Rory Burns not losing focus despite Surrey being on brink of County Championship title

BY MARCUS HOOK

Despite his side racking up an eighth successive victory in the County Championship – their best run since 1999 – Surrey skipper Rory Burns insisted yet again that the Division One leaders are approaching things one day at a time.

“It’s hard not to look at the table,” said Burns, after the Oval outfit extended their points advantage over second-placed Somerset with a 10-wicket victory over Essex at Chelmsford.

“You’ve got to keep winning sessions of cricket and putting wins on the board. So, no, we’re not looking too much into the maths of it all. “It becomes very dangerous when you start thinking about it being a done deal. It’s about keeping the lads level and to keep putting in performances.”

Burns, who hit a patient yet crucial 90 in 253 minutes on day one at Chelmsford, added: “We knew the best way to get into the game was to bat first and bat big. It was a wicket you never felt in on. The ball was always talking.

“There was a lot of playing and missing along the way, but we rode our luck and me and Dean Elgar [75] managed to put a partnership together.

“That got us up to a score that was finished off well by Rikki Clarke [56]. Then the way we controlled their run-rate with the ball was mightily impressive – but that’s how we try to build pressure, through being patient.

“It was good performance, making yet another side follow-on. It was impressive how we did it and all the bowlers put their hands up. They didn’t go searching for wickets, they just kept trying to hit the top of off stump and to build partnerships together.”

“One of the deciding factors in the game was the way we fielded. If Essex had held their chances in our first innings we wouldn’t have made 351 and it would have been harder work; and would probably have gone to four days. So, the fact that we managed to catch everything was a big feather in our cap.”

Surrey are in action at Worcester, where they could clinch their first County Championship title since 2002 if they finish this round of matches 48 point ahead of Somerset.

AN OVER OF STATS

Ball 1 – Surrey have registered nine victories in this season’s County Championship. Since the switch to two divisions in 2000, only two counties have failed to take the title with nine or more wins – Hampshire in 2005 and Warwickshire in 2011; although that was when teams played 16 matches instead of the 14 they do now.

Ball 2 – Last week’s 10-wicket victory over Essex marked only the third time Surrey have not been on the wrong end of an lbw decision in a County Championship match since May 2015 – the other two instances were in matches that ended as draws (Hampshire at the Oval in 2016 and Somerset at Taunton last summer).

Ball 3 – Just two batsmen have made championship hundreds against Surrey this season – Hampshire’s Sam Northeast (129) on April 23 and Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke (157) on May 6.

Ball 4 – Surrey’s Rory Burns has faced over 2,000 deliveries in first-class cricket this summer – 2,086 to be precise. The next most are the 1,551 faced by both Somerset’s Tom Abell and Hampshire’s James Vince. The only other batsman to face more than 1,400 is Worcestershire’s Daryl Mitchell.

Ball 5 – Surrey’s Sam Curran is the only player in history to have made 250-plus runs at an average of 45 or more and to have taken at least 10 wickets at less than 23 runs apiece in his first four Tests.

Ball 6 – In the 12 years when the Oval has previously hosted an England v India Test match, Surrey have won five trophies – the County Championship in 1952, 1971 and 2002, the NatWest Trophy in 1982 and the Clydesdale Bank in 2011. Only a catastrophe, now, will prevent it becoming six out of 13.

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