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County Championship Division One; Surrey 123-7, stumps day two

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The trusty old medium pace of Alan Richardson did the trick for Worcestershire in what was another heavily rain-affected day at the Kia Oval.

Only 35 overs of play were possible in south London and the 36-year-old made the most of the conditions to take 5-42 in his 16 overs, as Surrey closed on 123-7.

Early season in England is never fun for those who hold the willow and today was no different.

Winning the toss in overcast conditions yesterday, Worcestershire would have felt a little hard done by after waking up this morning to the sight of bright sunshine in south London.

After play began on time, the hosts made the most of the rare favourable batting conditions as Steven Davies and in particular Jason Roy made hay.

Roy replaced Jacques Rudolph (who was absent due to family reasons) in the Surrey line-up and was in a typically bullish mood, smashing six boundaries.

David Lucas was the main victim of the openers’ aggression, with a lofted drive in the 10th over the shot of the morning.

Surrey were desperate to banish the memory of last week’s awful collapse at Middlesex where they lost their final six wickets for just 36 runs to lose by three.

However as the clouds gathered Worcestershire took advantage and Richardson trapped Roy in front for a 36-ball 38.

The medium pacer created good bounce out of the Kia Oval pitch and took Davies by surprise in the 15th over with a steepling delivery which the wicketkeeper did well not to lay bat on.

His innings was not to last though and with his next ball Richardson bowled fuller and Davies edged to his counterpart Ben Scott after making 15.

Richardson’s impressive opening spell of 9-3-27-2 came to an end, but as he departed the attack Richard Jones came to the fore.

The 25-year-old picked up the prized wicket of Mark Ramprakash, who edged behind to Scott for just one.

The former Middlesex man has made an indifferent start to the Division One season and has scored just 52 runs in his first five innings.

Home captain Hamilton-Brown (3) was Jones’ next victim as he tickled a bouncing delivery to Scott, leaving Surrey struggling at 60-4.

Thankfully for the hosts, the rain begin to fall at 12.26pm, forcing an early lunch.

Cloudy and overcast, play resumed an hour later and a refreshed Richardson picked up the wicket of Zander De Bruyne (6) in his first delivery after the break.

The South African played at a delivery he should have left well alone with his edge finding Daryl Mitchell at second slip.

Tom Maynard counter-attacked, thrashing a short Jones delivery to the deep mid wicket boundary before a punching the next delivery down the ground for three.

The former Glamorgan man tucked into the 25-year-old’s bowling, dispatching a half volley to the leg side boundary before playing the next delivery down the ground for another four.

Lucas was next in the firing line as consecutive short wide deliveries were smashed towards the advertising hoardings.

Chris Jordan hit consecutive boundaries off Richardson to extend the partnership to 48, and although the floodlights were on darkness descended, the rain fell and the umpires took the players off at 2.20pm.

The rain halted briefly and although play was due to restart at 3.50pm, at 3.40pm the wet weather resumed and with it thunder and lightening.

After an hours break in the weather, play resumed at 5.15pm for what could turn out to be a game-changing 15 minutes for the visitors.

Only 3.3 overs were bowled before the rain fell again, but Worcestershire managed to nab three wickets for just six runs, to put the hosts in deep trouble.

Maynard and Jordan managed to complete the first 50 partnership of the match, but the former Glamorgan man was caught playing around a straight Richardson delivery and was given out for 34.

And the veteran claimed his fifth wicket when he bowled Jordan for 20 before the weather once again closed.

The bad news for the hosts is that day three is expected to be cloudy, although from 4pm rain is once again is expected and with time in the match ebbing away defeat becomes ever less likely.

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