Harry Gurney claimed the fiftieth first class wicket of his career to help his side reduce Surrey to 242-9 by stumps on the first day of the LV= County Championship match against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
The pace bowler also dismissed Kevin Pietersen during a morning spell which brought him figures of 3-12 in just 22 deliveries.
Ben Phillips also took three wickets for Notts, with Graeme White getting a couple and Luke Fletcher the other one to fall.
Understandably, Gurney was overjoyed at his success. “It’s been a pleasing day all-round,” he said afterwards. “We’re really happy to have them nine down for 242 because we’d have happily taken that at the start. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get them all out because that would have been the icing on the cake. We need to come back in the morning and finish the innings off quickly.”
Having dismissed Andrew Strauss earlier in the campaign, Gurney claimed another notable victim in Pietersen. “We had no special plans for him – you can talk about plans all day long but a good area is a good area on any given pitch and I just wanted to run in and hit those areas as hard as I could.
“He had a little fish outside off stump, nicked it through and Ready took a brilliant diving catch an inch off the floor.
“While he was there he looked dominant and he’s obviously a world class player so I’m pleased to have that scalp.”
The Notts side showed four changes from that which drew against Warwickshire last week.
With the birth of his first child imminent, Michael Lumb was an absentee, Andre Adams’ calf injury ruled him out and Paul Franks and Andy Carter were omitted.
The four to step in to replace them were Steven Mullaney, Ben Phillips, Harry Gurney and Sam Wood – the 19-year old all-rounder whose only previous first class experience amounted to one day against Lancashire last year when Samit Patel was called up for England duty.
Additionally, Neil Edwards was named as the nominated substitute to replace Alex Hales after the first two days of the match, with the opener having to leave for international t20 duty.
Surrey included Pietersen in their starting eleven, appearing against Notts for the first time since June 2005.
Looking out from high at the Pavilion End the panoramic scene is every tourist’s dream, with a horizon including Battersea Power Station, Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, the BT Tower, Big Ben, the London Eye, the Gherkin and the Shard.
Closer to the action, the famed gas-holder was all but empty as play began at the September start-time of 10.30am with Phillips bowling to Rory Burns.
The left-hander had impressed in making 79 at Trent Bridge in July and set off in a similar, confident mood by clipping boundaries off Phillips and then Luke Fletcher, who shared the new ball.
Phillips, who missed the Warwicks match through illness, made the breakthrough in the ninth over as Zafer Ansari (3) edged to Mullaney in the gully.
Gurney, also recalled, replaced Phillips from the Pavilion End to start the 13th over. Struggling with his line, all six deliveries of his opening over were either on or outside the leg stump of the left-hander Burns.
The same angle of attack continued in his next over but brought an unexpected dividend as Burns (23) chipped tamely to Graeme White at midwicket.
With two scalps inside the first hour Notts were understandably buoyant but had to re-focus instantly as Pietersen strode to the wicket.
Having clipped Gurney away to get off the mark, Notts immediately introduced Graeme White from the Vauxhall End, hoping to exploit Pietersen’s ‘mythical’ weakness against left-arm spin.
The batsman quickly looked to stamp his authority by charging down the wicket to loft White’s first delivery away for a one-bounce four, causing Read to make immediate adjustments to the field.
After one and ten minutes play, not only did we have a spinner bowling but also a long on and a long off posted on the ropes.
Gurney claimed his second wicket of the morning – and fiftieth of his first class career when Arun Harinath (11) failed to cope with a delivery that got big on him and he bottom-edged back onto his stumps.
The left-arm quick then struck in his next over as well, as the flashing blade of Pietersen (15) got a thick snick to which Read, diving full-length, was able to take one-handed – a stunning piece of glovework from the Notts skipper.
Gurney’s figures were 3-13 from his opening burst of seven overs which had helped reduce Surrey to 72-4 at lunch.
The opening delivery of the afternoon session weakened those figures somewhat as Gurney, slipping over in his follow-through, bowled a no-ball which Jason Roy inside-edged past his stumps for four.
Eleven came from the opening over of the afternoon but the next ball produced a wicket as Roy (20) was bowled, trying to heave White away to leg.
Zander de Bruyn was determined not to get bogged down by White’s accuracy and he got to the pitch to power the first maximum of the match straight down towards the Vauxhall End.
Sam Wood’s off-spin was introduced into the attack at the start of the 46th over of the day with de Bruyn and Gary Wilson extending their partnership to become the highest of the day.
With the surface offering very little, Read rotated his bowlers but couldn’t make any further inroads as tea was reached with the board showing 155-5.
De Bruyn reached his fifty (126 balls 1x6 4x4) soon after the restart, with the century stand coming up immediately afterwards. The trio of milestones saw Wilson also bring up his own half-century (144 balls 5x4).
The breakthrough, when it arrived, couldn’t have been more timely. After a stand of 123, and with the penultimate ball of the 80th over, de Bruyn (71) was given out lbw by umpire Tim Robinson, sweeping against White.
New man Gareth Batty survived his first delivery and then saw that ball discarded as Notts immediately took possession of a new one.
It was only twelve deliveries old when Fletcher made it count as Wilson’s fine knock ended on 68, courtesy of another lbw decision.
Batty (8) was then caught behind, giving Phillips his second wicket of the day – a scalp he celebrated by raising both hands skywards.
Murali Kartik (0) didn’t last long, as he flailed at a Phillips delivery and gave Alex Hales some catching practice at first slip.
In fading light the last pair Stuart Meaker and Tim Linley managed to bat through the final seven overs of the day and will resume needing eight more for a second batting point.