LV= Insurance County Championship - 8 April 2021
Gloucestershire won by 8 wickets
Venue: Bristol County Ground
Gloucestershire v Surrey
Graeme van Buuren’s third century for Gloucestershire, in only 94 balls, steered them to an eight-wicket victory over Surrey at Bristol and a first win in the fixture since 2011.
Van Buuren’s unbeaten 110 and 91 not out from captain Chris Dent saw the Glosters canter to their target of 228 in only 38 overs with an unbroken third wicket partnership of 193.
Ben Foakes’s 133 had given Surrey hope of saving the game but Gloucestershire took their final five second-innings wickets for only 15 runs to leave 63 overs for the chase.
Dent anchored the pursuit with his second half-century of the match, in 71 balls, but van Buuren’s hundred with 15 fours and two sixes turned it into a waltz.
He pulled Reece Topley over square leg and then fine leg for maximums. He drove Topley through mid-off for four and punched Amar Virdi smartly down the ground.
A thick edge from Jamie Overton flew just wide of gully before he reached fifty in only 44 balls and he swept Virdi for four to raise the hundred partnership.
After a brief rain delay he reached his first hundred since 2016 by swatting Clark through midwicket before Dent carved Overton to third man to complete an extremely impressive victory over the 2018 county champions.
They were initially frustrated in their victory push as Foakes and Jordan Clark extended their sixth-wicket stand to 131 in the morning session to push the lead beyond 200.
Foakes made his 11th first-class century and fourth against Gloucestershire, this in 187 balls with 16 fours.
Clark’s seventh boundary, driven though cover off Ryan Higgins, brought him fifty in 100 balls as Surrey’s hopes of escaping up the M4 with a draw grew.
Matt Taylor finally found the breakthrough with one that nipped in from round the wicket to trim Clark’s leg bail before full balls from Higgins won lbws against Jamie Overton and Gus Atkinson.
Foakes then fell to a superb catch from wicketkeeper James Bracey diving low to his right and when a moment’s indecision allowed Tom Lace to run out Amar Virdi with a direct hit from point, Surrey had crashed to 333 all out and the chase was afoot.
Bracey lifted Virdi to mid-off and Lace was taken at third slip before the match-winning stand between van Buuren and Dent began.
Ben Foakes and Rory Burns kept Surrey alive against Gloucestershire as they closed day three at Bristol 232 for five in their second innings leading by 126.
After Gloucestershire took a first innings lead of 106, Surrey lost three for seven to slip to 48 for three, still trailing by 58, but Burns, who made 74, and Foakes, unbeaten on 81 at the close, shared 97 for the fourth wicket.
Burns fell before tea and when David Payne bowled Jamie Smith with the last ball of the session, Surrey were 187 for five, only 81 ahead.
But Foakes and Jordan Clark took their side to the close still in the game.
It’s been a difficult few months for Burns who never got going during last summer’s internationals and whose paternity leave interrupted his winter with England that eventually saw him dropped for the final two Tests in India.
A skittish dismissal in the first innings here was not the start to the season he envisaged but a 130-ball stay would have raised hopes of a successful season.
He began with two back-foot steers for four off Payne and steered the same bowler to deep square to raise fifty in 93 balls. He dismissal would have grated - top-edging a pull to sky a catch to long leg where Payne took a smart catch.
Burns guided Surrey through a concerning wobble as Mark Stoneman fell over trying to work Ryan Higgins to leg and fell lbw and Hashim Amla edged Matt Taylor behind for a 12-ball duck. Ollie Pope was also caught at the wicket to Taylor, again playing a loose drive, and Surrey were heading out of the contest.
But Foakes settled with Burns after lunch and the pair moved the visitors into the lead with Foakes passing fifty in 92 balls and will return on day four hoping to build the lead beyond 200.
Foakes lost Burns and then Smith before tea, the latter to one from Payne that held its line from round the wicket, as Gloucestershire claimed the ascendency.
The hosts nudged their lead into three figures at the start of the day as Reece Topley added the wicket of Jack Taylor to claim five for 66 - his first five-wicket haul in a first-class match since 2014.
Chris Dent has, at times, carried Gloucestershire’s batting in the past years and it was he who again led his side’s effort as they built a solid response to Surrey’s 220 at Bristol, though it was far from a lone hand as the hosts reached 311 for eight at the end of day two.
Dent’s bright 78 was followed by 54 from James Bracey and Tom Lace’s 65. None of them could turn their positions into a potentially match-defining innings but they still helped give Gloucestershire a significant lead and three batting points.
