Slightly easier batting conditions on Day Three at Derby allowed Surrey to set their hosts a huge target for victory, but there was more than just a good batting pitch involved in the win. Thanks to some fine bowling all round, Derbyshire never looked like catching the total and Surrey earned themselves a day off by wrapping a three day win and by a substantial margin.
A match that started quite evenly, and left the hosts slightly ahead of their opposition at close of play on Day One, was turned around by the efforts of the Surrey bowlers on Day Two, with Derbyshire bowled out for 207 and only Hamish Rutherford really making any headway; then capitalised on by Ben Foakes, Dom Sibley and James Burke on Day Three.
With Surrey starting the day 77/2 and then losing Dean Elgar early, Derbyshire might’ve been forgiven for thinking they were in with a chance. That would be the last of the wickets for some time, though.
Despite bowling well and getting a decent amount of swing Mark Footitt, Tony Palladino and co were unable to phase the strong talents of Foakes and Sibley. The two put on a partnership of 59 before Wayne White had Sibley lbw. Foakes went for 16 in the following over, as Footitt removed his off stump.
Though Sibley and Foakes set the example, it was the partnership between Gareth Batty and James Burke that really took Surrey up and away from Derbyshire’s reach. The pairing reached 106, broken only when Batty sliced at Wes Durston and was caught by Billy Godleman for 37. Before he was removed, Burke made 73 runs, with 11 fours and one 6 in the mix.
By the time the remaining wickets tumbled, Surrey had reached 315 and had set the Falcons a formidable target of 348 runs. The total may have been somewhat smaller had Derbyshire not given away 61 extras in the innings, a record of sorts for the county.
Perhaps it was to be expected that the hosts would struggle to chase down such a target; what was not so expected was that they would collapse so drastically. The Surrey bowlers shared the spoils around as they bowled the Falcons out within 40 overs. Gareth finished with 4 wickets for 32.
Derbyshire were all out for 125, with White making the top score of just 23 runs, and Surrey took a clinical 222 run win. The Southerners continue in their efforts to whittle down Lancashire’s lead on the table.