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Cricket: Siddle leads way for Essex at Surrey

PUBLISHED: 18:30 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 18:30 11 April 2019

Peter Siddle of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Ollie Pope (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Peter Siddle of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Ollie Pope (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Defending champions Surrey made a workmanlike start to the defence of their Specsavers County Championship title by closing day one of their opening fixture against Essex on 342-7.

Rory Burns (R) and Mark Stoneman add to the Surrey total (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Rory Burns (R) and Mark Stoneman add to the Surrey total (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Having lost three wickets for 11 runs in the lead up to lunch, Surrey took advantage of a tiring Essex attack and a placid pitch at the Kia Oval to edge the day’s two remaining sessions through contrasting half-centuries from Ben Foakes, Ryan Patel and Will Jacks.

Foakes led the fightback in the mid-session with a resourceful 90-ball innings of 69 with 11 boundaries.

The deposed England wicketkeeper received an early let off when, with his score on nought, Dan Lawrence downed a regulation catch at second slip from Peter Siddle’s second ball of the mid-session.

Foakes barely put a foot wrong thereafter, coasting to a 63-ball 50 with 10 fours courtesy of a bottom-handed push for two through cover off a rare Siddle half-volley.

Jamie Porter in bowling action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Jamie Porter in bowling action for Essex (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Foakes and Patel added 95 for the fourth wicket until Foakes became the game’s first victim to fall to spin. Pushing well forward to a dipping arm-ball from Simon Harmer, the South Africa off-spinner, Foakes edged to slip where Alastair Cook snaffled a simple chance.

Jacks marched in to get off the mark with six over mid-wicket against Harmer, but settled down thereafter to add an unbroken 42 through to tea.

After the resumption, Jacks and Patel continued their ‘tortoise versus the hare style’ fifth-wicket stand adding 100 inside 21.2 overs. Jacks, who got off the mark with a clipped six over mid-wicket against Harmer, raced to his 50 from 59 balls with nine fours and a six.

At the other end, Patel was content to play second fiddling, batting over three hours and facing 146 balls for his half-century that included 10 fours.

Jamie Porter of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Rory Burns (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Jamie Porter of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Rory Burns (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

With 290 already on the board by 5.15pm and the hosts only four down, Essex took the second new ball but, even in the hands of Test veteran Siddle, the new cherry failed to halt Surrey’s progress as Jacks clattered a back-foot force through the covers and then a leg glance to the fine-leg ropes.

The pair eased past Surrey’s previous fifth-wicket record partnership of 131 set by Alistair Brown and Adam Hollioake at Chelmsford in 1998 and had extended the stand to 151 in 35.2 overs before Siddle struck again.

Jacks, on a career-best 88 from 111 balls, pushed without moving his feet to be bowled through the gate by an in-ducker.

Rikki Clarke played across a full, straight one to go for a fourth-ball duck and give Siddle figures of 4-82, then Tom Curran departed leg before in Harmer’s penultimate over of the day, leaving Patel to battle through to stumps on 70 not out from his 300-minute vigil at the crease.

Simon Harmer of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Ben Foakes during Surrey CCC vs Essex CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at the Kia Oval on 11th April 2019Simon Harmer of Essex celebrates taking the wicket of Ben Foakes during Surrey CCC vs Essex CCC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at the Kia Oval on 11th April 2019

After winning the toss, Surrey batted first on a slow, khaki-coloured pitch that contributed to the occasional early play and miss by opening partners Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman.

The left-handers posted 75 for the first wicket, though Burns received a life with his score on 27 when he was dropped at second slip off the bowling of Matt Quinn. Burns added only four to his total before Jamie Porter had him caught behind by Robbie White off a lifting leg-cutter.

Just before lunch Siddle, the former Australian Test bowler who only landed in England last Friday, returned for a second spell at the Vauxhall End and removed two in an over.

With the first delivery of his new stint Siddle had Stoneman (45) caught by White with one that ran away to feather the outside edge, then, three balls later, Ollie Pope (4) pushed with firm-hands at one running across him only to steer it to Lawrence at second slip.

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