4/14/2016 0 Comments
Surrey and Nottinghamshire played out a thrilling encounter at Trent Bridge to remind us all why the First-Class game is the purist format of the game.
Resuming on 297/5, Surrey added a crucial 92 runs to the total with Arun Harinath top scoring for the visitors with a stunning century to rescue his team from embarrassment. Jackson Bird picked up the important wicket of the opener to swing the tie back into the hosts favour. Riki Wessels took a routine catch at slip to have Harinath walk back to the pavilion for a 137. Jake Ball then took control for Nottingham as he grabbed his first five-wicket haul of the season taking the wickets of Sam Curran for 28 and Gareth Batty for six to finish with figures of 5-98. Ravi Rampaul and Mark Footitt added an important 23 for the final stand before Brett Hutton removed Footitt caught in the covers for 5. All that meant that the hosts required just 169 for victory in two sessions, and they were off to a flyer with first innings centurion Steven Mullaney starting where he left off with a run-a-ball 42 as Nottinghamshire reached 72 with loss in double quick time. His wicket though sparked a collapse of epic proportions with five wickets falling for 28 runs. Mullaney was trapped leg before by Rampaul, the it turned into the Thomas Curran show as he struck three times in two overs to swing the tide back into Surrey’s favour. Suddenly the hosts found themselves struggling on 91/4, Curran had Michael Lumb and Wessels caught behind in quick succession whilst Brendan Taylor was caught at slip of the same bowler. Samit Patel fell eight runs later as Surrey now smelt blood and the possible chance of pulling off a victory that had looked so unlikely. Rampaul removed Patel caught in the slips by Kumar Sangakkara to leave the host 100/5 still requiring 69 to win with just five wickets in hand. Out strolled the experienced skipper Chris Read to the middle alongside Greg Smith – who was going quite nicely at the other end edging closer to a half-century. The pair shared a stand of 36 to calm the frayed Trent Bridge nerves somewhat before Rampaul struck again to remove the reliable Read for 22. Smith, though, continued to chip away at the total and reached his half-century which proved to be a crucial one, his resistance eventually ended though when Curran removed him for 54 to leave Brett Hutton and Jake Ball with 17 to get for victory. Curran, Rampaul and Footitt all steamed in but the pair survived to guide the hosts to victory in this pulsating clash, which acts as the perfect advert for the first-class game. Hutton finished 14 not out, whilst Ball ended his fine game unbeaten on 9 as the host closed on 172/7 to claim a 24-point success.
Meanwhile at the Ageas, Hampshire survived a scare to secure a comfortable draw against Warwickshire. The Bear resumed Wednesday morning on 283/6 with Ian Bell still batting at his fluent best and the England man added 44 to his overnight total to reach 174, the Warwickshire captain struck 20 fours during his 285-ball stay to guide his team to a lead of 158 on first innings. Bell became one of James Tomlinson three victims as the host battled back to ensure the lead was a reachable one. Tomlinson had the centurion caught by James Vince and then the same pair combined to remove Boyd Rankin for a duck to bring the innings to a close with the visitors on 360. The hosts, in reply, made a steady start with Michael Carberry and Tom Alsop understandably in a watchful mood battling to save the game for the south-coast club. Carberry (14) was the first to fall though fending off Keith Barker to find Chopra at slip. That brought captain James Vince to the middle and he, alongside; Alsop began to steady the ship. The pair put on 35 to reach 59/2 but Rankin struck to remove Alsop as the game began to swing back into Warwickshire’s favour. Alsop found the hands of Sam Hain for 24 to spark a mini-collapse. Seven runs later another man was walking back to the dressing room as Jeetan Patel had Will Smith trapped leg before for 3. And the hosts really were in trouble when the captain suffered the same fate when Rikki Clarke trapped Vince leg before wicket for 21. Suddenly the Bears sniffed victory, but the cool head of Liam Dawson and Sean Ervine had other ideas. The duo shared 42 for the fifth wicket to calm the host’s nerves. Ervine fell though with Hampshire still behind trailing, Barker struck to have the Kolpak star caught behind for 22. That was to be the final scare though as the brilliant Dawson (50 not out) and Adam Wheater (34 not out) ensured the hosts saw the game through with handshakes just before 6pm concluding the game as a draw. The hosts pick up nine points whilst Warwickshire pick up 12.
A game that promised much going into the final day ended up as a damp squib as Durham and Somerset were unable to get on the field of play on Wednesday. Durham, through Keaton Jennings’ unbeaten hundred, were left in a promising position going into the final day but overnight rain and persistent rainfall in the morning meant the umpires were forced to abandon the game early. Durham picked up 10 points whilst the visitors claimed just the eight.
Essex were the only winners in Division Two as they got their campaign off to an emphatic start. Requiring just 92 to win after good work from the bowlers reduced Gloucestershire to 215 the day before on a good deck for batting, Nick Browne and Alastair Cook resumed on 34 without loss. The pair played some wonderful strokes all around the wicket as Browne, in particular, looked back to his best after his first innings disappointment. He struck an unbeaten half-century as the hosts cruised to victory. England Captain Alastair Cook survived a scare though as Gareth Roderick missed a simple stumping off the bowling of Jack Taylor, but in truth that was only a momentary loss of concentration for the opener who continued his fine early season form to finish on 35 not out. Browne did survive a scare too as he was dropped at point by Ian Cockbain but by then the game was gone and Browne finished the game in style as he hit a straight drive back past the bowler to give the Eagles a ten-wicket success and a 23-point victory to start the season. They face a tricky looking away trip next week though as they travel to pre-season favourites Sussex.
Elsewhere, rain ruled as Ben Duckett was cruelly denied a triple-century and was left stranded for the second day in a row on 282 not out in Northampton’s 481/7 against Sussex. It meant the hosts took nine points from their opening fixture and pre-season favourites Sussex took just six.
Finally, for the fourth game in a row, the soggy New Road outfield left Worcestershire and Kent frustrated. Despite the sun shining the grass was just too sodden from the previous week's rain. They share five points each.
Reports by David Bowden (Bowdenwhu)
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