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    Surrey suffers a defeat against Hampshire
Surrey suffers a defeat against Hampshire
Liam Dawson. Source: telegraph.co.uk

Surrey suffers a defeat against Hampshire

Hampshire thrashs them in a way beaten only by sides comprising WG Grace and Don Bradman, dealing a massive blow to their aura of invincibility.

It wasn't only an astonishing reversal. Surrey suffered an extraordinary defeat against Hampshire, losing by an innings and 278 runs.

Surrey had won four of their six championship games this season prior to their defeat against Southampton. They had won the previous two titles and were on their way to a third, emulating their team's seven-game winning streak in the 1950s. Nonetheless, they suffered their most significant setback in championship history.

In fact, they have only ever suffered two bigger defeats in first-class cricket: against an England team led by WG Grace in 1866 and against Don Bradman's Australia in 1948.

Kyle Abbott raced through Surrey on the first day, but that could happen to anyone at his home ground. What was astonishing was Surrey's formidable attack subsequently allowed 608 for six, with their two spinners taking one wicket for more than 300 runs, neither Dan Lawrence nor Cameron Steel doing their international hopes any favours on an increasingly worn ground. Hampshire's spinners, Liam Dawson and Felix Organ, then took nine wickets, with only Ben Foakes blocking and trotting singles after a back spasm and Surrey's No.11 Dan Worrall swashbuckling their highest individual innings of the match, 48, standing in their way of Hampshire's championship-winning margin.

This result implies that the second half of the championship will still be alive when division one resumes, although intermittently, in mid-summer, before the September finale. Surrey's rising image of invulnerability and a dynasty meant to stay has been shaken, even though they remain favourites for the crown, their third in a row; other counties, most notably Somerset, Essex, Durham, and Hampshire, can yet hope to catch them.

“Hampshire will probably be talking about playing their perfect game,” Surrey’s head coach Gareth Batty stated. “They scored 600 runs and bowled us out for less than 203 twice. They have gone about their business very well. It isn’t all doom and gloom for our Championship campaign, we have been quite excellent in six games but unfortunately, this one went really quite badly. We need to learn from that and the Blast is a new start for everybody. Our whole focus now goes to T20 cricket. I hope this is a one-off – I would be very disappointed if it is not. I have a huge belief in the whole group of players, I wouldn’t change our squad for anything, but we all have to understand that we weren’t as good as we can be in this game and we need to be better next time out.”

“We need to address that we could have been better in periods and it is our job as staff to be as good as we can be. We can’t sweep things under the carpet and worry about it next time, we need to get on the front foot and see if we can do better – which I absolutely know we can as in most games I see these guys doing exceptional things.”

On another moving surface, this time at Old Trafford, Lancashire's and Australia's Nathan Lyon was outbowled by Jacob Bethell, who had previously taken two first-class wickets for more than 200 each, but now had figures of four for ten. Bethell, who grew up in Barbados and is regarded as an England batsman in the making, benefits from modest natural variations in his slow left-armers.

Most other matches, which had been cut short due to weather, would have benefited from a change in the scoring system. Under a different system, counties that batted first and scored 500 or more points would have competed for first innings points as well as bonus points, such as Bristol, where James Bracey and Graeme van Buuren had so far added 268 for the fifth wicket against Derbyshire.

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