Stuart Meaker stakes Test claim as Notts struggle to find form

Nottinghamshire 269-9 v Surrey

Trent Bridge

Stuart Meaker may have a little way to go to fulfil his ambition of playing Test cricket for England but Surrey will not mind their 24-year-old fast bowler nurturing lofty ambitions if it helps their season to recover from a rocky start.

In a Surrey attack in which there was no place for Chris Tremlett or Jon Lewis, Meaker provided the most impressive answer to manager Chris Adams' plea for improvement from his much-vaunted team after their dismal defeat to Durham at The Oval.

Only Derbyshire sat below them in the First Division table going into this round. Victory for Surrey here, however, could mean Nottinghamshire take their place as the most disappointing of the supposed title candidates.

Given the intensity of the opening day, in which Meaker's four wickets and Steven Mullaney's vital late defiance were the outstanding features, it is a label neither side wishes to be carrying after a quarter of the season.

On a chilly morning under heavy cloud, Nottinghamshire were made to work after being put in to bat as Jade Dernbach generated pace and swing. The home side had already been unsettled by a rare injury to their captain, wicketkeeper and often their most reliable batsman as Chris Read was ruled out by a neck injury that has been troubling him for a week or so.

Read and injuries simply do not go together. Extraordinarily, he had not missed a Championship match previously for more than six seasons, since he last played Test cricket, racking up 98 consecutive appearances.

Gareth Batty having made the right decision to insert, Dernbach struck the first blow, cleaning out Alex Hales with a swinging yorker. Hales has been the most frustrating of the Nottinghamshire batsmen. Last month he looked to have added patience to his undoubted flair when he compiled a half-century of rare restraint against Derbyshire but his first-class scores since have been four, two, nought and four.

Ed Cowan has looked more of a stroke-player than some expected in the early part of his Ashes warm-up but he reverted to grafter mode this time as Nottinghamshire sought merely to protect themselves from further losses. But then Meaker bowled him off an inside edge and the pattern of batsmen playing themselves in but never finding comfort was established when Michael Lumb, after several hairy moments, sprayed a leading edge to mid-off.

The pressure on the home side had been built by a string of maidens from Tim Linley, who gained his own rewards when Samit Patel, forced to defend on the back foot, edged to first slip and James Taylor chopped on.

Taylor had been the first batsman to look in any way at ease and Nottinghamshire were in trouble as Meaker added Riki Wessels and Paul Franks to his collection, until Mullaney (68) led an eighth-wicket recovery with his second half-century in as many games.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower