Nottinghamshire enjoyed the double fillip yesterday of winning their opening match in the County Championship and receiving the green light from England to put Samit Patel straight back into their team after the all-rounder's debut Test series in Sri Lanka.
Patel was awarded an incremental ECB contract during the winter but has been told he has some distance to go to establish himself in the Test side. He was picked against Sri Lanka because he combines aggressive middle-order batting with useful left-arm spin but his returns were modest: 40 runs from three innings and three wickets in 59 overs at 40.66.
"The challenge for Samit is to prove to England he can play as a specialist batsman at No 6," said Nottinghamshire's director of cricket, Mick Newell, after watching his side complete a 92-run victory over Worcestershire at Trent Bridge.
"He will not play for England in England as a spin bowler; he's got to play as a batsman. He will go in against Durham on Thursday and I think he has to play in all of our next five Championship matches and score some runs."
Nottinghamshire were bowled out for 118 in their first innings but scored 403 in the second, taking a decisive grip on Saturday evening when three wickets in three overs with the second new ball ended Worcestershire's hopes of reaching a target of 392. Their last four wickets fell in 62 minutes yesterday morning.
Jonny Bairstow, who advanced his England claims with a first-innings century for Yorkshire against Kent, was out for just eight yesterday as the visitors forced the follow-on at Headingley but Joe Root and Joe Sayers had laid the foundation for Yorkshire to escape with a draw.
Surrey needed only 40 minutes to wrap up an 86-run win over Sussex at The Oval, celebrating a first victory in the First Division since September 2007. Luke Wells completed a fine century before hitting a return catch to Surrey debutant Jon Lewis.
George Dockrell, Somerset's 19-year-old Dublin-born left-arm spinner, finished with eight wickets in only his second Championship match after taking 6 for 27 as Middlesex were bowled out for 175 at Taunton, leaving Somerset with a target of 72 to win, which they knocked off with six wickets and 24 overs to spare.
Questions over the first-class status of matches between counties and the MCC University sides will be raised again after the Durham students were bowled out for just 18 runs in 16.5 overs by Durham at Chester-le-Street, the lowest all-out total in a first-class match since Essex dismissed Surrey for 14 in the Championship in 1983.Reuse content