McLaren Fifty Can't Prevent Surrey Win

Ryan McLaren scored 59 runs, but Surrey secured victory with less than seven overs remaining on day four

Day One:

Surrey took full advantage of a flat wicket with opening pair Rory Burns (122) and Dominic Sibley (99) really cashing in on the kind conditions on day one of Hampshire’s Specsavers County Championship match at the Ageas Bowl. 

Burns made a superb hundred off just 143 balls, with some beautiful shots sending the ball to the boundary rope.

Opening partner Dominic Sibley wasn’t in as quite a rush, but he gave Burns some useful support as the pair put on 208 for the opening wicket.

However, Mason Crane made the breakthrough just before tea with Burns’ cut only finding the hands of Sean Ervine at slip.

Crane was at it again in the evening session when he tempted the struggling Zafar Ansari (5) to come down the wicket, only for the batsman to miss the ball and McManus to remove the bails.

Aaron Finch (52*) came to the crease and delivered some big blows on route to a useful half century off just the 64 balls.

But just as the Australian and Sibley were about to form a partnership, Gareth Berg picked up a deserved wicket with the second new ball, bowling Sibley one short of a century.

Soon after Berg had a second, trapping Jason Roy LBW for a duck, and Hampshire were firmly back in the match.

Steven Davies (21*) was alongside Finch at the close, and their useful partnership halted Hampshire’s squeeze in the evening session.

Gareth Andrews and Brad Wheal caused the batsmen to dig in for periods throughout, whilst leg spinner Crane, as always, managed to lure the Surrey men into loose shots, as he did for the wickets of Burns and Ansari.

The booming Finch, who smashed 153 against England in an International T20 back in 2013, hit four fours and two sixes as he was joined by Davies to see out the day with a handy partnership of 49.

The Browncaps have the upper hand, but with bright weather predicted all week, this match is far from over.

Day Two:

Ryan McLaren (31*) and Tom Alsop (29*) led the Hampshire revival with the bat after a testing day in the field against Surrey, who continued to dominate with the bat in their Specsavers County Championship Division One match at the Ageas Bowl.

It was once again a day of runs with Surrey centuries from Ben Foakes (141*) and captain Gareth Batty (110*) strengthening Surrey’s grip on the game, taking their score to 637-7.

McLaren and Alsop showed fine resolve with the bat, after Surrey paceman Mark Footitt had taken two early Hampshire wickets in the evening session to make things even trickier for the hosts.

Things were looking promising for Hampshire first up after the in-form Gareth Berg trapped Davies (25) at lbw, earning his side a bowling point.

McLaren then dismissed the dangerous Finch (86) in the same fashion during the morning session, before Mason Crane picked up his third of the innings. The youngster forced Sam Curran (16) to charge past one, with Lewis McManus once again claiming the stumping as he did on day one.

Foakes and Batty then accelerated the run rate in the afternoon session, happy to rotate the strike, and the Surrey men put away anything a tad loose from the Hampshire attack. The pair put on an impressive 200 stand for the 10th wicket with the 23-year-old Foakes picking up his century off 102 balls, with the experienced Batty taking 132 deliveries for his 100.

Surrey declared just after the tea break, and struck almost instantly with Mark Footitt clean bowling Hants skipper Will Smith (0) for a golden duck with his first delivery. In his very next over Footitt had Jimmy Adams (5) caught at midwicket which left Hampshire 5-2, and really up against it.  

Tom Alsop (29*) however, and Ryan McLaren (31*), in at four, steadied the ship and put on a fifty partnership for the third wicket.

They both batted sensibly and, after seeing off the pace of Footitt, they began to relieve the pressure through pure grit.

The pair steered Hants to 73-2 at the close, with more of the same approach needed tomorrow.

Day Three:

Lewis McManus (117*) hit his first Specsavers County Championship century as Hampshire fought back at Surrey’s mammoth 637-run total on a gratifying day three at the Ageas Bowl, trailing by 239 runs at stumps.

21-year-old McManus spent over four hours chipping away on the hottest day of the year, scoring 16 fours and two sixes off 232 balls, after Adam Wheater (59) and Sean Ervine (52) had built smart half-tons.

Hampshire’s determined effort with the bat on day three secured four batting points, and a final wicket stand of 71 runs frustrated a Surrey side who completely dominated day one and two.

