Despite the 10:30 start only a couple of overs had elapsed when I walked into The Oval on Tuesday morning. Surrey were batting and that remained the case until after lunch on Wednesday. Batty had won a contested toss and opted to bat on a surface that played true throughout the two days of which only five minutes were lost when bad light intervened with just two overs left to bowl yesterday evening.
This picture was taken shortly before Messrs Burns and Mallender called it a night.
During Tuesday morning's play another Burns, Rory, and Stoneman feasted on some wayward Yorkshire bowling. Four seamers, average age 34, were put to the sword while the leading wicket taker, aged 23 and who played a day and a half's cricket last week brought out the drinks. 126 without loss at over four an over at lunch tells the story and another 52 were added at almost five an over before Hodd pulled off a smart catch to see the back of Burns, the first of five wickets for Brooks. Stoneman's hundred followed shortly after and surely he can choose his seat on the plane to Australia in November. Patel was up at three and played nicely but he was only the warm up act for Sangakkara who came in shortly before tea.
Yorkshire a bit short of gas at tea
Post tea Sangakkara and Foakes added 139 and the fifth batting point was only two runs away at stumps. Two Surrey supporters sitting by me were adamant they would be in their seats at 10:30 on the second day with the batting point, Sangakkara's hundred and Foakes not too far behind all likely to provide an opportunity to applaud.
The three milestones duly came up, Sangakkara's century his third against Yorkshire this year and each time against a different coloured ball. At four hundred the bonus point score was 5/1 and although Foakes became a little more circumspect his hundred duly arrived. Sangakkara' finally fell when he was caught by Coad, promoted from drinks carrying, who held on at long leg. Pope, maiden century last week, felt the rough side of the sandpaper when he was bowled first ball to set up a hat trick opportunity which came to nought but Brooks had Foakes caught behind before lunch at 543 for 7.
During the interval I turned my back on the sausage rolls at £4:70 and ventured to an excellent deli/café just five minutes walk from the ground and returned in time to see Surrey batting on with Clarke and van den Bergh at the crease. It was Patterson's turn to reap some reward but a last wicket stand of 37 saw Surrey just eight short of 600 when Clarke was brilliantly caught by Bresnan. 52 overs left in the day and almost 450 to avoid the follow on.
For the first time in over five years neither Lyth nor Lees opened the innings, instead Marsh, to be replaced by Brathwaite next week, and Kohler-Cadmore took the field and from a modest Surrey attack, Ricki Clarke was surely not brought from Warwickshire to open the bowling, they took rich pickings. The younger Cullen, Clarke, Meaker, Batty all had no joy and it was left to former Durham University man Freddie van den Bergh to get the only wicket, his first in the championship. Kohler-Cadmore was his victim, out for an excellent 78 but Marsh and Lees saw things through to the only slightly premature close, still 421 behind. Gulp, a lot to do today and tomorrow, especially as Somerset seem likely to beat Lancashire. Middlesex, the other team with concerns about relegation, have managed only 30 overs in two days. The forecast for Uxbridge for today suggests they might get almost a full day's play but is less promising for tomorrow.
Grand Central trains had me back in York eight minutes before the appointed time and I shall follow the next couple of days via the online commentary. Plenty of league cricket left for Saturday and the two national club ko finals on Sunday. Championship cricket resumes on Tuesday by which time Warwickshire, who visit Headingley, may well be relegated, almost certainly Yorkshire will need to beat them.
Surrey members wait for the Hobbs' gates to open on Wednesday morning, anxious to get the hands on the first batch of sausage rolls. Washed down with a pint of Greene King and you have 10p change from a new Jane Austen. You do the maths.