Burns not putting bubbly on ice as Surrey close in on County Championship title

BY MARCUS HOOK

Rory Burns insists it is too early to be putting the champagne on ice in readiness for Surrey’s first County Championship title since 2002.

The Oval outfit have won eight of their 10 matches and sit top of the table – 32 points ahead of second-placed Somerset with four games remaining.

Next up for Surrey are the defending champions Essex.

Burns has called on his players to work just as hard.

“In terms of the title, I don’t think it is a done deal yet,” said the Surrey skipper following another thumping victory over Nottinghamshire, who were third, but have now been leapfrogged by Essex.

“We will simply continue to do the things we have been doing well, which is trying to concentrate on building partnerships when we bat and then build pressure with the ball. As a group we are playing well, but we must keep it going.”

A major positive for Burns is the return to form of his fellow opening batsman Mark Stoneman. Stoneman made 144, his first century of the season, as Surrey amassed 375 after being put into bat by Notts.

Surrey’s trio of fast bowlers – Conor McKerr, Tom Curran and Morne Morkel – then went to work, claimed 18 wickets between them as Notts were skittled out for 101 and 149, following on.

“It was another great win and Mark Stoneman set it up for us by playing a really good innings when conditions were not easy, with the ball nipping around a bit and also swinging,” said Burns.

“It was a slightly better time for us to bat on that first day, as the pitch was a bit slower, but I’m really happy with the way we’ve played. The quicker bowlers were all outstanding and it was another excellent team effort.”

Tom Curran, who took six wickets in his first County Championship appearance of the season, said: “It’s good to be playing four-day cricket again and to be able to contribute.

“It’s felt like a stop-start summer since I got back from the Indian Premier League in May, and being sidelined with injury in July didn’t help. I’ve had a few little niggles, but now I’m back fully fit and being able to help the team win another game makes it all the sweeter.”

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AN OVER OF STATS

Ball 1 – Surrey’s 125-run victory over Notts extended their unbeaten run of County Championship games at the Oval to 25.

Ball 2 – It was the Oval outfit’s fifth innings win of the campaign, which is the most the county have enjoyed in a single summer since 1957, when they notched up nine.

Ball 3 – Notts are the first team Surrey have beaten twice in the same season by an innings since… Notts (in 2003). The four that Surrey have never done a season’s innings double against are Durham, Kent, Worcestershire and Yorkshire.

Ball 4 – Surrey’s current run of 7 successive wins in this season’s County Championship is their best since 2000, when seven of the Oval outfit’s eight victories that year were achieved consecutively.

Ball 5 – Rory Burns is the first batsman in the country to reach 1,000 first-class runs this season. It’s the fifth year on the trot the Surrey skipper has achieved the feat. In 2013, Burns made 917, otherwise this would be his sixth in a row.

Ball 6 – Should Sam Curran make 20-plus the next time he bats for England, he will equal the record for the most consecutive scores of 20 or more to start a Test career. The record (seven) is held jointly by the former Surrey and England captain Douglas Jardine (in 1929) – who, of course, was infamous for Bodyline – and David Steele (in 1976), who is one of only four cricketers to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award.

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