Brothers in arms halt Lancashire
Sibling rivalry worked in Surrey's favour as Sam and Tom Curran shared six wickets to dismiss title rivals Lancashire for 287 on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at The Kia Oval.
The young seam-bowling brothers were Surrey’s star performers with the ball as Lancashire mustered two batting bonus points on a seemingly ideal day for crease occupation.
In response, Surrey’s openers Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley survived the last 15 overs in reaching 50 without loss with Burns posting his 1,000th first-class run for the summer in the process.
Burns edged to slip in the day’s final over but survived when Rob Jones downed a sharp, low chance to ensure the brown caps hammered home their first day superiority and will go into the second day trailing by 237.
Batting first after winning the toss, Lancashire lost Luke Procter lbw in the eighth over of the day when he played across one on the back foot to be wrapped in front by Sam Curran.
Then, after Surrey’s attack had extracted some exaggerated bounce, the in-form Haseeb Hameed fell hook, line and sinker for the host’s leg theory trap. The right-hander gloved an attempted pull shot against Stuart Meaker to the wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, who held a diving catch almost in a leg gully position.
A seam-bowling masterclass by the Curran brothers then sparked the loss of a further five Lancashire wickets in the mid-session. Giving nothing away in terms of width or length, the siblings mopped up three wickets inside an hour of the resumption.
Left-armer Sam started the rout bowling from the Vauxhall End with a prefect in-swinger. Alviro Petersen made a late decision to withdraw the bat, but could only deflect the ball onto off stump via the toe end.
Brother Tom got in on the act by having Liam Livingstone caught behind, then Sam responded with another beauty, a leg-cutter that grazed the outside edge of Steven Croft’s bat to give Foakes his third catch of the day.
Jordan Clark and Jones dug in for the next 25 overs to add 85 but, on the cusp of tea Clark, fishing outside off stump against Meaker, was sensationally caught, low, one-handed and diving to his right by 38-year-old Kumar Sangakkara at first slip for 56.
Sam Curran returned to bag his fourth scalp of the day in a third spell when Jones (25), in reaching to drive a wide one, dragged the ball on via a thick outside edge.
After tea, Arron Lilley came out swinging like the proverbial village blacksmith but Tom Curran responded by nabbing his second scalp when Kyle Jarvis checked his push-drive to loop a comfortable catch to Mark Footitt at mid-off.
After smashing four sixes and a brace of fours Lilley’s fun ended when, with his score on 38, he swished at one to be caught behind and receive a vociferous send-off from Meaker.
Lancashire’s last-wicket pair of Simon Kerrigan and Nathan Buck also hit out lustily to add 48 and see their side to a second batting bonus point, before Kerrigan, groping on the drive, nicked behind off the wayward Footitt to give Foakes his fifth catch of the innings.
Sam Curran bagged four for 61, his brother two for 51 and Meaker three for 83 as Lancashire succumbed inside 79 overs.