Dismissed for 111 at Derbyshire yesterday, Surrey managed to go two better today, dismissed for 109 at Trent Bridge. These are two abject batting cards for sure, but is it already time to panic?
No, I don't think so. Without question its not an ideal pre-season, remember the average first innings batting performance against Middlesex last week as well, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We are barely out of March, always a happy hunting time for bowlers and although its not far off, we haven't fielded our strongest sides. De Bruyn, Arafat, Davies, Tremlett, Dernbach and of course the injured Ramprakash have all been absent. Lets not also forget that Notts were last year's County Champions, Franks, Fletcher and Shreck, plus the young Carter is no mean bowling attack early in the season.
It is slightly worrying that Michael Brown doesn't seem in the best of form, but the man has been out of the game for a year, I'll let him find his feet before casting him on the heap! The opening issue that I covered last week remains an issue since Wilson hasn't cemented his place, but as I said then and repeat now, Adams is better off sticking with a plan and allowing the partnership to grow rather than chopping and changing.
Combating the moving ball early season in England is phenomenally tough. Players like Wilson, Maynard, RHB and so on are well known as players who like to play shots. For that reason Maynard's unbeaten half century today is particularly encouraging and he might just edge out Tom Lancefield for Friday's game with Northants now. Jason Roy was also in the runs last week so its not all bad news.
Our bowling today has also been less than penetrative, as I write Chris Jordan has the only wicket as Notts rack up 224-1. However as talented an attack as Dunn, Edwards, Linley, Jordan and Co. might be, the addition of the aforementioned Dernbach and Arafat changes things significantly. And its no bad thing for Chris Jordan, also absent for the last 12 months, to get some miles in his legs.
I just don't buy that we'll collapse or fail to pick up wickets like today against Notts when the Championship starts in anger on Friday. Both batting and bowling will be stronger and you have to hope that scoring runs at the Oval in the (forecast) sunshine might be a touch easier than in the gloom of Nottingham and Derby.