year-old stuck twice in successive overs to remove both set batsmen.

Roy’s fireworks were brought to an end as Rikki Clarke took a smart at first slip before veteran Sangakkara flashed at a wide ball to gift Ambrose his 50th dismissal in the County Championship season.

Teenager Sam Curran and gloveman Steve Davies put on an excellent 100 stand for the seventh-wicket as Surrey motored towards their target score to set the hosts.

Both batsmen struck the ball nicely at healthy strike rates, finding the boundary 13 times between them.

Bowler Chris Wright laboured away and took two in two balls to give the home side some parity after a difficult day in the field.

Davies found Patel fielding on the mid-wicket boundary before Tom Curran nicked a back-of-a-length delivery to Ambrose, despite not being best pleased with the umpire’s decision.

His brother fell shortly after in an extravagant 56-ball 62 and Mark Footitt was the last to depart with the score on 390.

The Bears were required to see off two overs at the end of the day, but Westwood fell for a second ball duck after Tom Curran’s inswinger cannoned into the left-hander’s pad.

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