Furious Michael Di Venuto slammed his Surrey side after their 272-run hammering by Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.

Having called for the outgoing champions to show their form of last year in the final three Specsavers County Championship Division One matches of this season, the Australian head coach instead saw them crumble to a fifth defeat in 12 outings of an anticlimactic season.

Surrey had enjoyed the early advantage by bowling out the hosts for 149 on the first day, Rikki Clarke claiming 5-21, but only Ollie Pope’s 68 and 40 from Clarke earned them a narrow lead as they struggled to 162 all out.

Then they were hammered round the ground for 436 – led by James Vince (91) and Liam Dawson (88) – before capitulating second time round for 151 to lose inside three days. Part-time off-spinner Felix Organ hurried through them in a career-best 5-25, Pope (40) and youngster Jamie Smith (34) the only batsmen to last long.

Afterwards Tasmanian Di Venuto made no attempt to hide his anger, describing his side’s effort as “embarrassing” before adding: “I have been involved in a lot of cricket and in the last two days we have dished out some of the worst cricket I’ve ever seen.

Surrey Comet:

It left Surrey sixth in the eight-strong table and only the fact that just one team will be relegated – Nottinghamshire – because of a reorganisation of the County Championship has saved them from the anxiety of worrying if they would emulate neighbours Middlesex in finishing top one year and then sinking the next.

“If you look into it and look at our position in the table and the way we have played, we have carried a lot of players,” reckoned Di Venuto, in his fourth season as head coach.

“We’ve got a lot of players who are in not in good enough form. There isn’t a lot of confidence other than the standout man Ollie Pope.

“The first session on the first day we played as a unit and look good, similar to last season, but the last two days was the worst cricket I’ve seen.

“I’ve told the players all that. They should be embarrassed.”

Di Venuto’s hard words did not seem to have had the desired effect when Essex dominated the opening two days of this week’s clash at Chelmsford, dismissing the visitors for a paltry 174 early on the second day, bad light and rain having affected much of the first.

Promising youngster Smith – one of the gains of the summer – and acting captain Ben Foakes jointly top-scored with 34, seamers Jamie Porter and Sam Cook claiming five victims each as the final six wickets tumbled for just 22.

Dan Lawrence’s accomplished strokeplay on his way to 147 took advantage of improving batting conditions to give Essex a comfortable lead.

Surrey entertain Notts in the final Championship match of the season at the Kia Oval over four days from Monday.