County Championship: Champions Surrey retain unbeaten hopes against Essex

Surrey's Ollie Pope

Specsavers County Championship Division One, Kia Oval (day three):
Surrey 67 & 477-5: Roy 128, Pope 114; Quinn 2-110
Essex 477-8 dec: Westley 134, Harmer 102*, Vijay 80; Dernbach 4-95
Surrey (2 pts) lead Essex (6 pts) by 67 runs

Centuries from Jason Roy and Ollie Pope helped champions Surrey dig in against Essex and keep alive hopes of retaining their unbeaten league record in 2018.

Roy raced to his 100 in 92 balls, before he and 181-run partner Mark Stoneman departed on 128 and 86 respectively after lunch.

Then Pope stroked his way to a ton in 97 balls, smashing a six off Matthew Quinn in a brutal 18-run 88th over.

The day ended with Surrey on 477-5 at stumps with a lead of 67 runs.

Having resumed on 88-1 in a bid to overhaul Essex’s imposing total and avoid an early finish to the game, Roy and Stoneman’s combination set Surrey on course to frustrate.

Roy, who might have hoped for a Test call but has been named in the England Lions squad instead, in particular enjoyed success – dispatching a Matt Coles delivery for six to bring up his 50 and then whizzing towards his ton before lunch.

However, he was finally taken by substitute fielder Aron Nijjar out on the boundary after he sought to pull Quinn which then brought Pope to the crease.

Fellow England hopeful Pope was equally aggressive with his shots, making his 114 from 120 balls, before he was trapped lbw by Coles.

Ben Foakes contributed 32, while Will Jacks cracked a couple of big sixes from balls by Coles and Simon Harmer, and he passed 50 – his first Championship half-century.

Harmer’s figures, 1-106, fail to take into account the 42 overs he has bowled in this match so far.

Jacks (52) and Ryan Patel (20) dragged Surrey to stumps with five wickets intact, setting up any number of permutations on the final day.

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