SURREY V LANCASHIRE at the Kia Oval (SSCC1), 23-26 AUGUST 2016

Third plays host to fourth. Since beating Surrey by an innings and 96 runs at the end of May, Lancashire have lost twice and drawn five times in the County Championship. Over the same period, Surrey have won three and come within a whisker (at Taunton) of winning a fourth.

Not all that long ago, Lancashire ended many a season without one their batmen making 1,000 championship runs that summer. This year, they will, in all probability have two 19-year-old opener Haseeb Hameed, who broke through that barrier last week with back-to-back hundreds against Yorkshire. Hameed's first-class career average is 53.62, making favourite to be named the Cricket Writers' Club's young player of the year. At the other end of the age-scale, Alviro Petersen keeps churning out the runs at the age of 35. So far, this summer, he has made 903 at an average of 47.52 in the County Championship. Having hit first-class centuries against Surrey for three different counties, the key to this match will be whether the hosts can tame the veteran South African. Nevertheless, with Liam Livingstone, 23, averaging 62.70, Luke Proctor 40.55 and both Steven Croft and Tom Smith capable of making a telling contribution with the willow, Petersen and Hameed are by no means the only dangers.

Smith is also averaging 24.93 with the ball, but in the absence of Neil Wagner - who has been called-up for New Zealand's series with Zimbabwe and South Africa - all eyes will be on Wagner's new-ball partner, Kyle Jarvis, who has not only bagged 42 championship wickets at 30.00, but also claimed match figures of 11-119 when these two sides met at Old Trafford back in May. Slow left-armer Simon Kerrigan has had his moments this term, like when he took 5-59 against Hampshire, but just when one would expect him to come into his own, the wickets appear to have dried up for the former England man (in the return game against Hampshire at Southampton, he managed only wicket at a cost of 101 runs). Still, with the wicket at the Oval likely to favour spin, it would be a brave man to bill Kerrigan as an irrelevance. Central to Lancashire's hopes of doing a Surrey, and pulling away from the relegation zone, could be leggie Matt Parkinson and fit again seamer Tom Bailey.

Surrey v Lancashire - First-Class Records Sheet

Amar Virdi is on the brink of making his county debut while Rory Burns looks set to make his 75th first-class appearance. Gareth Batty (6,997) is within touching distance of 7,000 f-c career runs and Mark Footitt and Stuart Meaker need 7 more wickets for 250 and 300 respectively in first-class cricket. Of the Lancashire contingent, Tom Smith (3,972) is closing in on 4,000 f-c career runs. In terms of milestones for the season, Burns has 989 first-class runs for the summer, while Lancashire's Alviro Petersen has 903 f-c runs and Kyle Jarvis 42 first-class wickets.

Zafar Ansari (back) has not made Surrey's 14-man squad, so in comes Amar Virdi, who has been catching the eye in the second eleven and for England U19 with his off-spin - so much so Alec Stewart has signed Virdi up for the next three years. Ravi Rampaul and Gary Wilson also make the squad. In the absence of Jason Roy (England white ball duty), Ben Foakes is expected to make a return to championship action after sitting out the victory at Edgbaston with a quad strain. 

Warwickshire 13-16 Aug 2016 Won By 226 Runs Edgbaston 252 & 390 247 & 169
Middlesex 4-7 Aug 2016 Match Drawn Lord's 415 & 266-7d 293 & 278-6
Hampshire 17-20 Jul 2016 Won By An Inns & 13 Runs Rose Bowl 637-7d 423 & 201
Yorkshire 11-14 Jul 2016 Match Drawn The Oval 267 & 106-1 407
Warwickshire 2-4 Jul 2016 Lost By 10 Wickets Guildford 273 & 177 449 & 5-0

Lancashire have not won a championship match at the Oval since 1997. Furthermore, all three of their victories this year have come at Old Trafford; plus Tom Smith, who offers with both bat and ball has not been named in the visitors' squad. With the weather set fair for the next four days and the pitch expected to turn, the contest will hinge on Batty and Virdi combining instantly to pose a spin threat. Prediction - Surrey to win, but Lancashire to take the game deep. Look forward to a great battle.

H.Hameed, R.Jones, A.Petersen, S.Croft (capt, wk), L.Livingstone, L.Proctor, J.Clark, K.Jarvis, S.Kerrigan, T.Bailey and A.Lilley.

Steven O'Shaughnessy and Martin Saggers. Surrey have failed to win any of their last six championship games in which Steven O'Shaughnessy has stood. The last victory with the former Lancashire (and latterly Worcestershire) all-rounder white-coated was the final match of 2011, against Derbyshire at the Oval. Combined leg-before-o-meter: 22.1% of dismissals.

22-24 May 2016 Lost By An Inns & 96 Runs Old Trafford Surrey Bat 191 & 107 394
14-17 Sep 2015 Match Drawn Old Trafford Surrey Bat 480 & 283-7d 272 & 195-7
31 May - 3 Jun 2015 Match Drawn The Oval Lancashire Field 448 & 186-0d 429
11-14 Sep 2012 Match Drawn Liverpool Lancashire Field 367 142-2d
11-14 Jul 2012 Match Drawn Guildford Surrey Field 430-5 485-7d
27-30 Aug 2008 Abandoned Blackpool No toss made - - -
16-19 Apr 2008 Match Drawn The Oval Surrey Bat 537-5d 241-6
19-22 Sep 2007 Won By 24 Runs The Oval Surrey Bat 427-9d & 295-5d 234 & 464
2-4 May 2007 Lost By 7 Wickets Old Trafford Surrey Bat 284 & 120 315 & 90-3
2-4 Sep 2004 Won By 147 Runs Old Trafford Surrey Bat 369 & 185 278 & 129
11-13 Aug 2004 Won By An Inns & 55 Runs Whitgift Sch Lancashire Bat 525 210 & 260
26-29 Aug 2003 Lost By 8 Wickets Old Trafford Surrey Bat 337 & 138 341 & 135-2
18-21 Apr 2003 Match Drawn The Oval Lancashire Bat 280 & 379-6 599
31 May - 3 Jun 2002 Match Drawn Old Trafford Surrey Bat 382 & 246-6d 194 & 112-3
8-11 May 2002 Won By 3 Wickets The Oval Lancashire Bat 216 & 309-7 320 & 200
29 Jun - 2 Jul 2001 Match Drawn The Oval Surrey Bat 248 & 320-9d 276 & 170-2
25-28 Apr 2001 Abandoned Old Trafford No toss made - - -
13-16 Sep 2000 Match Drawn Old Trafford Lancashire Bat 359 324 & 304-9d
2-5 Aug 2000 Won By 272 Runs The Oval Surrey Bat 310 & 227-4d 120 & 145
15-18 Jun 1999 Won By 4 Wickets The Oval Lancashire Bat 298 & 161-6 194 & 260