Burst from Tom Bailey threatens Surrey’s undefeated streak

Will Williams played an incredible innings of 61 runs

In a remarkable closing hour at the Kia Oval, Tom Bailey claimed four wickets in 16 balls during an 11-over opening performance of four for 34 to reduce Surrey to 57 for 5 and give Lancashire the chance to hand the Division One leaders their first loss of the year.

The county champions had previously been stopped by Will Williams, Bailey’s new ball partner, who batted as nightwatcher for four and a half hours for a resolute career-best 61, leaving Surrey needing 208 to secure a sixth victory in eight games this season.

However, by day three’s end, Lancashire was the team that appeared to have the better chance of winning as Bailey destroyed Surrey’s top order after the home team had eventually bowled out Lancashire for 293 in their second innings. Lancashire had been held up by Williams’ persistent resistance and also by an explosive 54 from Phil Salt, who had now scored two half-centuries for the match.

Dom Sibley and Tom Latham were both dismissed for one run each in Bailey’s first two overs. Jamie Smith and Ben Foakes were both dismissed for four and five runs respectively in his sixth and seventh overs.

The replacement fielder Rob Jones did a great job of holding Sibley and Latham at second slip, while Foakes was caught behind and pushing out defensively while Smith was leg-before-shouldering arms to an off cutter.

Rory Burns, the captain of Surrey, was dismissed for 20 in the 20th of the 24 overs Lancashire bowled during a remarkable mini-session, caught at first slip off Jack Blatherwick’s fourth delivery. Will Jacks is still in the game with a 19-score not out.

Williams, a 30-year-old New Zealander with a British passport, started the day with Lancashire 113 for 4 and a one-run lead overall. However, he held off Surrey’s five-pronged pace attack, which was led by Dan Worrall’s 3 for 69, almost until tea to score his first-ever first-class half-century.

Christchurch-born In 54 first-class games, Williams’ previous high score was just 38, which he recorded for Canterbury against Wellington in February 2020. His previous 698 runs came at a lowly average of just 13, and this was his 75th first-class innings. 

However, Williams’ steady batting and solid defense enabled Salt to add 95 runs in 37 overs for the sixth wicket.

Favorites to win the LV= Insurance County Championship After lunch, with the second new ball, Surrey turned to a short-ball onslaught against Williams. Despite the fact that his run production suddenly slowed to a trickle—he made just 10 runs in close to 30 overs in the afternoon session—Will Williams persevered bravely and ultimately faced 220 balls.

In a tense morning session, Surrey had only managed to score one victory thanks to Burns, who jumped high at mid-off to make a spectacular one-handed grab of Daryl Mitchell‘s lofted drive at Worrall.

In the 12th over of the day, Burns’ athleticism as he managed to clutch down a ball that appeared to be clearing him leaving New Zealand Test batter Mitchell, who had reached 30 and was on 17 at the time of the over, in awe. Mitchell had looked in terrific form as he had reached 30 and was on 17.

Once again, the fielder failed to hold on to a chance above his head as Salt was dropped by Smith at extra cover off Tom Lawes with only five runs remaining in the innings.

Williams, who was on 23 when Sam Curran edged him between slip and gully, otherwise batted against the Surrey seamers with a fair amount of comfort. And Williams hit the offspinner straight for six when Jacks was called upon for a few overs before lunch, raising Lancashire’s total to 200 and raising his own score to 49.

Soon after, the 30-year-old reached his half-century from 124 balls, and Surrey’s frustration level increased when, long after lunch, Latham, diving to his right at second slip, dismissed Salt off Curran on 30, in the first over with the second new ball, when he was 30.

Before Surrey could celebrate their sixth wicket of the innings, 32 runs were added to the score. Salt was bowled behind the legs by Jordan Clark, with the ball flicking his back pad on its way into his leg stump as Lancashire’s keeper-batter attempted for square leg.

With just 10 runs under his belt when he edged a drive at Sean Abbott to first slip, left-hander Balderson narrowly avoided being sent off with his first ball, a violent lifter that nipped an arm on the way through to goalkeeper Foakes.

Williams required some on-field assistance after receiving a severe punch to the bicep on run-out at run-out 57 from an Abbott bouncer. Williams’ valiant struggle ultimately came to an end four overs before tea when he gloved a short ball from Lawes into Smith’s hands at short leg.

When No. 11 Jack Morley successfully deflected a Worrall lifter to short leg, Lancashire’s gritty second inning effort came to an end. Bailey’s useful 25, which included some strong off-side strokes, was cut short by a top-edged pull at Curran that was well-held on the deep square leg ropes by Worrall.