In Gareth Batty and Freddie van den Bergh, Surrey have two spinners whose experience is stunningly contrasting. This, van den Bergh’s first Specsavers County Championship appearance and seventh first-class match, represents the captain’s 251st.
And yet the pair, for their difference in age and style, bowled nicely on this third day as Yorkshire, eventually asked to follow-on, need to bat the entirety of the final day in order to save this match – and, perhaps, increase their slowly fading survival hopes.
Having been bowled out for 394, taking four batting bonus points, Yorkshire were put back in given their 198-run deficit. Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who played admirably for his 78 on the second evening, fell for just 12 to Sam Curran, but they escaped the day with no further loss, and a considerable amount of batting to do.
Van den Bergh was involved in the first four wickets of the first innings, the first three to fall today, accounting for Shaun Marsh (78) and Alex Lees (46). He bowled 32 consecutive overs dating back to before tea on the second day, returning three for 73 – impressive work on debut – and it was thus unsurprising that Surrey were, at one stage, +10 on the overrate.
He fooled Marsh in the flight, the opener two steps down the crease and, unbalanced, unable to get back before Less departed thanks to a wonderful catch at backward square by Ryan Patel, one handed low to his right.
Gary Ballance was the master of his own downfall, looking to steal a single to cover but being sent back, bowler van den Bergh athletically round to claim the run out.
“It’s extremely satisfying,” van den Bergh said of his debut.
“Obviously, I had to wait a while, the strength of the squad we have here I’ve just been biding my time and waiting for the opportunity to come and I’m really glad I could take it today, get a few wickets and help the team.”
The skipper eventually brought himself on from van den Bergh’s Pavilion End 25 overs after the second new ball was taken and immediately found more joy than his 20 from the Vauxhall End.
Tim Bresnan edged to slip trying to work the third ball to leg before, three balls later, Azeem Rafiq was trapped in front. Batty eventually took the last man, Andrew Hodd for 57, miscuing one to cover where Stuart Meaker took a simple catch.
In 50 balls from the Pavilion End, Batty had claimed three wickets for just 19. It was unsurprising, then that he took that end half an hour before the close before turning to his junior tweaker.
Hodd had, for a time, looked as though he might be able to save the follow-on – and, with it, the game – for Yorkshire. His was a fairly innocuous innings having entered the fray with the dismissal of Ballance at 243-4.
Across three hours of batting, he was patient, wary of the ramifications of both this Yorkshire innings and the season were he to give his wicket away cheaply.
In that regard, the manner of his dismissal would have been a touch disappointing for 49 more runs did not feel too strenuous on a wicket that remains pretty lifeless.
“I don’t want to bat again,” said Hodd, despite now having back-to-back half-centuries. “The pitch is still good, there’s no demons in it really. It’ll just take a bit of application and a bit of skill, but we’ve got players who’ve got a lot of skill and hopefully application.”
Curran and Meaker had picked up the remaining three Yorkshire wickets. Jack Leaning made it to 32 but was caught well by Ben Foakes having found an outside edge.
Meaker sent Steven Patterson’s middle stump cartwheeling before Curran and Foakes combined again to remove Jack Brooks.