Ryan McLaren (31) and Tom Alsop (32) had battled so admirably with the bat on a testing second day, but they were both removed within the first three overs of the third as Hampshire were pegged back even further by Surrey.

Wheater and Ervine looked to replicate their 144-run partnership away at Warwickshire as they set about rebuilding Hampshire’s innings, beginning at 82-4 and trailing by 545 runs.

26-year-old Wheater reached fifty runs for the fourth time in the County Championship this season, and the pair forged an hundred partnership at 4.5 runs an over, taking advantage of the short eastern boundary when possible.

The resilient stand was ended on 102 runs by Footitt – the sharpest asset of the Surrey bowling attack – as Wheater mistimed a drive through the covers and pushed the ball into the path of Davies, leaving Hants 184-5.

Wicket-keeper batsman McManus then joined the action shortly before lunch, and batted with real composure on his way to fifty after the break and surpassed his highest first-class score.

Whilst Berg – Ervine’s replacement – scored quickly, timing the ball beautifully as he made 40 off 47 balls, McManus analysed the situation and absorbed  Surrey’s pressure – the 21-year-old looked an experienced veteran of the game.

Andrew faced 55 balls and steadily picked off boundaries as he made his way to 19 runs but, as Hampshire reached the halfway point in their pursuit of Surrey’s 637-run total, he edged to Roy at second slip.

McManus reached a measured century off 171 balls, hitting 16 fours and two sixes, to help Hampshire secure a fourth batting point and take real positivity from a third testing day against Surrey.

Hampshire’s final wicket stand between McManus and promising youngster Brad Wheal (9*), acting as assistant to the centurion, is now worth 71 runs – a stand which symbolised the resolve of Hampshire’s players and took the home side to 398-9 going into the final day.

Day Four:

Ryan McLaren's (59) composed fifty couldn't prevent Hampshire from an innings defeat to Surrey in the Specsavers County Championship, with just 39 balls left in the final day's play.

Lewis McManus (35) and Gareth Berg (38) put up a seventh wicket stand of 77 runs, after McLaren had scored a fine half-ton, but Hants were bowled out for 201 with less than seven overs remaining.

Despite some gritty batting efforts, six wickets from Surrey captain Gareth Batty ensured it was the away side who earned victory on day four - Surrey taking 11 wickets on another roasting day.

Gutsy performances from Ryan McLaren (59), Gareth Berg (38), and an enduring Will Smith (28) brought Hants within touching distance of both Surrey’s 637 and a draw. 

Hampshire added 25 runs to their overnight score, with Lewis McManus (132) spending 37 overs at the crease and picking up his maiden first class ton.

Brad Wheal (14) was superbly run out by Australian international Aaron Finch, which ended a 96-run partnership for the final wicket with Hampshire finishing their first innings on 423 all out.

The follow-on was enforced with Hants still trailing by 214 runs.

Jimmy Adams (16) and captain Smith came to the crease, but just as the opening pair looked to have survived the new ball, Adams edged behind to Sam Foakes off the bowling of Stuart Meaker.

Smith dug in, and Ryan McLaren (59) supported him brilliantly, with the latter delivering some fine leg glances off seam and spin.

Hants looked comfortable approaching tea with the two at the crease, but Smith finally fell after 132 balls, spanning three hours, when Batty managed to get one through his defence. Adam Wheater (0) then fell for a duck, bowled by Meaker, bringing the tea break at 107-4.

Early in the evening session, the experienced Batty then removed Sean Ervine (5) caught at leg slip, and then McLaren fell in similar fashion in his next over soon after the South African had made his half century.

First innings hero McManus (35) and Berg stabilised for Hampshire, with the all-rounder playing some fluent counter-attacking shots causing the Surrey bowlers to rethink their plans.

But just as it looked as if Hampshire were home and dry, the experienced Batty struck again.

McManus was finally dismissed on his 333rd delivery of the match, with an LBW from the off-spinner, and that wicket at 198-7 proved to be the crucial one.

Three balls later Batty had Gareth Andrew (0) caught in close, and in the next over Berg fell LBW to Meaker.

It was left for two 19-year-olds, Mason Crane and Bradley Wheal, to try and get secure a hard-fought draw, but Meaker denied Hampshire by removing Crane with a nasty bouncer, which edged through to the wicket keeper.

Surrey have two wins in four matches and climb above Nottinghamshire in the Specsavers County Championship Division One.