Warwickshire will probably feel they have the edge at the end of an up and down day one, but two wickets late in the day will give Surrey reason for hope overnight.
Chris Adams joined Rory Hamilton-Brown on the sidelines for this game. He has apparently been given leave to recover from the events of June and subsequent weeks. Where someone's health, mental or physical, is concerned then clearly that must take precedence and I hope he recovers quickly. However I do think the timing is slightly odd, coming just after a period when we had a full week without a game. That aside though, the strangest decision is that of the club. To make no reference to it when the squad was announced, or even this morning, leaving the supporters in the dark somewhat is most unwelcome. It can only lead to speculation (including by me, which was perhaps unwise).
The club is now left in a situation with a captain on indefinite leave, a vice captain that never captains and a coach who appears to have been ordered to take time off. Not an ideal situation for what Richard Gould himself refers to as an "arduous" run-in.
On the field, Gareth Batty returned to the side and promptly lost the toss. His opposite number elected to bat first under sunny skies. Chris Jordan was selected ahead of Tim Linley and Jade Dernbach was also left out, presumably for reasons of fitness.
The first session most definitely belonged to Warwickshire. A good opening spell of fast bowling from Stuart Meaker drew no wickets, but did give him figures of 5-3-6-0. At the other end Jon Lewis was expensive, conceding 36 runs from his opening salvo of seven overs. It was announced today that Meaker will play for the England Lions next month, meaning he will likely miss the Championship games with Middlesex and Durham. He will be sorely missed, since a sterling start to the season his new ball partner Lewis has taken just five wickets in five games at a cost of 70 runs apiece.
Warwickshire made it to 130 without loss before Chris Jordan made the breakthrough, clean bowling Varun Chopra. That began a good afternoon session which saw them take four wickets and reduce the opposition to 197-4. The resurgent Troughton and stand-in keeper Johnson put together a fine recovery and it wasn't until the second new ball in the 86th over that Surrey made another breakthrough. Johnson fell to Meaker and the same bowler had Rikki Clarke superbly caught by Rory Burns.
That left Warwickshire 322-6 and with their noses slightly ahead. 43 of the home side's total came in extras, with 22 runs coming from no balls by Jordan and Lewis. Giving away runs like that is criminal. Troughton is still at the crease on 74, with Woakes for company on 12. That very pair put on over 200 together at Taunton last week, so getting one of them early tomorrow is of paramount importance.
The wicket is, by all accounts, dry but only two of six wickets to fall did so to spin. Given that we have two spinners (Batty seems reluctant to bowl Ansari as a third spinner) I hope the wicket will take increasing turn tomorrow, and Jeetan Patel has an off game. We are still very much in this game but early wickets tomorrow morning are an absolute must.