Nottinghamshire’s bowlers had to work hard for their wickets on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Surrey at the Kia Oval.
The home side, invited to bat first, reached the close on 256 for six with Mark Stoneman left undefeated on 99.
Stoneman faced 191 balls and had hit 12 fours by the time the umpires ruled that the light had become unfit with eight overs still to be bowled.
Luke Wood, two for 44, and Luke Fletcher, two for 64, returned the best bowling figures for Notts but all of the attack maintained pressure on the batsman throughout the day.
Nottinghamshire’s preparations for the match were hampered with two late withdrawals. Captain Steven Mullaney, feeling the effects of a back spasm, was advised to rest, whilst Matt Carter had reported being unwell.
In all, there were four changes from the match at Hampshire last week, with Mark Footitt and Chris Nash also out, to be replaced by Luke Wood, Harry Gurney, Tom Moores and debutant Ben Slater.
Samit Patel, for the first time, was named as county captain.
Play didn’t start until 12.15pm, after morning rain had caused a delay. The early exchanges saw Rory Burns compile the six runs he needed to become the first in the country to reach 1,000 for the season.
He didn’t remain at the crease for much longer, nicking Fletcher behind for 10.
The home side were reduced to 36 for three in the early stages of the second session, with two wickets falling in quick succession.
Gurney sent back Dean Elgar lbw for eight, although had a long wait before umpire Tim Robinson raised a finger to verify the decision. Wood then had Ryan Patel caught behind without scoring.
Stoneman and Ben Foakes then threatened to take the game away from Notts with a stand of 90 in only 24 overs before Wood struck again.
Foakes, who had hit eight boundaries in his 48, miscued an attempted pull off Wood and toe-ended the ball straight to Patel at mid-on.
Will Jacks, due to be replaced from the second day of the match by Ollie Pope after the youngster was left out of the England side, square cut Wood to get off the mark then pulled the same bowler for the first six of the contest.
Jacks supported Stoneman in a stand of 78, either side of tea, before eventually being bowled by a pacy delivery from Matt Milnes, which uprooted the middle stump.
Patel kept things tight with a 13-over stint from the Pavilion End that leaked only 17 runs, as Notts ensured the match stayed on an even keel.
Rikki Clarke led a charmed life. He nicked Fletcher between second and then slip and then Milnes had two confident leg before shouts turned down against him, before the batsman succumbed in the same fashion to Fletcher for 14.
Play was halted for around 15 minutes late in the day after Tom Curran had been struck on the helmet by a short ball from Milnes. The batsman was fine but at least six replacement helmets were brought on and discarded before play could eventually resume
Moments later, at 6.41pm – and with Stoneman one short of his hundred – the umpires decided that it was too dark to continue any further.
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