Cricket is a strange game sometimes, often due to the weather. How peculiar it was that the best time of the day — with the sun shining, albeit briefly — came just after 6pm, despite much of the afternoon being lost to rain. Ben Foakes had been forced to rebuild Surrey’s innings during the morning but Somerset ended the second day at Guildford on top.
The umpires had taken the players from the field for bad light just after 2pm, with light rain setting in moments later. A ball before play was halted, a fierce bouncer from Jamie Overton, in very dark conditions, likely influenced the decision.
After a three and a half hour delay, play finally resumed with Surrey losing Scott Borthwick, driving recklessly and caught brilliantly by Steven Davies in front of first slip but Ryan Patel and Will Jacks added 34 to reach stumps five wickets down, 156 runs adrift.
Craig Overton said Somerset didn’t fully capitalise. “We didn’t start off very well,” he said. “We got better towards the end of the session but we still feel like we’re right in the game so we’re not too disappointed.”
“If you bowl well with the new ball you get wickets and the ball doesn’t go soft but it goes softer after 25, 30 overs and it’s always a little bit trickier. I feel like if you get it in the right areas there’s enough in the wicket and we showed that in periods. They also showed that you can score quickly as well so it’s still finely balanced I think.”
Foakes agreed: “It’s the sort of wicket where there’s quite a lot in it for the bowlers and they bowled pretty well at times so that can happen but here at Guildford with the outfield you’re always in the game and you can always cash in if a couple of guys get in so that will be the plan tomorrow.”
The day’s first session had followed, eerily so, the structure of play from the first day, with Surrey three wickets down early before rebuilding the innings. Mark Stoneman clipped the sixth ball of the morning for six, effortlessly picking the ball off his legs against Craig Overton.
Stoneman struck three more boundaries square of the wicket before making a horrendous misjudgement, leaving one from Jack Brooks. He expected the ball to move across him but it was far too close, and some slight swing back in removed off stump.
Rory Burns fell for two — his lowest completed score in the Championship for two years — driving loosely against Overton, caught smartly by Marcus Trescothick in the slips. Jamie Overton claimed Dean Elgar lbw with his first red-ball delivery for Somerset this season after his loan spell at Northamptonshire.
The new ball was once again causing damage in overcast conditions — Surrey had 38 at three wickets; Somerset had 35 — was left to Foakes to steady the ship, and he did so in typically elegant fashion, wrists in full flow clipping the ball off his legs.
A pull off Jamie Overton charmed the Guildford crowd, slightly depleted from the first day but still healthy, as Foakes reminded those in attendance of his batting credentials. His third half-century of the season was counterattacking, with ten fours coming in his 57, but a loose drive gave Jamie Overton his second wicket.
Before play began, Sam Curran was doing some sprinting with Rob Ahmun, Surrey’s former strength and conditioning coach who now holds the same role at the ECB. Curran pulled his right hamstring against Kent two weeks ago and may be fit for Yorkshire’s visit to Guildford next week.