County Championship: Rory Burns' ton leaves Surrey poised to seal title at New Road

Surrey skipper Rory Burns
Rory Burns has been widely tipped for a place in England's Test squad this winter
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Blackfinch New Road (day two):
Worcestershire 336: Whiteley 91, Fell 69, Barnard 63; T Curran 4-61
Surrey 213-6: Burns 103*, Pope 48; Parnell 3-38
Surrey (4 pts) trail Worcestershire (5 pts) by 123 runs

Surrey closed in on their first title since 2002 as prolific captain Rory Burns hit another superb century on day two against Worcestershire.

They were 213-6 at stumps in reply to the home side's 336 all out, a deficit of 123, with Burns unbeaten on 103.

Somerset's defeat by Hampshire means his side just need to avoid losing the game to become champions.

Worcestershire added only 48 to their overnight 288-6 after Ed Barnard went early for 63, bowled by Morne Morkel.

Somerset cannot exceed 226 points this season, having lost at the Ageas Bowl - and the four bonus points already earned by Surrey has taken them to 222.

Five points for a draw would therefore be enough to secure the Championship title with two matches to spare, the first against Somerset at Taunton next week.

The start of play was delayed until 12:40 following morning rain but, once under way, Barnard was cleaned up by a beauty from Morkel (3-62).

Tom Curran claimed two of the three remaining Worcestershire wickets to finish with figures of 4-61.

But Surrey's first innings began badly as Wayne Parnell bowled Mark Stoneman and then had Dean Elgar caught in the gully - both departing for nought - with successive deliveries.

England's Ollie Pope helped add 97 for the third wicket before he edged Parnell (3-38) to the keeper on 48, and Rikki Clarke (33) and Tom Curran later fell in successive overs before Burns reached his fourth Championship century of the summer from 165 balls with a single off Daryl Mitchell.

Pears head bowling coach Alan Richardson told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"The game has moved forward. And you'd like to think we are slightly ahead of it. We batted well, with a lot of patience and a lot of resilience.

"It was really good for us to bat that period of time to give us a chance to get a decent score on a wicket that looks like it has done a bit the whole way through against a very good attack.

"It is quite difficult for a new batter but, once you get settled, there are guys capable of scoring big runs. Ross Whiteley got 91 and Rory Burns played very well."

Surrey fast bowler Morne Morkel told BBC Radio London:

"We had a poor 35 overs after tea on Monday and leaked a lot of runs. It was important for us to react to that, we got the ball in the right area, and managed to bowl them out for under 350.

"Unfortunately, we've lost one or two wickets too many but we've still got Ben Foakes in the dressing room. He was too ill to bat today. Hopefully Rory Burns and I can put up a little partnership and we can get close to their score and then put them under pressure.

"As he does on tough wickets when the ball is seaming, or if it is turning, or if the team is in trouble, Rory once again played a true captain's innings. He has done that all season. He is definitely knocking on the door (for England).

"No-one is working harder than Rory. It is always nice to see someone when they are putting in the effort to get the rewards."

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