Surrey 428 for 8 declared (Foakes 132*, Patel 75, Pope 58, Clark 50, Hannon-Dalby 4-78) and 43 for 0 drew with Warwickshire 531 (Burgess 178, Lamb 106, Hain 78)
Weather interference and an excellent pitch for batting combined to sentence the LV=Insurance County Championship clash between champions Warwickshire and Surrey to a draw at Edgbaston.
A mouth-watering opening-round clash between two sides with serious title aspirations ended in stalemate with Surrey on 43 without loss in their second innings after Warwickshire piled up 531 in their first.
Warwickshire took advantage of the favourable batting conditions which, along with the loss of 47 overs in the match to rain and bad light, killed off any hopes of a positive result.
“Overall, it was a solid start for us,” Will Rhodes, Warwickshire’s captain, said. “There were plenty of positives but a few things for us to reflect on so it is good now for us to have a week without a game so we can work on those before we come back against a very good Essex team.
“It was a magnificent partnership between Burge and Olly. Huge credit goes to Olly for all the work he had put in on his batting in the winter, as have all the bowlers with their batting. Burge batted brilliantly for his career-best. I’m really pleased for him. He works really hard on his game and is really getting his rewards.”
Gareth Batty, Surrey’s head coach, said: “I asked the lads to start the season on the front foot and I thought they did that quite magnificently with the bat and with the ball. We were 116 for 0 with the bat and then had them 41 for 4 so I am pretty happy with those starts, we just need to extend them.
“The pitch got slower as the game on and became turgid at times which is why the game panned out the way it did. But I am super happy with the way we played with bat and ball. Yes, we can be better, we asked the players to start on the front foot and they certainly did.”
Then home side resumed on the final morning on 293 for 7 and soon raised the third batting point in unusual fashion when Craig Miles headed a short ball from Jordan Clark over the slips for four.
Surrey’s bowlers persevered but the pitch showed no sign of deterioration and Burgess added 55 with Miles and 54 with Henry Brookes. Miles and Brookes both perished to slick slip catches by Ollie Pope, off Reece Topley and Ryan Patel respectively, which set the scene for a bizarre passage of play in which Burgess and Hannon-Dalby stretched the innings by another 134 minutes.
When Hannon-Dalby went in, Burgess was on 69. Twenty overs later, the No. 11 was still there and still to score when Burgess reached his ton. It a session totally inexplicable to anyone who is not familiar with cricket… and pretty inexplicable to many who are.
With the game long dead, batters turning down runs and weary bowlers plodding in, attention turned to numerical quirks which could not possibly affect the match result. Would the 50 partnership be raised with Burgess having scored all 50? It was.
Surrey plugged away nobly, but Burgess plundered a weary attack before lifting Will Jacks to deep midwicket. The last two hours had been whimsical but Warwickshire’s 531 was a seriously good recovery from 41 for 4.