Leeds-Bradford University, playing their first game as a first class cricket side, came within a whisker of overcoming county opposition for the first time today, losing by just two runs.
Tim Linley bounded into form at precisely the right moment, doing exactly what he did on countless occasions last season, stepping up when the team needed him most. He finished the innings with 5-45 and almost 40 overs under his belt in the game. Wickets at the right time and plenty of miles in his legs might just give him the edge over Stuart Meaker for Thursday's game.
Squeaking a win over a side with a combined grand total of one first class appearance before this game might not sound like ideal preparation, but that doesn't tell the whole story. This was a Surrey bowling lineup, Linley and Jordan aside, who had little experience or form, and similarly the batting was in a far from perfect place.
The good news, clearly, is the wickets for Linley and some runs for Tom Maynard and Rory Burns. The bad news is that no one has yet made and unanswerable case to be Jacques Rudolph's opening partner.
Chris Adams now has just a couple of days to finalise his XI to step out on Thursday morning to face Sussex. There are plenty of reasons to be confident with a strong looking seam attack and decades of experience still to come back into the side. I can't help feeling that the openers issue will be playing on his mind above all though, the last thing the coach will want in our first game of the season is for a batsman to be back in the hutch in the first couple of overs.
Although the pre-season wasn't without its hitches - at no point did we really seem completely convincing and at various points the batting in particular looked shaky. However, it was a good opportunity for the bowlers to get their games in order. Now the attention turns to the real deal, we're back in Division One and a good start will go a long way to keeping us there.
The Steve Smith infographic
1 day ago