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Anglo-Aussie Dan's the man again for Surrey on 2024 bow

Dan Worrall, the former Australia international pacer who's become one of Surrey's key weapons in winning two straight county championship titles, has helped deliver their first major blow en route to a prospective hat-trick.

Worrall, who played three one-day internationals for Australia back in 2016 before making his career in England, where he now holds UK citizenship, has proved a big favourite at The Oval.

His regular supply of wickets was instrumental in Surrey's 2022 and 2023 triumphs.

On Monday, finishing off his first match of the 2024 campaign, the evergreen 32-year-old struck the key blow to help the champions outclass Kent by an innings and 37 runs in their early season division one clash at Canterbury.

Worrall, whose three wickets on Sunday had already ripped the heart out of the home team's second innings, returned in the morning to snaffle the key scalp of Ben Compton - grandson of the England legend Denis Compton - for 17 in the fifth over of the day.

It was a beauty, too, with Worrall's delivery nipping away to take the edge of Compton's bat and give England keeper Ben Foakes a simple catch.

It felt like the decisive blow but Kent did show resistance, with Joey Evison making  53 and Matt Parkinson a career-high first-class score of 39 before the hosts finally succumbed midway through the afternoon and were bowled out for 262.

Worrall ended up with 4-31 for a match total of 6-79, while Cameron Steel, English cricket's leading wicket-taker so far this term with 20, took 3-38.

With a maximum 24 points in the bag for their first win of a rain-affected English spring, Surrey have moved into second place in the division one table, eight points behind leaders Essex, who on Sunday completed a three-day innings and 124 run thrashing of Nathan Lyon's Lancashire.

If they do go on to achieve the hat-trick, Surrey will count on another major contribution from Worrall, known affectionately to all and sundry as 'Frankie' after the West Indies great.

Worrall was Surrey's leading wicket-taker with 39 en route to their 2022 triumph and  he improved his haul to 48 last term in a season in which he was also named in the Professional Cricketers' Association's team of the year.