Surrey's seamers mine rich source of success

Nottinghamshire 211 Surrey 159-5
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The Independent Online

With Stuart MacGill's arrival still five days away and Kevin Pietersen injured, Nottinghamshire's decision to pick five seamers to face the defending champions seemed to have been forced on them. Otherwise, they would surely not have chosen to bat first on a hazardous Trent Bridge pitch.

With Stuart MacGill's arrival still five days away and Kevin Pietersen injured, Nottinghamshire's decision to pick five seamers to face the defending champions seemed to have been forced on them. Otherwise, they would surely not have chosen to bat first on a hazardous Trent Bridge pitch.

But bat they did and paid the price, dismissed for 211 after labouring in lavish sideways movement and sometimes unpredictable bounce. Surrey's seamers tucked in, Azhar Mahmood taking three of the first four wickets, Jimmy Ormond five of the last six. Nottinghamshire's attack then threatened to compound matters by serving up some very ordinary bowling, ruthlessly punished by Alec Stewart, who fell only two runs short of what would have been the season's fastest hundred.

Only in the final half-hour did they claw their way back, obliging umpires John Holder and Trevor Jesty to contact Lord's, as they must if 15 wickets or more fall on the opening day.

Then again, Jason Gallian, the captain, had grounds for saying his decision was correct: at the end he was still standing, unbeaten on 112, the first Nottinghamshire batsman to carry his bat through an innings since he did it himself, against Hampshire at Portsmouth, in 1998.

Not that he can have felt comfortable for very long as one by one his partners came and went. At 45 he was dropped by Butcher at second slip off Azhar. On 91, hooking Alex Tudor, he was fortunate that Ormond, on the rope, was temporarily blinded by the sun.

Geoff Miller, the England selector in attendance, left after Ward had been snared at first slip off the left-armer, Greg Smith, although one can surmise that it was in the Nottinghamshire pair, Chris Read and Bilal Shafayat, that he was most interested. Read was unlucky, chopping one from Ormond into his stumps, but Shafayat, the talented Under-19 captain, missed his chance to impress, hitting two boundaries, but then flashing to gully.

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