Notts blown away by leaders Surrey on opening day
Surrey strengthened their grip at the top of the Division One table with a dominant performance with both bat and ball on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
The unbeaten league leaders bowled the home county out for just 210 in only 54 overs and had then built a lead of 13 in the remainder of the day, thanks to their opening batsmen Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman.
A measure of Notts’ disappointment can be gauged from the fact that Harry Gurney, batting at no.11 in the order, top-scored with an unbeaten 29 for the hosts.
Morne Morkel did most of the damage, picking up four for 60. Jade Dernbach, Sam Curran and Rikki Clarke shared the remainder of the wickets.
Burns and Stoneman then put that score into context by rattling their way to an opening stand of 147 as Surrey reached 223 for one at stumps.
Visiting captain Burns closed on 97 not out, with Stoneman having made 86 from only 83 balls, his highest score of the summer.
Earlier, Notts had found themselves up against it from just the second ball of the day, losing captain Steven Mullaney for a duck, after they had been invited to bat first.
Mullaney feathered Dernbach behind at the start of the morning and the visitors hardly relinquished their grip on proceedings and picked up four more wickets before lunch.
Will Fraine, on his championship debut, acquitted himself well against one of the best attacks in the country. The 22-year old shared in a stand of 59 for the second wicket with Jake Libby before both fell in quick succession to Morkel.
The South African, in the sixth over of his spell, extracted sufficient bounce to force Fraine to fend to gully for 19, with Ollie Pope taking a routine catch.
Two balls later, after Samit Patel had pushed a single, Jake Libby edged and was taken in the same position by diving sub fielder Ryan Patel for 28.
Surrey cemented their advantage with two more wickets in the opening session with Curran pinning Patel lbw for 5 and Billy Root falling to Clarke for 15.
Notts offered token resistance at the start of the afternoon, with Riki Wessels taking three consecutive boundaries off Morkel before nicking Dernbach to slip.
Tom Moores also put bat to ball, hitting five boundaries in his 27. Stuart Broad made just three before tamely lofting Morkel into the hands of mid-off.
Luke Fletcher and Gurney, each celebrating their 100th first class appearance, commemorated the occasion with some stylish shot-making.
Fletcher hit a couple of dreamy drives in making 21 and the last pair of Gurney and Jake Ball – who clubbed Morkel for the only six of the innings - added 45 to take the total beyond 200.
When Surrey batted it took Stoneman only six overs to become the highest scorer of the day; passing 30 and reaching 10,000 career runs, with a sumptuous pull off Ball.
Under a hot sun, in the best conditions of the day, runs flowed from the bats of both Stoneman and his opening partner Burns.
Nottinghamshire’s attack was almost treated with disdain as the two left-handers made merry. Burns was content to play second fiddle, whilst Stoneman was the aggressor but he made the most of every opportunity to score, including a cut for six off Gurney.
Stoneman was visibly dejected at getting out, snicking behind as he attempted a vigorous pull off Ball, with a century in sight – but Burns refused to yield and finished the day within three runs of his fourth hundred of the season.
At the start of the day leaders Surrey had held a 22-point advantage over second-placed Notts – and with a game in hand. By the end of the opening salvo that gap looked much, much wider.