Surrey 213 for 6 (Burns 103 *, Parnell 3-38) trail Worcestershire 336 (Whiteley 91, Fell 69, Barnard 63, Curran 4-61) for 123 executions
Rory Burns has his fourth hundred of the season and, for Surrey, the equation could not be more direct now. After the defeat of Somerset against Hampshire, of which they accumulated only three points, Surrey only needs to add four more to the four that already have in this party to be confirmed like Champions of the County for 2018.
It will be the first title of the County for 16 years, but you can not imagine that they will have to wait so long for the next one. The history of Surrey is notable for periods of dominance in the Championship and this could easily be the beginning of another.
A raffle would do it. In fact, a full complement of hitting points (unlikely) would do so, even before the result is taken into account, but you believe that Surrey will want to scrub your superiority during the season by extending your winning sequence of eight matches, possibly to through to the end. They will go to Taunton next week to face Somerset, which will undoubtedly crash, before returning to El Ovalo to receive Essex, who can wear the pennant with them for a ceremonial delivery.
Burns, solid as a rock during his fifteenth first … class century on a course that has offered good competition between the bat and the ball, has added another layer of evidence to support his candidacy as a replacement for Alastair Cook when England left for Sri Lanka next month, but Worcestershire is still doing everything it can to make sure Surrey spends a few honest days on the charcoal before opening the champagne.
Desperate to claim all the points they can muster in the hope that, in some way, they can escape relegation, they have the advantage in equalizing and can even delay the Surrey celebrations, although it is suspected that they will bat in this field for the second time against Morne Morkel and Co could be a test.
After a delayed start due to the rain, this was a good day for Morkel's compatriot in the home team, Wayne Parnell. The South African, who joined Worcestershire in July initially as a substitute for T20 when Travis Head was called to play in Australia A, started helping his team, recovering from 165 for 5 on the first day, compiling his biggest total of first innings in New Road all season and ended with three terrains in his name.
He will stay until the end of the season instead of R Ashwin, the spinner from India, whose return to New Road was canceled after the Series trial ended with a groin injury.
Parnell missed the first part of this year due to a serious shoulder injury. His first match for the Worcestershire Championship last month was his first red-ball game since October last year, but he seems to be regaining his form now, which can only be good news for Worcestershire as they struggle to stay on their feet.
His left – the bowling alley looks particularly sharp and gave the elected champions a complete scare with two wickets at his first opportunity, with consecutive balls in fact, knocking Mark Stoneman off the stump with the classic late move of a line of medium stump before Ed Barnard took a daze in the ravine when Dean Elgar fell in first ball.
Surrey was 4-for-2 at that time and would have been 4-for-3 if Daryl Mitchell, normally the second most reliable release, had not missed a relatively simple opportunity just three balls later in the same final, leaving Ollie Pope out of the hook before I had marked.
Parnell, who was out of the field at the end after splitting the strap on his right hand (fortunately) intercepting a shot pushed back by the pitch by Burns, eventually got his man, but the assertive Pope had turned 48 before Take a walk and was taken by Alex Milton behind the stumps.
Will Jacks, another of the local talents around which this side of Surrey is planning a lot The long-term success is built, it was knocked down by left-hander Ben Twohig, Rikki Clarke was knocked down by a Ross Whiteley ball that exploded in a long and Josh Tongue produced a good ball to catch Tom Curran in the first attempt while Worcestershire continued to fight.
It's a good battle. But Burns, surely now ready for the selection of England that many consider as due for a long time, was like Cook in his willingness to wait for the right ball and super efficient in making most of them count. I rarely looked for anything other than total control.