Durham ended day one much the better placed of the two sides in this Championship encounter. The visitors ended the day 48-0, just 189 runs behind after bowling Surrey out for 237 earlier in the day.
Under cloudy South London skies Gareth Batty won his first toss back as captain and despite the overhead conditions opted to bat. His decision suggested that he expects the pitch to turn as the game progresses, as indeed did the selection of two spinners and the dropping to the bench of Jade Dernbach and Chris Tremlett. Given that Dernbach was the pick of the bowlers of the first three matches it seems odd that he has not been picked for this fixture.
Rory Burns couldn't repeat his first innings heroics at Lord's as he received a good Callum Thorp delivery early in his innings and edged it behind to leave Surrey 3-1. Jason Roy, who had been promoted up the order to open the innings was the next man to go, popping the same bowler to mid-off. There was some suggestion that the ball may have stopped in the pitch, but in truth it wasn't a great shot. I am convinced that Roy belongs in the middle order, especially given the conditions for batting this morning.
Arun Harinath, retaining his place at number three, and Vikram Solanki put on a 60-run partnership to restore order to proceedings. However Solanki's dismissal, plonking the spin of Ryan Buckley into the grateful hands of Will Smith at short leg, handed the session to Durham as Surrey went to lunch on 103-3. Harinath continued to accumulate with Zander de Bruyn after the break as they put on 48 together before Harinath became Thorp's third victim of the innings.
At 137-4 Durham were well ahead in the game. Although Steven Davies and de Bruyn compiled an 84 run partnership to lift the side to 221 Surrey then conspired to lose their final six wickets for the addition of just 16 runs. The ball was starting to turn but even with that in mind that's a horrendous collapse. In the context of the situation at close of play, a potentially match-losing collapse.
Still the home side had 237 runs on the board, which although less than it should have been, with two spinners in the side and the pitch taking turn already Surrey could be forgiven for not being completely crestfallen at the match situation at that point. Durham's openers came out in the evening and rattled through the first nine overs, scoring at almost four an over.
Unsurprisingly spin was introduced in just the 10th over and Keedy and Batty then bowled in tandem till close. However neither was able to make a breakthrough. At 48-0 Durham will have high hopes of batting themselves into a commanding position on day two, provided the weather holds. Surrey will hope that once they manage to prise the openers from the crease the Durham batting will prove more brittle. Given that Durham's 19 year old off-spinning debutant finished the day with 5-86, all eyes will be on Surrey's pair of spinners from the word go. An improvement on today's disappointing effort is a must.