Surrey 434 (Burns 193, Foakes 72, Leach 4-96) and 173 for 3 drew with Worcestershire 526 (Clarke 157, Fell 88, Mitchell 81, Barnard 66, Head 50, Virdi 6-105)
Scott Borthwick‘s unbeaten 82 guided Surrey to a comfortable Specsavers County Championship draw against Worcestershire at the Kia Oval, with the home side reaching 173 for 3 in their second innings to finish the match 81 runs in front.
For Worcestershire, who began the game at the bottom of Division One table with three defeats from their first three fixtures, an 11-point haul – and seeing their batsmen pile up 526, the county’s highest first-class total at the Oval – will do much for morale. In truth, however, a flat pitch with little pace in it always made the draw the likeliest result after Surrey had themselves totalled 434 in the first innings of the match on Friday and Saturday.
The final day’s play, from a Surrey perspective, was notable not just for Borthwick’s runs – which underlined his excellent start to the new season after the misery of a poor summer in 2017 – but also for Amar Virdi‘s 6 for 105.
The impressive 19-year-old offspinner now has 14 Championship wickets from his three appearances this season, at an average of 18.85. His latest wicket-haul followed up the 4 for 79 he took against Hampshire and then 4 for 80 against Lancashire, and was the best return of his six-match-old first-class career.
Virdi took all four wickets to fall in the morning session after Worcestershire had resumed on 469 for 6, having Ben Twohig caught at mid-on for 9 and Joe Leach at extra cover for 18, before catching both Josh Tongue (9) and Ed Barnard, who converted his overnight 42 into a 135-ball 66, off his own bowling. He also saw Leach dropped at short leg from the first ball he faced.
Surrey openers Mark Stoneman and Rory Burns got through to lunch at 35 for no wicket, but both fell early in the afternoon session – Stoneman leg-before to Charlie Morris for 20 and Burns held low at deep square leg for 30 as he swept at Twohig’s left arm spin.
Stoneman’s six Championship innings this season have now brought him only 105 runs at an average of 17.50 and a top score of just 29. The England Test opener needs to show some form in Surrey’s next match, at home to Yorkshire, ahead of the two-match series against Pakistan which starts on May 24.
From 74 for 2, Borthwick was then joined by Ryan Patel in a stand of 62 to ensure no further alarms and all but ensure the draw. Patel, however, was caught at midwicket for 25, pulling at Morris, in the last over before the tea interval.
Ben Foakes kept Borthwick company until hands were shaken at 4.50pm, with Surrey’s in-form wicketkeeper-batsman ending up on 11 not out. Borthwick, who played some lovely strokes through extra cover and has now scored 250 runs at an average of 50 in this embryonic four-day campaign, faced 154 balls and hit seven fours.