Steven Mullaney’s second century of the week put Nottinghamshire in command on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship Division One match against Surrey at Trent Bridge.
The opener, who scored 139 against Cambridge MCCU on Tuesday, continued his impressive start to the new campaign by making 113 on Sunday, taking 114 deliveries with 18 fours included, as the home side made 446 before being bowled out late in the day.
Surrey openers Rory Burns and Arun Harinath reached the close together on seven without loss from the two overs they faced.
Despite a greenish tinge to the wicket, bat dominated the ball and Samit Patel with 85, Riki Wessels with 81, and Chris Read with 63 not out all added to Surrey’s woes, despite Ravi Rampaul taking 5-93 on his debut for the county.
Mullaney was quickly out of the blocks, hitting a four and a three from Tom Curran’s opening two deliveries and the extra pace of Mark Footitt was certainly to his liking, 18 coming from the sixth over of the day.
When on 92, a shy from Sam Curran at cover was Mullaney’s only real moment of concern but that was quickly forgotten as a drive through the off side took the 29-year-old to his ninth career century, and he celebrated with a roar of delight.
— Nottinghamshire CCC (@TrentBridge) April 10, 2016
Rampaul, appearing in first class cricket for the first time in over three years, looked a little under-cooked but ran in purposefully all day and deservedly picked up his five-wicket haul.
He claimed two of the key wickets, finding the inside-edge of Mullaney’s bat before a more orthodox edge accounted for Wessels.
Wessels’ innings was dominated by the crispness of his drives but a mighty leg-side six off Tom Curran will stay in the memory.
Curran had a decent day, nevertheless, claiming two of the first three wickets to fall, with both Greg Smith and Brendan Taylor nicking into the hands of Kumar Sangakkara at first slip.
Smith, included in the starting line-up in place of the unwell James Taylor, averaged only 10 in his first season with Notts and missed out again, making just nine before becoming Curran’s 100th first-class victim.
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) April 10, 2016
Former Nottinghamshire bowler Footitt trapped Michael Lumb lbw for 24 before lunch and demolished Brett Hutton’s stumps later on but it was left to Rampaul to polish off the innings by removing Jake Ball, Jackson Bird and Harry Gurney in quick succession; the latter two off consecutive deliveries.
Mullaney said after the day’s play: “It was nice to get off and running from the first ball of the day, it calmed a few nerves.
“I’ve felt in good nick for most of pre-season and we’ve talked about people who are in nick cashing in. I did that to a certain extent but am disappointed not to go and get a really big one.
“I suspected we’d be batting first but we spoke about it and if there was a toss we were going to bat first. We think it’s a decent wicket but enough it for the bowlers.”
Surrey director of cricket Alec Stewart said: “Obviously we’re pleased to bowl Notts out in the day, having asked them to bat first but they got too many runs on that wicket.
“The first two sessions we were disappointing and the bowlers have to put their hands up and say they didn’t bowl to the consistent high levels we’d expect from them.
“Credit to Notts, they put the bad balls away for fours and Mullaney played nicely but we fed him some easy runs.”