A battling innings of 85 not out by Chris Read enabled Nottinghamshire to reach 227 all out on the second day of their LV= County Championship match against Surrey at The Kia Oval.
The innings was concluded in the final over of the day, with Tim Linley collecting figures of 5-62 as the home side took a lead of 42 at the halfway stage of the contest.
Aside from Read’s wonderful knock, there was a splendid innings of 45 from Sam Wood to enjoy, with the England Under19s all-rounder sharing in a stand of 92 with his captain.
Earlier Surrey had been dismissed for 269 in their first innings, with Harry Gurney ending with figures of 4-47.
Read’s score was the ninth time he has passed fifty in the championship this summer. “I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing considering that I’ve only gone on to reach a century once,” he said.
“I’m pleased with the way I played today – it was a slightly uncharacteristic innings for me but the pitch merited a more cautious approach and it was one that paid off for me.”
On his stand with Wood, the Notts captain was full of admiration for his younger partner. “I thought he played fantastically well. When he came out to bat I thought that this was going to be a real test of his character, facing his first ball in first class cricket from Murali Kartik, bowling into the rough on a turning wicket.
“But he came through it beautifully and played some lovely shots – it was just a shame when that partnership ended. I didn’t really have to say too much to him – he just keeps grinning and has clearly enjoyed his first two days here.”
The Nottinghamshire innings had begun with a no-ball from Tim Linley and both Alex Hales and Riki Wessels eased into their work with boundaries as 17 came from the first three overs.
Stuart Meaker, who took five wickets when the sides met at Trent Bridge in July, then blew a hole in the upper order by claiming two wickets within the space of five deliveries. Firstly, he appealed successfully to umpire Tim Robinson for an lbw decision against Wessels (5) and he then fired a very quick delivery into Adam Voges’ stumps (2).
Linley had sprayed the ball around a little more than his England Lion colleague but matched him in the wicket-taking stakes by striking two crucial blows before lunch. Hales (19) fell to a stunning catch at second slip from Jason Roy – who had just gone into that position for that ball – as Kartik had temporarily left the field.
James Taylor and Steven Mullaney added 15 together but on the stroke of lunch Linley picked up his second wicket, getting Taylor leg before for 12.
Accurate bowling from Linley and Kartik totally dried up the run-rate with only four added in eight overs afterwards and it took Read until his 21st delivery before he got off the mark.
The stalemate was broken by Kartik who managed to turn one into the pads of Mullaney (15) to collect the third leg before of the innings, a dismissal that brought 19-year old Sam Wood to the crease to play his maiden first class innings.
He was beaten by his fourth delivery which also sped past ‘keeper Wilson and through for four byes. That was the first time the ball had reached the ropes in the second session and was followed, more emphatically, by Read clipping Linley through the legside with the first shot of any authority in the 35 minutes played to that point.
Wood finally got off the mark, from his 13th delivery, guiding Meaker down to the vacant third man fence for four. With express pace coming from one end and a wily, experienced Test spinner at the other, it was a daunting time for any young batsman to make his introduction.
A cover drive off Meaker took him into double figures and together with his captain he subdued the Surrey threat for the remainder of the afternoon.
The pair brought up a fifty stand from eighteen overs together, with the younger man contributing exactly half and by tea he was unbeaten on 41, with Read on 36, out of a total of 144-5.
Wood’s innings was ended by a sharp catch at short leg, by Rory Burns, from the bowling of Kartik and soon afterwards Graeme White (1) was bowled through the gate by Linley.
Read brought up his fifty (143 balls 5x4) with an emphatic thump for four off Linley.
Ben Phillips (14) fell to Kartik after a lengthy stoppage for treatment to Burns, who was hit whilst fielding at short leg. When play restarted, the Notts man tried to lift the ball over the legside and was comprehensively bowled.
Luke Fletcher (6) gave Read enough support to ensure that a batting point was secured but he then fell to the second new ball – lbw to Linley.
With only Harry Gurney (0) for company Read upped the tempo and hit Linley for two boundaries and a six at the start of the last over of the day but then took a single and exposed his partner, who became the fifth lbw of the day.
During the first part of the morning session Surrey’s last pair extended their partnership to 38, the second-highest of the innings.
After around 35 minutes – and ten overs of play – Harry Gurney was introduced into the attack, replacing Ben Phillips from the Pavilion End. He wasted little time in concluding the innings, bowling Tim Linley (14) with just his second delivery, leaving Stuart Meaker unbeaten on 29.