Nottinghamshire enjoyed the better of the opening day at the Kia Oval as Surrey were all out for 198 and the visitors closed 50-0 in reply. Rory Burns with 57 and Steven Davies’ unbeaten 65 provided the backbone of the Surrey innings but the total was below par in good conditions and under blue skies.

Surrey won the toss and Gareth Batty had no hesitation in deciding to bat first in glorious conditions. Burns and Arun Harinath made their way to the middle and Burns started the morning in confident fashion whipping Harry Gurney to the leg side boundary.

Harinath got off the mark with a boundary but Ajmal Shahzad then found his outside edge and Samit Patel took a smart catch at second slip to leave Surrey 16-1. Burns continued to look in excellent form playing handsomely down the ground on a couple of occasions but Surrey found themselves 42-2 when Andre Adams trapped Vikram Solanki LBW for 8.

Ricky Ponting in his final First Class appearance joined Burns and settled at the crease immediately. Both batsmen used their feet against the spin of Patel who was introduced early into proceedings from the Vauxhall End.

Burns found the boundary off both front and back foot and Ponting danced down the pitch twice to Patel and drove him down the ground to the OCS stand. Burns moved to an excellent fifty from 91 deliveries but in the over before lunch he departed for 57 when he was caught down the legside by Chris Read off Gurney to leave Surrey 93-3 at the break.

After lunch Ponting played a lovely shot through the covers off Gurney but he then departed on 29 when he turned Patel to Riki Wessels at short leg and Surrey found themselves 105-4. In the face of some disciplined Nottinghamshire bowling the rebuilding process began with Zander de Bruyn and Steven Davies.

Davies looked in exquisite touch and De Bruyn played watchfully as spin and pace continued to dominate the day. Shahzad was brought back into the attack from the Vauxhall End to replace Patel and he immediately had De Bruyn caught behind for 16.

Zafar Ansari joined Davies and played watchfully as they moved Surrey carefully through the afternoon session and towards tea. But just before the break Ansari turned the spin of Graeme White into the leg side on 7 and Wessels took an excellent catch at short leg.

Surrey went to the break with the scoreboard reading 176-6 with Davies unbeaten on 48 but in the first over after tea Gurney had Gareth Batty caught behind without scoring. Davies moved to an excellent fifty from 87 balls with a couple of runs off Gurney but Surrey found themselves 182-8 when a mix up saw Chris Tremlett run out for 0.

And that became 187-9 when Jade Dernbach pushed forward to White and a thin outside edge was gathered by Read behind the stumps. Davies found the boundary on a couple of occasions as he looked to push Surrey to a first batting point but with the score on 198 Gary Keedy was bowled by Shahzad without scoring leaving Davies unbeaten on 65.

18 overs remained in the day and Steven Mullaney alongside Riki Wessels played very well against the new ball. They matched each other run for run and guided the visitors safely to stumps with the scoreboard reading 50-0 and both batsmen unbeaten on 21.

A tough day for Surrey who will come back tomorrow and look for early wickets to force their way into the Nottinghamshire line up and get themselves back into the game at the Kia Oval.

Mark Church