Kirby takes five as wickets tumble in Abu Dhabi
Nottinghamshire 86 for 8 (Kirby 5-29) trail MCC 218 (Malan 71, Patel 4-42, Fletcher 4-68) by 132 runs
The first day of the English domestic season may have been staged in the UAE desert of Abu Dhabi but wickets tumbled as though it was an early-spring green-top back home. Nottinghamshire, the county champions, crumbled to 86 for 8 having dismissed MCC for 218 which included a second-ball duck for Rahul Dravid.
However, Dravid wasn't the only batsman who failed to score as four Nottinghamshire players departed without a run. Steve Kirby, who has moved to Somerset, took 5 for 29 while Hamid Hassan, the Afghanistan paceman and former MCC Young Cricketer, claimed a couple.
The match marks a curious start to the English season although the major purpose is further trials of a pink cricket ball with MCC continuing their experiments with a view to day/night Test cricket. The bowlers certainly enjoyed the change in colour along with a surface that didn't live up to its reputation as a batting paradise.
Kirby, who played in last year's equivalent fixture, made the first breakthrough for MCC after they were dismissed by tea when he removed Mark Wagh - who almost walked for his lbw - as they soon made their own total appear very significant. Toby Roland-Jones then trapped Neil Edwards lbw before the real action began against the middle order.
Alex Hales and Ali Brown both fell to Kirby and Hassan made an impression when he removed Chris Read and Steven Mullaney for ducks to leave Nottinghamshire 37 for 6. Samit Patel, who earlier took four wickets, offered momentary resistance and struck some sweet boundaries but couldn't survive the session when he became Kirby's fourth scalp. Kirby wasn't finished, either, as he completed his five-wicket haul by bowling debutant Brett Hutton. In the County Championship a pitch inspector would have been on his way.
The wickets started to fall early as Paul Franks claimed the first of the season with his second delivery when Chris Rogers edged to slip then Luke Fletcher removed Stephen Peters with a ball that lifted. When Dravid fell lbw to the impressive Fletcher it was 17 for 3 but Dawid Malan and Stephen Moore added 51 until Fletcher had Moore caught behind.
Malan was the mainstay of MCC's effort and his 71 included 13 boundaries. He added 57 with Steven Davies to steady the innings until lunch but the wicketkeeper fell on the resumption when he became Patel's first wicket. Patel's display of accurate left-arm spin showed why the England management are so exasperated that he can't reach the desired fitness levels to be considered for international duty.
Fletcher continued his good work to have Mohammad Nabi caught behind but the batsman lingered for a long time at the crease and had to be told to leave again by the umpire which didn't do the player any favours. Malan was trapped lbw by Patel but the lower order provided some resistance to bolster the total.
The most entertaining period of the innings came when Hassan entered at No. 11 and began by cracking his first three deliveries from Patel for four. He continued in a similar vein to reach 26 off 14 deliveries before giving Patel his fourth wicket to end a last-wicket stand of 38 with Roland-Jones.