County Championship: Morne Morkel bowls leaders Surrey to victory over Lancashire

Tailenders Graham Onions and Tom Bailey almost saw Lancashire home with a 47-run ninth-wicket stand
Tailenders Graham Onions and Tom Bailey almost saw Lancashire home with a 47-run ninth-wicket stand
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day four):
Surrey 211: Bailey 5-53 & 306: Burns 70; Onions 3-91, Mennie 2-39, Bailey 2-78
Lancashire 264: Vilas 61 & 264: Jones 48, Croft 43; Morkel 6-57, Virdi 3-61
Surrey (20 pts) beat Lancashire (4 pts) by 6 runs

Surrey won a dramatic thriller by just six runs against Lancashire at The Oval to strengthen their hopes of a first County Championship title in 16 years.

Their seventh win in nine matches lifts them 32 points clear at the top ahead of Somerset and leaves Lancs bottom.

South Africa Test paceman Morne Morkel was the final-day star, taking four of the five wickets to finish with 6-57.

The last of them, Matt Parkinson, was a brilliant short leg catch from Will Jacks as Lancs were bowled out for 264.

Parkinson's shot would almost certainly have gone to the boundary to leave Lancs within three runs of victory, but substitute fielder Jacks, led off injured fielding in the same position the night before, instinctively reached out an arm to claim his third stunning short leg catch of the innings.

After resuming on 177-5 in this day-night pink ball contest with 94 still needed, Lancs looked sure to slide to defeat when Morkel took three wickets for 15 runs in a fierce six-over spell in the first session.

Graham Onions then gave the visitors hope with a courageous 29 in a ninth-wicket stand of 47 with Tom Bailey, during which they reduced the target to 24 by the interval.

That included a six over long on off Morkel. And, when discarded England all-rounder Sam Curran took the second new ball straight after the resumption, Onions gave him the same treatment.

But, after Morkel hit the top of Onions' off stump, in his next over, teenager Jacks' reflexes helped him account for Parkinson too.

With just four games left, Lancashire are 11 points adrift of safety - and six behind seventh-placed Worcestershire, who they host at Southport & Birkdale next Wednesday (29 August).

Surrey, who have five games left, are next in action at home to third-placed Nottinghamshire, in a game that starts the same day.

Surrey captain Rory Burns told BBC Radio London:

"That was a seriously hard-fought win. We showed a lot of character. We came from behind to beat Yorkshire up at Scarborough and now we've done the same in this game.

"We didn't bat as well as we would have liked in our first innings, but we managed to make the biggest total of the game in our second innings and that gave us a decent chance and something to bowl at.

"In the end, I suppose it was the two stands (56 and 51) that Morne Morkel and Jade Dernbach put on in both innings for our ninth wicket that was the difference.

"Morne bowled superbly and was the stand-out bowler, but Amar Virdi also did a great job for us, toiling away for so many overs today to hold one end and also taking those three wickets yesterday.

Lancashire assistant coach Mark Chilton:

"At this stage it's pretty devastating for everyone in the dressing room.

"When the margin of defeat is just six runs then you haven't done very much wrong.

"It was a great game of cricket and we showed a lot of fight to get so close.

"But, in the end, it was a world-class fast bowler who tipped it in their favour."

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