After Surrey were polished off in three balls of day two, Dent and Bracey immediately put the home side on the front foot with a rattling opening stand of 139 in 28 overs.
Dent survived a chance to second slip on 28, where Jamie Overton couldn’t claim the catch leaping at full stretch over his head, and went on to pull Overton for six over midwicket to raise fifty in just 55 balls.
Another maximum was hoisted down the ground from Amar Virdi’s offspin but just after lunch he couldn’t get out of the way in time trying to leave Reece Topley and edged into his stumps.
It was a bonus for Surrey, who were much relieved to break the opening partnership on the stroke of lunch when Virdi skidded one into Bracey playing back.
The wicketkeeper had impressed, punishing three wide deliveries from Gus Atkinson for four before skipping down to lift Virdi for another boundary. A calm single in front of cover brought him fifty in 81 balls.
The third half-centurion was Lace, in his first innings since signing permanently from Middlesex. It should have ended before it began as he chopped Topley to second slip on 0 only for the catch to bounce out of Overton’s hands at shoulder height. He also edged Overton just wide of fourth slip but clipped two pleasant boundaries through midwicket in his 101-ball half-century before sweeping at Virdi, missing, and falling lbw.
Lace was one of five afternoon wickets for Surrey as they kept Gloucestershire in sight and when they took two wickets in 15 deliveries with the second new ball, the hosts were eight down leading by 62.
But Jack Taylor, who at one stage was 1 from 41 balls, and his brother Matt, nudged their side beyond 300 to regain momentum before rain again curtailed play.
The opening day of the new LV= Insurance County Championship season saw Bristol over 20 degrees cooler than Chennai, where Rory Burns last walked out in a competitive match, and Surrey felt a chill all day as they made 220 for nine against Gloucestershire.
Josh Shaw, four for 48, and Ryan Higgins, three for 35, ensured the home side did not squander winning the toss on a green-tinged pitch. They were denied the chance to finish Surrey off inside the day by late rain.
They may even feel a touch disappointed, having conceded 32 boundaries. Higgins, beginning the season averaging just 21 with the ball, was the chief exception, leaking only 35 runs from his 19 overs.
The challenge for Burns was the diametric opposite of that which he faced in India, as the players walked out in conditions that might have drawn contented expressions in January. But he nonetheless failed, with an angle through the slips for four before he edged to second slip driving at one from David Payne that swung away. Ollie Pope also drove loosely, to backward-point, for 22 in Surrey’s struggle.
With England’s batsmen having not contributed, 38-year-old Hashim Amla, now an overseas player with Kolpak registrations ended, guided his side to 91 for three at lunch with a series of punchy cover drives and punishment of George Scott’s wide deliveries. He reached an 85-ball fifty, but soon after the break was driving flat-footedly at Shaw and palpably lbw for 56.
Ben Foakes, lbw for 26, beaten by one from Higgins that nipped back, and Jordan Clarke, sharply held by wicketkeeper James Bracey standing up to Higgins for 8, quickly fell to leave Surrey in a hole at 144 for six.
From which point regret might linger for Gloucestershire as Jamie Overton made a streaky 40 - edging Payne just wide of second slip and Scott also narrowly past at catcher at takable height. He went on to flick Shaw to fine leg to raise a batting point but eventually fell dragging Payne into his off stump trying to force off the back foot.
Jamie Smith, one of Surrey’s brightest young things, also lost his off stump, for 20, to one that nipped back from Shaw and the same delivery accounted for Gus Atkinson in just his third first-class match.
Gloucestershire won the toss and elected to bowl.
Christopher Dent | James Bracey | Tom Lace | Graeme van Buuren | George Hankins | Ryan Higgins | Jack Taylor | George Scott | David Payne | Matthew Taylor | Joshua Shaw |
Rory Burns | Mark Stoneman | Hashim Amla | Jordan Clark | Ollie Pope | Benjamin Foakes | Jamie Smith | Jamie Overton | Angus Atkinson | Amar Virdi | Reece Topley |
|Gloucestershire win by 8 wickets||Surrey second innings|
333 all out
|Gloucestershire second innings|
229 - 2
|Surrey First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||9b 9lb 0nb 0p 0w||18|
Fall of wickets
|Gloucestershire First Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||1b 19lb 20nb 0p 0w||40|
Fall of wickets
|Surrey Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||9b 7lb 12nb 0p 0w||28|
Fall of wickets
|Graeme van Buuren||13||3||28||0|
|Gloucestershire Second Innings||How out||Runs||Minutes||Balls||4s||6s|
|Extras||1b 0lb 12nb 0p 1w||14|
Fall of wickets