Cricket: Lawrence leads Essex fightback at Surrey
PUBLISHED: 18:17 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 18:17 12 April 2019
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An unbeaten 87 from Essex's Dan Lawrence frustrated champions Surrey on the second day of their Specsavers County Championship match at the Kia Oval.
Lawrence held Essex’s top order together as they reached 202-4 in reply to Surrey’s 395 before bad light ended play with 21 overs of the day’s allocation not bowled.
A strong Surrey attack scented blood when Tom Curran removed Alastair Cook (11) and Morne Morkel picked up Nick Browne in the next over to leave Essex 20-2.
But Lawrence and Tom Westley blunted the new-ball threat and settled down to put on 96 for the third wicket.
A slow pitch offered the bowlers little room for error and although both batsmen played the occasional loose shot they began to accumulate with increasing authority. Curran was summoned back into the attack in the 35th over after Freddie van den Bergh made little headway with his left-arm spin and he got the breakthrough, removing Westley for 41, courtesy of an outstanding catch by Ollie Pope diving full-length to his right in the gully.
That left Essex 116-3, but debutant Rishi Patel, a 20-year-old right-hander from Chigwell, played the most eye-catching innings of the day as he helped Lawrence put on 52 for the fourth wicket.
Patel’s 31 came off just 25 balls and included six fours, the majority struck calmly through the off side. It was a surprise when he was caught at slip trying to force Rikki Clarke off the back foot in the last over before tea.
Lawrence and Ryan ten Doeschate regrouped in the final session, putting on 34 before umpires Richard Kettleborough and Nick Cook decided conditions were too gloomy, even though floodlights had been on since just after tea.
The first part of the day had been dominated by Surrey’s 21-year-old left-hander Ryan Patel who completed an unbeaten 100 – his maiden Championship century.
Resuming on 70, he soon lost Liam Plunkett (0) to a ball from Peter Siddle that nipped back to take out middle and off stumps.
The Australian then picked up his sixth wicket of the innings when van den Bergh (16) was leg before to an in-swinger after helping Patel add 26 for the ninth wicket.
Last man Morkel held around long enough to help Patel through to his century, which he reached with two runs off Matt Quinn the ball after he drove Quinn through the covers to collect his 17th four.
When Morkel (7) holed out in the next over Patel had faced 278 balls and batted for six-and-a-quarter hours. The excellent Siddle finished with 6-104.
Surrey then struck twice early in the Essex reply as Curran went around the wicket to Cook and the former England captain edged behind, then Morkel trapped Browne leg before with a nip-backer.
Lawrence’s technique was tested early on but by stumps he had faced 146 balls and hit 12 fours. The 21-year-old had a modest 2018 when he averaged only 23.40 and scored just one century but he looked back to his best.