County Championship: Surrey start season with win over Hampshire

Sam Northeast
Sam Northeast has made nine County Championship hundreds since the start of the 2016 season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day four):
Surrey 211 & 407-9 dec: Pope 145, Foakes 81; Abbott 3-72
Hampshire 147 & 332: Northeast 129; Virdi 4-79
Surrey (20 pts) beat Hampshire (3 pts) by 139 runs

Sam Northeast's fine century for Hampshire was in vain as Surrey claimed the six wickets needed on day four at The Oval to complete a 139-run win.

Resuming on 116-4, still 356 runs away from their target of 472, former Kent batsman Northeast fought a lone battle in his 254-ball innings of 129.

Number 10 batsman Brad Wheal resisted with Northeast for most of the middle session to take the game past tea.

But both went after the interval and Hampshire were all out for 332.

Northeast was the last man to go, caught brilliantly one-handed by Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes off Matt Dunn, after spending almost six hours in the middle.

The victory gave Rory Burns a positive start as Surrey captain, while Hampshire were unable to build on their opening-round win over Worcestershire.

Having lost their top order in the final session on day three including Hashim Amla and James Vince, Hampshire's task was more about surviving three sessions in south London than chasing victory.

But once 19-year-old spinner Amar Virdi (4-79) removed Rilee Rossouw lbw for 29 midway through the morning and Liam Dawson was bowled by Jade Dernbach to leave them 163-6, their chances of a draw looked slim.

Kyle Abbott (29) and Chris Wood (26) both got starts, although it was only 21-year-old Scot Wheal who really frustrated Surrey with his 90-minute vigil at the crease before he was trapped lbw by a Dernbach slower ball.

New signing Northeast looked in superb touch in bringing up his 20th first-class century off 171 balls, but his marathon knock could not save his side.

Surrey spinner Amar Virdi told BBC Radio London:

"It was a tough win in the end. We really had to grind out today.

"But, playing on wickets like this, you really have to put in the hard shift. We really stuck in there as a unit and that's a win we're really going to enjoy.

"Amla's definitely the best wicket I've taken so far. "He's someone I continue to watch on TV and I thought it was going to be hard work getting him out.

"He plays spin so well, but I was lucky the ball kept low and I got my line and pace right. It's something I'm going to cherish for the rest of my career."

Hampshire batsman Sam Northeast told BBC Radio Solent:

"After the win last week, we knew we had a long way to go.

"We're playing some good cricket in patches, there's no doubt about that, but that first innings really cost us.

"It's nice to get some early-season runs, it just builds the season from there.

"In Div One, it's nice to prove yourself at another step up and hopefully that just kicks me on for more runs this year."

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