Cricket: Shahid keeps Surrey on the road to title

Nottinghamshire 213 and 55-4 Surrey 270
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The Independent Online
HAVING DISMISSED Nottinghamshire relatively cheaply on the opening day Surrey failed to adhere to their intended script here yesterday, establishing a first-innings lead but one rather less commanding than had once looked on the cards.

Mark Butcher and Ben Hollioake, who had rebuilt Surrey's position after the loss of two early wickets on Wednesday evening, maintained the careful approach yesterday morning and their vigilance appeared to have paid off when the home attack failed to break through in the first hour.

But on an unpredictable pitch, where Nottinghamshire had stumbled to 65 for 5 the previous morning, batting was still less than straightforward. The combination of movement through the air and the surface was always liable to take a batsman by surprise, no matter how watchful he cared to be.

Hollioake, revealing a side of his game he shows infrequently, had been admirably patient, but in time was bowled off an inside edge as Andy Oram swung one in. He and Butcher had added 93 for the third wicket, but their partnership foundered just when it seemed likely to lead Surrey to prosperity.

Butcher, whose half-century had occupied 128 balls, reached 77 from a further 49, hitting 10 boundaries before Kevin Evans bowled him, and when Evans added the wicket of James Knott with the last ball before lunch, Surrey were wobbling a little at 160 for 5.

It took a bold partnership between Nadeem Shahid and Jonathan Batty to set them back on course. Shahid's 64 included 10 boundaries and, by putting on 85 for the sixth wicket in rapid time, encouraged their captain to believe the target of full batting points was still viable.

However, the persevering Chris Tolley then had Shahid caught behind by Chris Read, claiming the first of four catches, and when Paul Strang's accurate throw ran out Batty, the home side were encouraged to put in a little extra, which Surrey's rivals will appreciate.

On a day in which Paul Franks, Nottinghamshire's England Under-19 bowler, suffered for his inexperience, Oram finished with 4 for 37 from 21 overs as the new ball saw off the last four Surrey wickets for 14 runs.

Oram also possesses the quality of good manners. Curious to experience the view from Trent Bridge's splendid new press box, he announced himself with a knock on the door and a request for permission to enter, courtesies not all of his fellow young professionals would think to observe.

Two batting points was a disappointing return for Surrey but they should still win this match, which would make it difficult for them to be caught. Having lost Jason Gallian and Usman Afzaal in successive balls as Martin Bicknell produced two excellent deliveries, Nottinghamshire had it all to do to set a challenging target.