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Advantage Surrey at Aigburth
Advantage Surrey at Aigburth
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Tom Bailey and Alex Davies made their first-class debuts for Lancashire today as the much delayed Championship game against Surrey finally got under way

Zander de Bruyn’s first hundred of the season helped Surrey enjoy the better of day three at Liverpool today in the last LV= County Championship match of 2012 following two days of rain.

Two much-changed teams took to the field after Steven Croft, captaining the Red Rose in the Championship for the first time in place of rested Glen Chapple, won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first.

Lancashire handed first-class debuts to fast bowler Tom Bailey and wicketkeeper Alex Davies, 21 and 18 respectively, and both can be pleased with their performances during their first senior day of cricket against the red ball.

Bailey returned figures of 1-67 from 17 overs and Davies took two catches during the afternoon, but Surrey’s will be the happier of the two dressing rooms thanks to former South Africa international de Bruyn and youngsters Rory Burns and Tom Jewell.

De Bruyn, whose previous season’s best of 94 was against the Red Rose in the draw at Guildford in July, top-scored with an unbeaten 105 off 229 balls, while opener Burns hit 73 and Jewell 57 not out. There were four partnerships of 50 or more throughout the day, including an unbroken 146 for the sixth wicket between de Bruyn and Jewell.

“It was nice to get out there, especially for the young lads to get a go. I think everyone enjoyed it,” said Croft, who is hoping for a positive conclusion to the match tomorrow by the way of a Red Rose run chase.

“Hopefully there’s something around or we can bowl well enough to try and make it a game. We want to play competitive cricket.

“It was a bit of an up and down day for us. It was the sort of a day that was standard in our season. First session they got away from us, second session we were brilliant and then in that last session it sort of got away from us a little bit. In general I thought we stuck at it quite well.”

After conceding eight in his first over, Bailey settled quickly and claimed his maiden wicket in his fifth over when he knocked back Zafar Ansari’s off-stump to remove the batsman for 23 and leave the visitors at 50-1 (pictured above).

Having been invited to bat by Croft, it had proved to be a productive start for Surrey, with Bailey’s new ball partner Oliver Newby going for 27 from his first four overs, including 24 from his third and fourth.

On the back of Bailey’s seven-over opening spell costing 19 runs, Lancashire’s attack enjoyed an impressive second hour of the morning as Surrey were restricted in the face of some tight bowling from fellow seamers Tom Smith and Luke Procter.

Newby also came back strongly in his second four-over spell, which yielded the wicket of Arun Harinath well caught by a tumbling Paul Horton at first slip, leaving the score at 101-2 after 27 overs.

De Bruyn started the afternoon session by lofting Simon Kerrigan for a straight six before pulling Bailey, now bowling from the River End, for four as the third-wicket pair took their partnership towards 50.

Bailey also received an official warning from umpire Michael Gough for running on the pitch during his third spell, the 41st over of the innings.

Smith replaced him in the attack immediately afterwards, striking ten overs later to prevent Burns from scoring his second Championship century of the season and hand Davies his maiden catch behind the stumps, leaving the score at 160-3 in the 51st over.

Another change at the River End reaped further reward, this time Procter profiting with two wickets in the space of three balls in the 57th over as swing caused Jason Roy and England fringe wicketkeeper Steven Davies problems. Roy was bowled for 13 and Davies caught behind by Davies for a duck as the visitors slipped to 178-5.

It meant that Surrey had lost their last three wickets for 18 runs in 40 deliveries, helping Procter finish his second spell with 2-11 from five overs. But, unfortunately, that was as much success as Lancashire had because de Bruyn and Jewell united to share the highest stand of the day either side of the tea break to take their side beyond 300.

Early in the evening session de Bruyn lofted Kerrigan for another straight six before bringing up three figures off 221 balls.

Today was final confirmation of Croft’s status as a senior player in the Lancashire dressing room despite him only being 28 next month. The all-rounder has enjoyed another excellent personal campaign in all forms of the game. Not only has he excelled in limited overs cricket, earning a call-up to England’s provisional 30-man World Twenty20 squad, he has also scored two hundreds in the Championship.

“This morning I was on the old side in the football for the warm-ups,” he added. “It really hit home then. At least we still won, and I scored a hat-trick!”

Graham Hardcastle
Article (c) Lancashire CCC Ltd
Photo: Tom Bailey bowls Zafar Ansari to claim his maiden first-class wicket (c) Barry Mitchell