Ojha impresses as Surrey dominate
Surrey 122 for 3 v Leicestershire 167
An impressive innings of 70 from Rob Taylor on his County Championship debut was not enough to prevent a youthful Leicestershire side crumbling to 167 all out against Surrey at Grace Road.
The 21-year-old all-rounder, who hit an unbeaten century for Loughborough University against Leicestershire earlier in the season, was the only batsman to offer any resistance and by the end of the first day Surrey had taken control of the game. The visitors closed on 122 for 2 - trailing by just 45 runs.
Leicestershire's performance illustrated why they have won only one Championship game all season and are 49 points adrift at the bottom of Division Two. The next highest scorer after Taylor was opener Will Jefferson with 14, while the extras column added 24 runs to the home side's meagre total. With James Taylor on England one-day international duty and Andrew McDonald, Josh Cobb and Wayne White all rested ahead of Saturday's T20 semi-final against Lancashire at Edgbaston, Leicestershire also gave a debut to 22-year-old Ned Eckersley and brought in 17-year-old Shiv Thakor for his second Championship game.
Surrey also included a debutant with India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha named in the side after signing as a second overseas player 24 hours earlier. In overcast conditions, Leicestershire batted after winning the toss but lost five wickets before lunch as Surrey's seam bowlers ripped through their top order.
Tim Linley picked up the first three wickets with Matt Boyce (one) caught behind, Jefferson bowled off an inside edge and Greg Smith (nine) caught at third slip. Thakor (10) was next to go, also edging to slip off a good delivery from Zander de Bruyn. That brought together the two debutants, Eckersley and Taylor, and they shared a promising stand of 39. But shortly before lunch Eckersley (11) top-edged a short-pitch delivery from the pacy Stuart Meaker and was caught at deep mid-wicket.
After that it became a one-man show for Leicestershire as the left-handed Taylor showed his quality and potential with some good-looking attacking shots and solid defence. An on drive to the ropes off De Bruyn brought up his fifty off 79 balls but before long he provided Ojha with his first Championship wicket, skying a catch to De Bruyn as he tried to sweep having made 70 off 130 balls with eight fours.
Ojha then had Nathan Buck caught off bat and pad for nine to finish with 2 for 19, while Linley claimed 3 for 22. Rory Hamilton-Brown showed Surrey's intent in response, hitting a six in Buck's first over before edging the same bowler to wicketkeeper Paul Dixey for 17.
Steve Davies and Mark Ramprakash, dealing mainly in boundaries, shared a stand of 60 that was brought to an end when Thakor had Ramprakash lbw for 22 to claim his maiden first-class wicket. Davies reached his fifty off 75 balls with nine fours and was still there at the close on 54 alongside De Bruyn (19 not out) with Surrey 122 for two - 82 of the runs having come from boundaries.