Surrey edge see-saw day
Surrey 13 for 0 v Gloucestershire 286
Will Gidman and Yasir Arafat played starring roles for their respective teams on a fiercely-contested opening day of the County Championship match between Gloucestershire and Surrey at Cheltenham.
Gidman rescued the home side from a precarious 117 for 5 after winning the toss by continuing his fine season with 85, sharing half-century stands with Richard Coughtrie (15) and Jack Taylor (39) as the home side reached 286 all out.
But Arafat ensured Surrey were also rewarded for their labours by taking 5 for 86 from 24 overs, testing all the batsman with swing and pace off the pitch. Tim Linley also bowled well without much luck to return four for 59. The visitors were left with an awkward three overs to bat at the end of the day and closed on 13 without loss.
It was a day of see-sawing fortunes. Gloucestershire began well as Hamish Marshall and Chris Dent put on 41 before Marshall edged Arafat to Gareth Batty at first slip. Dent departed for 12 with no further addition, also pouched by Batty at first slip off Jade Dernbach (1 for 51), but Chris Taylor then hit 17 in helping Kane Williamson take the total to 102.
Their stand ended when Chris Taylor, who had survived a couple of chances, edged a back-foot defensive shot off Arafat to wicketkeeper Steve Davies, who also accounted for Alex Gidman (13) off the same bowler to make it 116 for four.
When Williamson, on 39, gave Batty his third slip catch, opening the face against Arafat, Surrey were right on top. But Will Gidman has been getting runs and wickets in his first season after moving from Durham and the left-hander again proved resolute.
Coughtrie was content to play a support role as the pair took the score to 176 and was furious with himself for cutting a short ball from Linley straight to Jason Roy at backward point. Jack Taylor then played positively, hitting seven crisp boundaries as Gloucestershire progressed from 176 for 6 at tea.
He fell to the first over with the second new ball, caught behind off Arafat in similar fashion to namesake Chris earlier. Will Gidman reached his fifty off 117 balls, with seven fours, and would surely have made a century had he not run out of partners. Jon Lewis scored nine in a stand of 36 before being caught at point off Linley, who had beaten the bat on numerous occasions through the day.
Ian Saxelby was quickly caught at second slip and Gidman was forced to hit out, sacrificing his wicket to a boundary catch off Linley with last man David Payne at the other end. He had faced 160 balls and hit 13 fours.