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Pope answers Surrey's prayers

— 12 May 2018

Scorecard

A lower order recovery led by a fine unbeaten century from youngster Ollie Pope spoilt an excellent start by Yorkshire to their fifth Specsavers County Championship match of the season against Surrey at the Kia Oval.

Surrey slipped to 69-4 before lunch and 162-6 afterwards following an uncontested toss and Yorkshire’s decision to bowl first, with a green tinged pitch not a common sight here.

But half-centuries for South Africa Test overseas Dean Elgar and veteran all-rounder Rikki Clarke also helped the hosts reach close at 366-7 from 92.3 overs, with bad light stopping play early.

Joe Root is captaining Yorkshire this weekend following the late withdrawal of Gary Ballance due to illness.

Pope top-scored with 131 off 194 balls, Elgar posted 61 off 101 and Clarke reached 10,000 first-class career runs on the way to 71 off 91.

Pope and Clarke shared 129 inside 29 overs for the seventh wicket either side of tea.

There was another notable milestone as Yorkshire new ball seamer Jack Brooks claimed his 400th first-class victim by getting Rory Burns caught at first slip with a beauty in the eighth over.

Tim Bresnan, Brooks, Josh Shaw and Steve Patterson shared the morning wickets, with Brooks and Patterson finishing the day with two apiece.

Bresnan started things by trapping Mark Stoneman for 10 in the seventh over, leaving the score at 15-1, before Brooks removed Burns in the next for nine (19-2).

Shaw struck with his second ball as Scott Borthwick edged him to second slip in the 14th – 40-3 – and when Patterson had Ben Foakes (18) caught behind, it was 69-4 in the 23rd.

Left-handed Elgar ensured there was no further damage before lunch and reached his fifty off 73 balls shortly afterwards.

Thankfully, however, he was on his way when he played around one from the off-spin of Root and lost his leg stump for 61.

That left the score at 137-5 after 44 overs and ended a partnership 68 with highly-rated Pope, who was about to impress with a third ton in 10 first-class matches.

Following the departure of Sam Curran, caught behind off Patterson for 19 as the score fell to 152-6 after 53 overs, Pope found an ally in Clarke, with the pair coming together before tea and batting through the first half of the evening session.

Clarke fell in the 82nd over, the second with the new ball, when he was caught at second slip by Adam Lyth off Brooks, leaving the score at 291-7.

But Pope reached three figures off 174 balls shortly afterwards before hitting Brooks for four successive boundaries in the 86th.

Without the drama of last Friday’s opening day against Essex at Chelmsford, when Yorkshire were bowled out for 50, there were certain similarities to this day.

On both occasions, batting was tricky during the first two sessions before things changed after tea.

Belligerent Clarke’s was the innings that really put Yorkshire under pressure, with him hitting two sixes, including one over mid-wicket off Shaw to move him to 49.

He reached 50 off 65 balls with the following delivery as Surrey claimed a second batting point for passing 250. They went on to secure a fourth before close.

Ballance, meanwhile, first reported feeling unwell when he boarded Yorkshire’s team coach yesterday morning (Thursday) before missing afternoon training. He has returned to Leeds.

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