First day back at the office for Surrey and it was a mixed bag, almost the worst possible start with a first ball (second of the day) duck for the returning Michael Brown, a mini recovery in the middle, some none-too-clever shots and some true grit.
All in all, 322 all out is probably below par on this pitch, it looked easy enough to bat on with Davies, RHB and Maynard going great guns, but Surrey are by no means out of the game. Northants ended the day on 12-0, Surrey's failure to pick up a bonus in the four overs they bowled probably means the opposition will be the happier of the two sides.
Chris Adams pulled a bit of a rabbit out of the hat in the morning, naming Chris Schofield alongside Gareth Batty, thereby squeezing out Jason Roy. Unless Roy has an injury that is a bizarre selection. Notwithstanding James Middlebrook's three wickets I can't believe that a two-spinner policy was the way to go in April.
Roy's omission meant a gap at number three, filled today by Zander de Bruyn on debut who scored a brisk 35 before he was clean bowled. After he departed Davies and Hamilton-Brown looked to be getting things back on track, when lunch arrived it was 130-odd for 3. However right after the lunch intermission Hamilton-Brown ran out his vice-captain and there was more rebuilding to do.
Maynard came and went with 32 from just 37 balls, and Schofield didn't hang about either. Gareth Batty was Surrey's saviour again (as he was in Surrey's opening fixture of 2010 with 65 against Derbyshire) and a combination of him, Arafat and Meaker dragged Surrey up to 322 all out.
Its a total that gives Meaker, Arafat and Linley plenty to bowl at, but at the same time there's not much wriggle room, one big partnership and Northants will get parity before we know it. I can't help thinking that Wilson, de Bruyn and Maynard could perhaps have batted out a few more balls and allowed the scoreboard to tick over rather than roar along, but ultimately we're definitely well in the game and its set up nicely for a sunny weekend.