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DURHAM came under fire from the world’s best batsman this morning, but once Hashim Amla had gone they continued their rapid progress towards their sixth championship win.
Chris Rushworth snared Amla 20 minutes before lunch, when he had made 89 out of a total of 137. Then in the last over before the break Steve Davies and Gareth Batty edged successive balls from Mark Wood to Phil Mustard and Surrey were 156 for seven at lunch, still trailing by 157.
After taking seven wickets in the 22.4 overs which were possible yesterday, it seemed the weather would allow Durham a full day to take the remaining seven.
But Amla proved himself on a different planet from his new team-mates, scoring his runs off only 110 balls.
It was like watching Kumar Sangakarra batting against Durham at Edgbaston a few years ago, when no-one else could get the ball off the square but the Sri Lankan kept stroking it to all parts.
Amla had a shot for anything Durham bowled at him, starting the day on 32 and repeatedly tucking Jamie Harrison away through mid-wicket.
Only Rushworth troubled him, having a good shout for lbw turned down with the batsman on 48 and beating him on 85.
On both occasions the next ball was dispatched for one of his 13 boundaries, but straight after the last one he flailed at a ball well wide of off stump and Mustard took a one-handed catch high to his right.
Zander de Bruyn contributed only 12 to a fourth-wicket stand of 68 before he was caught low down at third slip by Michael Richardson in Wood’s first over of the day.
He had been dropped off the previous ball by Keaton Jennings at leg slip as Durham tried a variety of imaginative field placings.
They posted three slips, two gullies and a point for left-hander Davies, who edged Rushworth just wide of third slip on eight and edged Wood for another four just before he was out.
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