Of Borthwick, Kerrigan and the dalliance with fame

Play 01:15

Abell leads by example

Surrey 231 for 9 (Borthwick 79, Bailey 4-54, Onions 3-45 ) trail Lancashire 439 for 9 dec (Clark 78, Mennie 68*, Bailey 66, Chanderpaul 65, Croft 62, Virdi 4-80, Dernbach 3-93) by 208 runs

The One-Test Club might be thought a rather melancholy society. You have had recognition but not much. The cap-badge is still bright and the sweater doesn’t need washing. For whatever reason, a single look has been enough. It may be even worse if you are picked to play in a losing side. Scott Borthwick was selected for the last Test of the 2013-4 Ashes series, a dubious honour roughly comparable to a German soldier being asked to help out at Stalingrad in January 1943. He took four wickets and made five runs.

Since that dalliance with fame Borthwick has moved from Durham to Surrey and has remained one of the more stylish batsmen in the English game. On what was effectively the second day of this match he made a composed 79 off 137 balls, cutting and driving the majority of his ten boundaries with considerable elegance.

And it looked as though Borthwick’s innings would help Surrey get a comfortable draw out of this game until Tom Bailey, whose devotion to an off-stump line had earlier removed Rory Burns and Dean Elgar, took the new ball and added Ollie Pope and Jade Dernbach to his bag. Those wickets were just part of a dramatic final hour or so which saw Surrey lose five wickets for 29 runs in 14.1 overs. They left Lancashire needing 11 wickets in a day if they are to secure a remarkable win.

Borthwick, of course, would have liked to add another century to the three he has already scored against Lancashire, a county who are probably his favourite opponents. That he did not do so was thanks to a good length ball bowled by his former team mate, Graham Onions, who tempted his old mucker into a drive and saw the ball fly off the edge to Alex Davies.

But that dismissal was only the day’s second internecine mini-drama. With the tenth delivery of the innings the Gateshead-born Onions had plucked out the leg stump of the Novocastrian Mark Stoneman when the Surrey opener was attempting a somewhat limp push. One might think this is hardly the way one Geordie should treat another, especially a former Durham team-mate.

No matter, what Onions, Borthwick and Stoneman shared for a decade is far greater than whatever will divide them for a summer or two.

The merit of Lancashire’s bowling late in the day was reinforced by the fact that this was still a very sound second-day wicket. The quality of the pitch was displayed when Joe Mennie and Tom Bailey extended their overnight partnership to 118, thus setting a new ninth-wicket record for matches between these counties, The stand was only ended when Bailey was caught at deep midwicket off Amar Virdi for a career-best 66.

The saddest piece of news coming out of Emirates Old Trafford over the weekend was that Simon Kerrigan has decided to put his playing career on hold and will now concentrate on coaching. Kerrigan won his one cap when he played for England against Australia at the Oval in 2013. He was savaged by Shane Watson. Yet whatever the future holds for him, Kerrigan can take comfort from the barely disputable truth that in 2011 his left-arm bowling did as much as anything to bring Lancashire the title. Such memories should warm him.

In a rhapsody to a great English fast bowler, Neville Cardus once suggested that cricketers like Tom Richardson should never know old age. “Every springtime should find them reborn, like the green world they live in,” he wrote.

In that he will be joined by the many spectators who were at Aigburth in 2011 and whose cheers lifted the roof off the old place when Kerrigan took nine wickets in one afternoon against Hampshire. Distant summers, different springs.

Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications

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Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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