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Tom Lawes rules as Surrey stride towards Championship title No.21

Yorkshire 179 (Kohler-Cadmore 55, law 4-31) and 89 for 2 tracks Surrey 333 (Pope 136, Clark 55, Patterson 4-69) by 65 runs

The Micky Stewart Oval was not immune from the cluster of wickets that hit this round of the County Championship. But day two’s tally of 16 at least sped us up to an end to the season overall in a game of consequence.

It’s probably worth starting at the end of Wednesday, when Yorkshire went 65 behind in their follow-up innings. Bowling out the visitors for 179, Surrey had established a first-innings lead of 154, even after starting the day with their own first effort of a respectable 333 that should have been more. Considering second-placed Hampshire are 105 for four in pursuit of a target of 378 set by Kent, this has been one of the better days for Rory Burns’ charges.

If Hampshire lose, Surrey can claim Championship No. 21 with victory as they arrived with an eight-point cushion. And should they do so without having to worry about Friday’s rain, it will be largely down to the work of 19-year-old Tom Lawes, who capped a breakthrough summer with career-best figures of four for 31 in Yorkshire’s first innings.

To account for three of the top four shows the value of his work and the dismissal of Finlay Bean – swinging in and then seaming away to clip off stump around the wicket – showed real skill. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t mind talking about their young around here, but when he started to rattle off the rest, you realized that many others would speak for them.

It was one thing to excel during the Royal London Cup given the higher profile absences, but to stand out alongside an experienced bowling attack was remarkable. Lawes had Hill and Kohler-Cadmore caught by Ben Foakes before a quality yorker did it for Ben Coad, who was already backing away. There is more work to be done tomorrow, but right now Lawe’s season average is 19.16 with 18 wickets. Expect the latter to sit under 20 while the other doesn’t when this game is over.

Surrey came into control of their own destiny in the game, particularly with Jordan Clark and Jamie Overton still at the fore and both more than capable of combining for most of the 108 runs needed for all five batting points. Alas, within 21 deliveries both they and Kemar Roach had departed to add just seven runs.

Clark failed to add to his 55 overnight – shot by Ben Mike – and Overton departed with the nine he carried from Tuesday. Hill, after catching Overton in front, then bowled Roach for his final two for 46, leaving Surrey 299 for nine. What followed was an engaging last-wicket dart from that man, Lawes and Dan Worrall, the kind that starts off as a bit of fun before turning into something really quite serious.

It had surpassed the humor of 80 overs, certainly from Yorkshire’s perspective. The pair had managed five boundaries between them, including a six, when Worrall sat back and edged Steven Patterson (four for 69) over wide long-off. With that, Jonny Tattersall called for the new ball and Coad from the Pavilion end with a view to ending this nonsense. And though Worrall would follow up with a magnificent flick over square leg for six and a smear through midwicket, bringing hopes of 350 and a fourth batting point, a third hoick to leg since embedded in the hands of Mike, who ran in from the fence .

The final stand of 34 reminded the visitors somewhat of Tuesday’s game and it was brought back to their heads when experienced opener Adam Lyth was squared by Roach to edge a shoulder-height catch to Ryan Patel at . third slip.

It was somewhat remarkable that Lyth was the only wicket to fall in the opening term between Roach and Worrall, especially given how much movement the latter got from the Vauxhall End. He managed to catch Will Fraine in his second spell for 67 for three, caught by Ollie Pope at second slip after having a chance dropped by Patel two balls before. All the while Lawes went about his work with great skill and a helping hand from Tom Kohler-Cadmore, who had looked dangerous for his boundary-laden 55 – 10 to the fence, including a six – before a nasty hack over the line that may explain, why this was only his third fifty-plus score in eight innings this season.

Clark’s brace provided the sting in the tail, bowling Dom Bess and chipping left-hander Jordan Thompson from around the wicket, before a bonus to part-time leg spinner Cameron Steel, who bowled Mike with much a full-time googly. And rounding off the first 10 Yorkshire wickets was Jamie Overton, snarling Patterson at his second slip (Pope) for a first wicket since a foot injury cut short his season on 25 July.

Overton’s second would be Surrey’s final of the day: extra boost from the extra pace that forced Hill to clear when he originally planned to defend, for Pope’s third catch of the day. And with that, Hill got an early glimpse of how little this game cares about you. Twice he displayed pluck and judgement, first for 28 stretched over an hour and now a sharp 35 from 68 deliveries that likely ensured Surrey will have to strike again to win this one.

Worrall had the first of the second innings, finding prestigious movement from around the wicket to bowl the left-handed Bean between bat and pad from around the wicket. Otherwise, it was a relatively comfortable end to a chaotic day for Yorkshire, and no doubt Surrey’s quicks will be better for a night’s sleep ahead of what should be a final push on day three.

Vithushan Ehantharajah is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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