Luke Fletcher can end Notts' dependence on Andre Adams
Nottinghamshire 274 & 24-1 Surrey 207
Thursday 16 May 2013
Every county side craves a bowler who can take 50 wickets a season, year after year, but relying on one individual can bring problems of its own. In that respect, Nottinghamshire may regard this match as being psychologically significant, provided they can push home the advantage of a first-innings lead.
It would be the first time since May 2010 they had won a match in the Championship in which their talisman Andre Adams has played no part.
The former New Zealand seam bowler, who is out with a calf injury, has been leading wicket-taker for the whole of that period, and since Ryan Sidebottom returned to Yorkshire, none of the supporting cast among Nottinghamshire's bowlers has emerged as a potential lead.
Given an even spread of wickets as Surrey were bowled out for 207, it could be argued that nothing has changed, but the demands of taking responsibility seemed to sit more comfortably than previously on some shoulders.
Luke Fletcher impressed in particular. Tall and sturdy, the 24-year-old right-armer has something of Angus Fraser about him in his willingness to bowl long spells, and if he has not quite yet acquired the nagging accuracy of the former England bowler, he is making progress towards it. He sent down 10 maidens in his 18 overs and deserved more than his two wickets.
After Harry Gurney, a left-armer who uses his weapons intelligently, had set the ball rolling by drawing Rory Burns into a push that he edged to the wicketkeeper, Fletcher produced a fine delivery to leave Jason Roy staring in some bemusement at an uprooted leg stum. Then Vikram Solanki's misjudgement handed him a second wicket and set Surrey into a pattern of cheap dismissals that was not halted until Gary Wilson and Gareth Batty summoned some resistance at seven wickets down.
Their stand of 81 rescued in part a collapse not helped by Steven Davies flashing airily at the last ball of the morning session to be caught at second slip and Arun Harinath, dropped on 12, cut straight to gully. Davies was second of two wickets for Paul Franks, the veteran all-rounder, who was told he could look for another county last season, rather than wait for limited opportunities, but has fought his way back into contention.
But for the efforts of Batty and Wilson, Surrey would probably have found themselves following on and might have done, arguably, had Samit Patel's left-arm spin been introduced a little sooner on a pitch that produced some variable bounce despite the heavy roller. As it was, Patel ultimately accounted for both, having Wilson caught behind, cutting, before Batty went for a big heave over mid-wicket and was stumped.
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