Days like these make something of a mockery of cricket. After more than two and a half hours of persistent rain, and with a similar number of spectators to members of the press — 11 — still in attendance, the third day between Yorkshire and Surrey at Guildford was abandoned after just 27.4 overs in the day.
Yorkshire had reached 58-1, replying to Surrey’s 313, by one o’clock when umpires Jeremy Lloyds and Tim Robinson took the players from the field for bad light; gloomy skies and Morne Morkel are not a safe combination.
Rain at the early lunch refuse to relent and play was eventually curtailed at 3:45pm.
The umpires have a duty to try and get the game on, but in circumstances such as these some common sense must surely prevail.
“All you can do is play your best cricket and hope the weather improves,” said Steven Patterson, the Yorkshire captain.
“I think it’s the kind of surface here—we bowled because it went down to a three-day game.
“I never thought it was going to be a minefield. I thought it was going to be a decent wicket but with it only being three days the best chance of winning the game was to bowl first, and it didn’t pan out as well as we’d have liked.
“It’s the kind of surface if you play a full four days it would have been a really good game of cricket.”
With the game scenario as it is, and Thursday’s forecast just as miserable, Patterson doesn’t expect a contrivance. “Having not discussed it with anybody, the fact that we’d be sacrificing any potential batting points, it would have to be something that would be in our favour to make it considerable. But at this stage, no.” he said.
Surrey’s innings lasted just 34 more balls on the third morning. Morne Morkel fell to a conventional edge, straight to second slip, and although Jordan Clark (26) opened up as his side passed 300, he skied to mid on to give Patterson a five-wicket-haul.
Yorkshire started slowly and Will Fraine had an early let-off, a leading edge dropped by Mark Stoneman, moving to cover from mid off. Adam Lyth looked good at the other end, a series of gorgeous cover drives off both the front and back foot bringing him four of his five boundaries.
He eventually went edging to gully, where Will Jacks took a sharp, stunning catch, one-handed and low to his right. Even he seemed somewhat surprised it stuck, but Jacks is quickly developing a reputation for making brilliant catches look ordinary. Few familiar with his abilities would have needed to double check Lyth’s catcher.
Yorkshire confirmed that Duanne Olivier will not bowl again in the match, and will undergo a scan for a hip problem when the team return to Leeds. Meanwhile, Surrey captain Rory Burns expects to be fit for Warwickshire’s visit to The Oval in two weeks, after missing this match due to a back spasm — a relief for a side currently with 12 senior players unavailable through injury or international commitments.
“During the one-day cup we had ten players unavailable at one time,” Scott Borthwick told The Guardian, “It’s ridiculous – not many counties would be able to cope with so many injuries.
“And they’ve been daft ones, too. I got a side injury trying to slog one against the students. I never even knew I had a muscle in my side!
“The week off has come at a good time. The big lads have had to put a shift in, they’ll be wanting a rest.”