Nottinghamshire were frustrated by a combination of a determined Surrey partnership and some inclement weather as they toiled away for wickets on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Surrey at The Kia Oval.
Scott Borthwick and Ollie Pope have so far added an unbroken 176 together as the home county reached 246 for two before wet weather brought an early finish.
Notts had to settle for just two wickets on the day, both taken by Paul Coughlin, leaving Steven Mullaney to reflect that things might have been very different had he won the toss.
“The toss is obviously 50/50 but it doesn’t feel like that, this year. They are a good team and we’ll see if it’s an important toss as we go on,” said the Notts captain.
“We’re under no illusions, they are a good side and we’re going to have to play well.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing only getting two wickets. I think Jake Ball started really, really well this morning but unfortunately we couldn’t back him up at the other end, with myself and Jack early on.”
Mullaney added, “I thought Matt Carter bowled exceptionally well, bowling 20-odd overs on day one of a championship game. He created a couple of chances that we didn’t take.
“To good players like Ollie Pope, who has just been called into the Test squad, and Scott Borthwick, who is a proven championship batsman, if you don’t take those chances and give them bad balls they’ll put them away.
“It’s been Surrey’s day and they are a very good team.”
Mullaney revealed that Notts might have picked up a scalp earlier than they did. Mark Stoneman tickled a Jake Ball delivery down the leg-side but it wasn’t given.
“It was out, I asked him,” said Mullaney. “He’s a good mate of mine, so I asked him and he did say he hit it. When you’re having a season where things are going well for you, they go your way and when you aren’t they don’t.”
Pluses for Notts on the day were the contributions of Paul Coughlin and Matt Carter, who both bowled with control. After two injury-ravaged summers Coughlin is turning in the sort of performances that his skipper has been hoping for.
“It’s just nice to see him put four back-to-back games together,” said Mullaney. “He’s a very exciting cricketer and one for the future for us, with bat and ball and he’s also outstanding in the field.
“I’m pleased to see him put a string of games together after a frustrating couple of years and I’m also pleased to see Matt Carter back in the side. He’s bowled really well in T20 cricket and he showed today what a good bowler in the championship he is also.”
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