Published: 27th March, 2014
A highly competitive opening day of cricket saw the Surrey bowlers work hard with the ball and the batsmen playing patiently in tough afternoon conditions. Essex posted 231-5 in their allocated 60 overs and Surrey were 104-5 in reply with Jason Roy 39* when bad light brought an end to proceedings.
Essex batted first under leaden skies as Chris Tremlett and George Edwards took the new ball and both immediately found movement in the air and off the wicket. Jake Mickleburgh and Tom Westley were made to work hard as run scoring proved difficult.
Tremlett was causing problems and he got his reward for an excellent spell when he trapped Westley LBW for 14 to leave Essex 36-1. And that became 38-2 when Tom Curran had Mickleburgh plumb in front with his third delivery for 14.
Nick Browne and Greg Smith came together and looked to repair the early damage. They moved the hosts past fifty as the Surrey bowlers continued to make life hard for the batsmen with Curran looking particularly dangerous.
Matthew Dunn came into the attack from the River End and had immediate success when he had Smith smartly caught by Gareth Batty at first slip for 17. Browne was joined by Mark Pettini who immediately looked to be positive and Browne played attractively particularly off his legs. They moved Essex to lunch with the scoreboard reading 110-3 but straight after the interval Edwards nipped one back at Pettini who was LBW for 18.
Ben Foakes joined Browne in the middle and they immediately looked comfortable batting together. Browne moved to an excellent fifty from 82 balls but it was Foakes who really caught the eye playing some good shots either side of the wicket.
The partnership moved past fifty but Meaker then made a timely breakthrough when he had Foakes very well caught by Rory Burns for 41 to leave Essex 175-5. Browne continued to play nicely as he moved the score past 200 with a handsome drive off Curran to the cover boundary. At the other end James Foster looked typically busy pulling out the sweep shot to Zafar Ansari with good effect and launching a couple of sixes straight down the ground.
When Essex’s allocated 60 overs came to an end Browne was unbeaten on 86 with Foster 29* and the hosts had posted 231-5. Dominic Sibley and Burns began the Surrey reply and were tested by Tymal Mills and David Masters but both began to settle.
Burns played a couple of handsome shots and Sibley looked comfortable as they gave Surrey a solid start. Burns had reached 17 when he edged a ball from Graham Napier onto his pads but was adjudged LBW to leave Surrey 31-1. And Napier had a second wicket when Sibley was trapped LBW for 13 and Surrey found themselves 36-2.
Napier was causing problems from the Hayes Close End and he left Surrey 42-3 when he bowled Steven Davies off the inside edge for 4. Zafar Ansari was joined by Gary Wilson as the floodlights came on at Chelmsford and in difficult conditions Wilson edged Saj Mahmood and was caught behind for 5.
Ansari illustrated his temperament and technique as the fllodlights took hold and at the other end Jason Roy was watchful. Together they settled the innings in the fading light and the introduction of spin saw Roy using his feet and driving to the long on boundary.
The Surrey pair’s hard work began to pay dividends as they complimented each other perfectly and both seized on a scoring opportunity when it became available. Roy began to stamp his authority on the session and Ansari was cool, calm and collected in everything he did.
The fifty partnership arrived as Surrey moved past 100 but Ansari was then caught outside his crease and was stumped off Smith for 20.And that proved to be the final action of the day as Surrey closed on 104-5 with Roy 39*. Both sides will look to gain more valuable time in the middle tomorrow as the build up to the season continues.