BY MARCUS HOOK
Jordan Clark bagged his first five-wicket haul as a Surrey player to transform the Oval outfit’s fortunes on day one of the current County Championship Division One clash at Scarborough.
It ended with Surrey 48 without loss in their first innings, trailing Yorkshire by 279.
“It just seems to keep happening for me against Yorkshire,” said Clark who took a hat-trick for Lancashire in the Roses Match at Old Trafford last season. And it was no ordinary one, given that the scalps were Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Jonny Bairstow.
The early exchanges at Scarborough on Sunday were dominated by the hosts, whose skipper Steven Patterson won a 10th successive toss. By lunch, Yorkshire were already celebrating their first three-figure partnership for the first wicket since the end of 2017.
Will Fraine, whose previous highest score was 42, hit 106 and the former England opener Adam Lyth 55, before Rikki Clarke struck in the 27th over.
Fraine had luck was on his side – being dropped on 31 by Dean Elgar at gully, off Jordan Clark. But the second ‘life’ he was handed on 102 was far less costly.
By that time the dangerous Gary Ballance had been caught low down at second slip for 23, undone by Clark’s reverse swing from around the wicket, to spark a collapse from 187-1 to 231-7.
Patterson then led a Yorkshire rearguard, hitting 46 batting at number nine and combining initially with Jonny Tattersall, who went to a superb leg-side catch by wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who was deputising as Surrey captain for the second time this season in the absence of an unwell Rory Burns.
Clark, who finished with figures of 5-77 said: “From when they were 180 odd for one, to turn it around and bowl them out for 327, it’s been a pretty good day for the lads.
“We spoke about it and we felt we weren’t good for long periods of time this morning.
“It’s a good pitch, but it was quite slow. However, there’s a fast outfield, so it was quite hard to contain them at three an over.
“I’m really happy with my five wickets. I’d like to be a little bit more consistent now.”
Worryingly for Surrey, Sam Curran had to abandon an over midway through, concerned about the recurrence of a hamstring injury, but the 21-year-old all-rounder returned to the field after tea.
Surrey had 14 overs to face just before the close, in which Mark Stoneman and Dean Elgar added an unbeaten 48.
“Dean and Rocky had a great little partnership at the end there, so we’re in a good position,” added Clark, who has now taken 10 championship wickets at an average of 21.10 for his new employers.
Meanwhile, seamers Gus Atkinson (back stress fracture), Jade Dernbach (calf and side) and Conor McKerr (heel and hip), plus off-spinner Amar Virdi (back) are regaining full fitness.
Stuart Meaker, who currently has an elbow injury preventing him from bowling, will also feature for Surrey’s second team against Hampshire seconds at New Malden tomorrow. But he will play exclusively as a batsman.
AN OVER OF STATS
Ball 1 – Yorkshire winning 10 successive tosses in all matches (excluding games where no coin went up) is not as uncommon as you might think. Surrey have ‘achieved’ it twice – in July to August 1993 and May to June 2016. However, they haven’t done it 11 times on the trot during that period.
Ball 2 – The probability of 10 successful coin flips is 1,024 to one. For 11, it’s 2,048 to one.
Ball 3 – Surrey’s most remarkable run of toss wins was between August 2015 and August 2016, when they won 34 out of 41 tosses in all competitions.
Ball 4 – Surrey’s championship victory over Warwickshire last week came after an uncontested toss. In other words, Warwickshire, as the visitors, had the option of bowling first without the need to flip a coin. Surrey’s record at the Oval in such circumstances is remarkable – four wins and a draw in the five uncontested toss contests in SE11.
Ball 5 – For all Surrey’s problems with the bat in this season’s County Championship, they went into the current round of matches with more batting points than anyone in Division One, with 17. Five teams in Division Two have notched up more, including bottom-placed Northants.
Ball 6 – Scarborough, where Surrey are presently in action, has not produced a stalemate in a championship match for six years; since when there have been 12 positive outcomes. Yorkshire have lost each of the last four and Surrey’s only defeat there (in eight visits) was back in 1972.