Smith steers Notts to victory

Nottinghamshire are the early leaders in Division One of the Specsavers County Championship after defeating Surrey by three wickets at Trent Bridge.

Set 169 in their second innings, the hosts reached their target in 42.4 overs for the loss of seven wickets, although the match remained in the balance right up until the winning blow.

Surrey were bowled out, on the stroke of lunch, for 389 in their second innings, with Arun Harinath eventually falling for 137.

The 29-year-old left-hander, who had spent time at the crease on all four days of the match, batted for almost six hours and faced 270 deliveries, hitting 18 fours and a six.

Jake Ball was the pick of the Nottinghamshire attack, adding two more wickets on the final morning, to finish with figures of 5-98.

Notts made heavy weather of their run chase, slipping from 72 without loss to 100 for five, helped by a mid-afternoon burst of three wickets without conceding a run from Tom Curran, who whipped out Michael Lumb, Brendan Taylor and Riki Wessels in quick succession, on his way to figures of 4-58.

Steven Mullaney followed up his first innings score of 113 with a run-a-ball knock of 42, which included a huge pulled six off Ravi Rampaul.

The former West Indies bowler had his revenge, pinning the opener in his crease before having Samit Patel caught in the slips and Chris Read adjudged lbw.

Greg Smith remained defiant. In seven previous first-class innings for the county he hadn’t got past 14 but he chose his moment to register his first meaningful contribution with a resilient 54, before falling with only 17 required.

Brett Hutton edged his side closer, leaving the stage to Ball to cap a fine match by hitting the winning runs.

Surrey had begun the final day with an overall lead of 76 and soon added to it, with Sam Curran helping Harinath extend their sixth-wicket partnership to 44, before the second new ball parted them.

Ball, back from his first winter as an England Lions bowler, picked up his fourth wicket of the innings by trapping Sam Curran for 28 in the ninth over of the day and a similar mode of dismissal then accounted for Gareth Batty.

A sharp catch at first slip by Wessels ended Harinath’s fine knock, off the bowling of Jackson Bird.

Harry Gurney removed Tom Curran to the third lbw of the morning before Mark Footitt holed out for five, leaving Rampaul unbeaten on 13.

Nottinghamshire collect the full haul of 24 points from the contest, while Surrey collect only four points on their return to the top flight.

After hitting the winning runs, Ball said: “Personally and on a team level it is great to get off to such a good start and get the points on the board early.

“To get a five-wicket haul in the first game is really pleasing.

“I think we bowled exceptionally well as a unit in the first innings and I probably didn’t get the rewards then, but we knew if we kept doing what we had been doing and stuck the ball in the right areas then the wickets will come.

“I said at lunch that if I have to go and get my pads on I’d be pretty upset but it’s a great feeling to hit the winning runs for the team.”

Surrey skipper Gareth Batty added: “We made it very difficult for ourselves over the first four or five sessions of the game. You can’t get that far behind against a very good team and Notts are a proven team.

“We gave ourselves too big a hill to climb but it was a pretty good effort to try and turn it around.”

Source: ECB

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