Gloucestershire 311 for 8 (Dent 78, Lace 65, Bracey 54, Topley 4-64) lead Surrey 220 by 91 runs
Chris Dent has, at times, carried Gloucestershire’s batting in the past years and it was the captain who again led his side’s effort as they built a solid response to Surrey’s 220 at Bristol, though it was far from a lone hand as the hosts reached 311 for 8 at the end of day two.
Dent’s bright 78 was followed by 54 from James Bracey and Tom Lace‘s 65. None of them could turn their positions into a potentially match-defining innings but they still helped give Gloucestershire a significant lead and three batting points.
After Surrey were polished off within three balls of day two, Dent and Bracey immediately put the home side on the front foot with a rattling opening stand of 139 in 28 overs. Dent survived a chance to second slip on 28, where Jamie Overton couldn’t claim the catch leaping at full stretch over his head, and went on to pull Overton for six over midwicket to raise fifty in just 55 balls.
Another maximum was hoisted down the ground from Amar Virdi’s offspin but just after lunch he couldn’t get out of the way in time trying to leave Reece Topley and edged into his stumps – the first of four wickets for the England left-armer.
It was a bonus for Surrey, who were much relieved to break the opening partnership on the stroke of lunch when Virdi skidded one into Bracey playing back. The wicketkeeper had impressed, punishing three wide deliveries from Gus Atkinson for four before skipping down to lift Virdi for another boundary. A calm single in front of cover brought him fifty in 81 balls.
The third half-centurion was Lace, in his first innings since signing permanently from Middlesex. It should have ended before it began as he chopped Topley to second slip on 0 only for the catch to bounce out of Overton’s hands at shoulder height. He also edged Overton just wide of fourth slip but clipped two pleasant boundaries through midwicket in his 101-ball half-century before sweeping at Virdi, missing, and falling lbw.
Lace was one of five afternoon wickets for Surrey as they kept Gloucestershire in sight and when they took two wickets in 15 deliveries with the second new ball, the hosts were eight down leading by 62.
But Jack Taylor, who at one stage was 1 from 41 balls, and his brother Matt, nudged their side beyond 300 to regain momentum before rain again curtailed play.
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