Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Surrey Group 2 2021

Report

Surrey pile on the runs as pitch transforms from minefield to road in space of an innings

Surrey 513 for 3 (Amla 215*, Pope 131, Burns 80, Smith 66*) lead Hampshire 92 by 421 runs

Most greats of the game empty bars rather than filling them, but Hashim Amla’s unflappable, effortless manner does not lend itself to edge-of-the-seat drama.

Amla’s triple-hundred at this ground against England in 2012 was record-breaking: no single day of cricket at The Oval has seen higher takings at the bar than the Saturday of that Test, when he batted through 98 overs to move from an overnight score of 47 to 183 not out. County Championship crowds tend not to be as thirsty, not least when forced to watch via a live stream, but the prospect of seeing him bat in the flesh later in the summer should bring a smile to the faces of Surrey’s members.

Amla’s greatest quality is his ability to dictate the pace of a day. He batted throughout this one, adding 156 to his overnight score, and played role of the becalmed senior partner in stands of 257 and 100 (unbroken) with Ollie Pope and Jamie Smith respectively; both men are at least 15 years his junior and when Amla made his first-class debut, Smith had not been born. He had managed only 78 runs in his first three games of the season, including a pair at Lord’s last week, but this innings was a throwback to his heyday, as he punched through cover, steered through third man and whipped through midwicket with a roll of the wrists.

Amla was thwarted by birds more regularly than by Hampshire bowlers: a back-foot punch through the covers was stopped by a flock of pigeons grazing in the deep, and he backed away moments before a Liam Dawson ball that pegged back his off stump as one flew across his line of vision, resulting in a dead ball. Scott Currie, the 19-year-old seamer, induced a couple of false shots and had him dropped at wide slip on 184, but he will resume unbeaten on Saturday morning, barring an overnight declaration.

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