PREVIEW: Surrey v Lancashire
PREVIEW: Surrey v Lancashire, Kia Oval
Read the match preview ahead of the Specsavers County Championship clash between Surrey and Lancashire at the Kia Oval.
Surrey v Lancashire
Sunday 19 - Wednesday 22 August 2018
Kia Oval, 1.30pm
Lancashire travel to face runaway Division One leaders Surrey as pink ball cricket returns to the county calendar.
Although all teams will play a floodlit fixture, they have been spread out across the summer instead of just through one week like last season.
Given rain ruined last season’s round, this way it gives the ECB a better gauge of the concept’s success.
Lancashire head into their 10th fixture of the summer desperately searching for their second win as they bid to pull themselves clear of relegation danger.
They currently sit third bottom in the table on 73 points with one win, five defeats and three draws. They are one point clear of Hampshire, who have only played eight.
This is the first of five remaining games for the Red Rose, with four away from home.
Unbeaten Surrey have won six of their eight outings and have a 34-point lead over second-placed Somerset.
Lancashire will be hoping to put a spanner in the works of Surrey’s march towards the title, what would be their first crown since 2002.
The South London based county have won five games on the bounce, including four by an innings.
Captained by opening batsman and England hopeful Rory Burns, Surrey have also been fired by ex-South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel in recent weeks. He has taken 25 wickets in four appearances, while Burns is the leading run-scorer in the division with 875 - three hundreds and three fifties.
Veteran all-rounder Rikki Clarke is their leading wicket-taker with 30 from seven games.
Surrey have re-signed South Africa batsman Dean Elgar for the final five Championship matches of the season as their overseas player, but he misses this clash. As do England Test pair Sam Curran and Ollie Pope.
Lancashire had the better of an early-season draw at Emirates Old Trafford having recovered from 23-3 to post 439-9, including half-centuries for Shiv Chanderpaul, Steven Croft, Jordan Clark, Joe Mennie and Tom Bailey.
Surrey, who had elected to bowl, were then bowled out for 235 and forced to follow on as new ball pair Tom Bailey and Graham Onions took four wickets apiece.
Bailey then took a brilliant 4-13 from 19 overs in the second innings, but Surrey held on and finished 199-6 second time around, with this the closest they have come to defeat this season. Rain also helped their cause.
WHAT THEY SAID
Dane Vilas is hoping Lancashire can transfer their good T20 form into Championship cricket.
The Red Rose have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Vitality Blast, with the stand-in skipper saying: “Everybody is really pumped up for the back end of the season.
“We’ve been spurred on by how well we’ve done in T20s. Hopefully we can keep on rolling with that momentum.
“Surrey are top of the log, so it’s going to be a big challenge. There wouldn’t be a better way to get our campaign back on track than with a good performance there.
“We’ve been playing some good cricket in the Championship, but we’ve let ourselves down with batting collapses or loss of sessions. We need to win some games.”
Vilas also revealed he is behind the ECB’s experiment to introduce pink ball cricket into the Championship. He said: “As a country, it gives you different options and is making you ready for any sort of international cricket.
“It’s a different ball this year.
“We used the Dukes last year and it will be the Kookaburra this. It was really cold at Edgbaston last year. This summer’s been incredible, and I think the weather should be good.
“We’ve practiced with it this week.”
He added: “It’s always nice to play at a great ground like they Oval.
“We want to play some good cricket, and we have a lot to prove. The guys are raring to go, and it’s exciting times.”