Career-best figures of eight for 61 from Amar Virdi has put Surrey into a healthy position against Nottinghamshire at the halfway stage of their Specsavers County Championship match at Trent Bridge.
Virdi, playing his first championship match of the summer, had given no indication of what was to come as his first 10 overs went without reward.
A change of ends opened the floodgates and Notts slid dramatically from 35 for one to 116 all out, a first innings deficit of 124.
Batting for a second time, Surrey reached the close on 184 for seven, with Jamie Smith having made 57. Ravichandran Ashwin, who took six for 69 in the first innings, has backed it up with figures of four for 64.
The home side had lost Ben Slater to the pace of Morne Morkel on the first evening but that remains the only one of the 27 wickets that have fallen so far, not to be taken by the spinners.
Jake Libby and Tom Moores withstood Morkel’s fiery opening burst before the wickets began to tumble in clusters, with Libby pinned lbw by Virdi for 23.
Joe Clarke, desperately short of runs since the opening weeks of the season, was dismissed by Gareth Batty for a single and then Virdi properly got to work.
He removed Steven Mullaney first ball, Samit Patel for 12 and Liam Patterson-White for a duck, to leave the hosts in disarray at 66 for seven.
Ashwin and Luke Wood added 43 together, either side of lunch, but Virdi collected the final three wickets within the space of only nine balls to condemn Notts to a hefty first innings deficit.
Stuart Broad was left undefeated on seven at the end of an innings that had seen him nudge past 5,000 career runs but the England pace man was left inactive as spin ruled the roost again at the start of Surrey’s second knock.
Ashwin removed Ryan Patel with the third ball of the innings and when Patterson-White sent back Rory Burns, both openers had fallen with only 13 on the board.
Dean Elgar nicked Ashwin behind and Scott Borthwick, for the second day running, fell to the final delivery before tea.
Smith, who had made 42 on the first day, impressed once again. The 19-year old appeared at ease against the turning ball and stroked his way to an elegant 50 from 99 balls.
His undoing came with the introduction of the third spinner into the attack, as Samit Patel turned one past his defences and into the off stump.
Will Jacks, who had snaffled three close to the wicket catches during the Notts innings, made 19 before cutting Patterson-White into the hands of backward point.
With the lead approaching 250 Ashwin removed Rikki Clarke to give him 10 wickets in the match, for the 11th time in his career.
The eventual switch to pace saw Jordan Clark uppercut Zak Chappell for the first six of the contest and he then paddled the same bowler over the ‘keeper’s head to take the lead beyond 300.
Clark’s unbroken partnership of 54 with Batty has given Surrey an advantage of 308 runs going into the second half of the contest.
A Notts Outlaws squad brimming with international talent will commence their T20 Vitality Blast campaign against Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge on Thursday 18 July, with adult tickets priced at £10. Secure your seats…