sport

Ford rues Ansari blow

Zafar Ansari's concussion is a "major blow" to Surrey's LV= County Championship chances against Essex, according to coach Graham Ford.

All-rounder Ansari spent the third day of the Division Two clash at The Oval recuperating at home, following his nasty collision with the boundary fence on Monday.

Ansari had hurtled headlong into the boundary fence chasing a lost cause as England captain Alastair Cook struck a four in the second day's play.

The 22-year-old was consigned to bed rest on Tuesday, with hourly checks, and remains a doubt for action on the fourth and final day's play.

Ford admitted Surrey missed the Cambridge University graduate's versatility on a third day where a number of opportunities were missed to take control of the contest.

Surrey closed on 217 for six in reply to Essex's 306 all out, with captain Graeme Smith doubtless frustrated not to turn his 65 into a match-defining score.

"A change of pace would have been a variation and would have helped with the over rate, so it's a major blow all round," said Ford.

"Zafar's an all-rounder who contributes in all departments, so to have him go off so early has been tough for us.

"It was very much a recovery day for him today, bed rest and really take it hour by hour, so I really can't say how he'll be tomorrow.

"He wasn't here today. It was an observation day, but with head injuries you just have to be extra-careful.

"We'll review him again in the morning and take it from there."

Surrey seamer Matt Dunn claimed two wickets on Tuesday morning to complete his second Championship five-wicket haul.

The 21-year-old has had to wait patiently for chances with Surrey since his five-wicket debut haul in June 2011.

Ford hopes the homegrown prospect can capitalise on his strong opening to the new campaign and force a run in the starting line-up.

"It's really good that he's really up for this level of cricket, always it's about the unit and how they work together," said Ford.

"Our attack built pressure nicely, but Dunny came on and really hit his innings well at good pace.

"He's worked hard in pre-season and it's good to see it pay off.

"I think it's quite exciting for us that we've got some talented young men in the bowling line-up and it's something we can develop.

"They took a little bit of time to get into their work on the first morning but got better and better as the day went on, and finished it off nicely today.

"He's bowled well through the pre-season like I said, we wanted more aggression; he gives you aggression as we saw and a bit of extra pace.

"So really we were just looking for a slightly more aggressive approach, and with the four of them at good pace it does add extra pressure."

With the opening day a washout and time lost on both days since, Ford conceded the match is most likely headed for a draw.

The Surrey coach warned his tail they must spend as much time in the middle as possible on Wednesday morning in a bid to stave off any lingering threat of defeat.

"It would have been great to see the likes of Smith move on and make a really big score, but sometimes you can't do anything about receiving a good ball," said Ford.

"But we know we've got to get out there and bat for a while yet."