Hamilton-Brown: We have to rotate squad
RORY Hamilton-Brown defended his side's rotation policy following last week's draw with Somerset.
At one stage, Surrey were in danger of following on. But thanks to Tom Maynard (89) and Stuart Meaker, who took a career best 8-52 in the second innings, the Oval outfit fought back and could, with a bit more luck, have gone on to win.
After the match Hamilton-Brown said: "Jade Dernbach's played every game this season, he's come off an England Lions game. He's bowled a lot of overs, probably as many as anyone in the country.
"We've got to look after our bowlers. It's not our job to bowl them into the ground. The thing with having a squad of bowlers is trying to keep them performing at 100 per cent, or 90 per cent, for most of the season. There's no doubt in my mind it was a good time to rest Jade and we selected a good enough attack.
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"George Edwards played last week and almost won us the game. Obviously, we're aware that he's young and this was bowling at some good players. That was good for his development. Also, when we lose Dernbach and Meaker, we're going to rely on these blokes."
Hamilton-Brown added: "It was never getting easier, that wicket. It was only going one way and it was hard to drive on, because it was a bit stoppy and slow. You couldn't hit through the line. The bowlers had to bowl bad balls or too short to give you options. We were six down at tea with nearly 40 overs still to go and they were favourites. I thought we lost the right to win the game on the first day. We needed another 60-odd runs (at the end). We let them get 80 too many.
"That's disappointing. We got out of the blocks slowly. I actually thought we played quite well to get to 388, to be honest. I thought coming into today, seeing how the wicket played yesterday, that we could save it. But chasing those runs was always going to be tough against George Dockrell.
"He doesn't bowl many bad balls and he was at you all the time. He was a constant threat. We keep showing that, in the third and fourth innings, we're probably the best side in the country. In the first and second we're leaving a bit to be desired, so that's what we need to improve on.
"If we can get into a four-day game, like we do in one-day cricket, we'll put in some good performances.
"We're showing that we're not this bunch of blokes who bowl it at 90 miles an hour and try and thrash it out of the park. We're better players than that I think. That was the main concern about us and I think the fight we've shown has been something to be pretty proud of."
The Surrey captain also paid tribute to Stuart Meaker.
"He's a phenomenal bowler," he said. "He keeps doing it and I just hope the selectors don't take notice... but I'm joking.
"I want him to move to the next level as quickly as possible. He and Dernbach are two outstanding bowlers and their stats this year back that up.
"With the start to the season being bowler-friendly, sometimes it's tougher. So, the pressure on them to deliver shows that they're ready for the highest level."