December 11 2013 Latest news:
By Harry Kemble at The Kia Oval
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Gary Keedy took three wickets to give Surrey a timely reminder of his talents as Middlesex finished on 280-7 on day one of this LV= County Championship Division One derby in what is a must-win match for the relegation-threatened south Londoners.
The left-arm spinner took a seven-wicket haul earlier this summer at Headingley, but that was back in June, and he was seemingly heading towards an innocuous end to the season until today’s performance.
Surrey had picked the 38-year-old veteran to play for a combined Hampshire and Surrey 11 in Coventry against Warwickshire but a late injury to Zafar Ansari, who took a blow to the thumb in the pre-match warm-ups, saw Keedy receive a surprise call-up.
Keedy would have been delighted to have taken the wickets of John Simpson, Gareth Berg and Ollie Rayner to put his side in a strong position going into the second day after Middlesex had won the toss and elected to bat.
Middlesex head coach Angus Fraser had called last week’s batting efforts of 106 and 164 against Somerset “unacceptable”, and when you consider the Cidermen were without Steve Kirby or Peter Trego, it was hard to disagree as Middlesex lost that match by an innings and 179 runs
Although on day one here Middlesex showed a lot more fortitude with the bat in hand, thanks to Dawid Malan (61) and Neil Dexter (77 not out). Fraser will know, too, that Surrey will have to bat last on another dry Oval surface.
Surrey made three changes from the side that beat Derbyshire last week; Stuart Meaker, Jade Dernbach and Keedy all came in for George Edwards, Chris Tremlett and Ansari.
Meaker made his first start since early June in the County Championship after a lengthy knee injury.
Middlesex made one enforced change due to Tim Murtagh being away on international duty with Ireland. Corey Collymore took his place.
Chris Rogers and Malan hit a brisk half-century partnership to help Middlesex recover from being two down for 24 after both Sam Robson (0) and Joe Denly (12) were caught behind.
Malan has endured a terrible season in four-day cricket, hitting a highest score of 47 against Surrey way back in May at Lord’s, but today he celebrated his 26th birthday with an important half-century.
He has been in good touch for the second XI, which might explain why he managed to retain his first-team place once again, even though his last eight Championship innings have mustered only 104 runs.
Supported by Rogers, the pair looked increasingly assured, as the ball got softer on the notoriously placid Kennington wicket but it was the Australian who brought up his half-ton first, when he hit two boundaries off Gareth Batty in the 25th over.
However, Rogers was run-out just three balls after lunch when Dernbach swooped round to fire a perfect throw into wicketkeeper Steven Davies.
Rogers was fuming as he trudged off but he could take solace from the fact it was Middlesex’s highest third wicket partnership of the season.
Soon afterwards Malan reached his own 50. His first Championship knock of note this season ended 11 runs later, though, when he was caught at slip by Zander de Bruyn to leave the visitors 159 for four.
Speaking at the close of play, Malan admitted he could not explain his Championship batting woes this season.
He said: “I have been hitting them nicely all year, I just haven’t been able to get a score one way or another.
“It was nice to finally get a start and to get up near to the 100-mark. I have scored runs in all the other formats apart from four-day cricket which is something I can’t put my finger on.
“I have been playing the same way and doing the same things but I just seem to nick them. I nicked one today but I got a few more runs this time.”
Neil Dexter and Simpson accrued 41 runs to get to tea but again Middlesex lost a wicket straight after the interval.
Simpson, on 23, chipped to Arun Harinath at square-leg – a cheap dismissal after the hard work he and his captain had put in, not that Keedy minded.
There was nothing flashy about the Dexter’s unbeaten innings of 77 but it certainly helped his side stay in touch with Surrey after he had chosen to bat first.
However Keedy, with his tail up and turning the ball prodigiously away from the right-hander, had Berg (19) and Rayner (4) out in quick succession – both were caught at the wicket - to take the gloss off Dexter’s efforts slightly.
Dexter and James Harris, on 11, denied Surrey any more success and will be hopeful of gaining at least three batting points on day two.