Roy entertains to help Surrey heal
Nottinghamshire 328 (Read 98, Voges 59, Meaker 5-78) drew with Surrey 252 for 6 (Roy 83, Burns 79)
It has been such a dreadful year for Surrey that were they to be relegated after only one season back in the First Division of the LV= County Championship they would only attract sympathy. Yet there were signs in this truncated contest that a healing process is under way.
After two and a half days lost to the weather, and no agreement on a way to salvage a positive result, there were some passages of play that lacked a little energy although others that fizzed, particularly when Jason Roy was batting. In the end, both sides benefited from the points gained - in Nottinghamshire's case keeping Warwickshire's lead at the top to a single point - but perhaps for Surrey the draw will be of greater significance.
They could have gambled with the terms Nottinghamshire put their way but reasoned that to avoid defeat to one of the title contenders was a safer way to bolster morale than to take risks in pursuit of a win. Given their circumstances, you could not really criticise them for that.
In fact, the points Surrey gained take them out of the bottom two again ahead of Worcestershire and Durham and put them only a point behind Lancashire, who have played a game more. What's more, a brilliant 83 from Roy off only 50 balls, with five sixes, confirmed that their spirit of adventure is not dead, while a composed 79 from 20-year-old opener Rory Burns offered hope of good days ahead.
It was only the third time Burns, a left-handed batsman who also keeps wicket, had faced county opposition in a first-class match. Against Lancashire at Guildford last week, he was bowled first ball by Glen Chapple but emerged here unfazed, and though he was badly dropped on 54 after completing his maiden Championship half-century, he otherwise played with a maturity beyond his years.
He and his similarly youthful partner, the 21-year-old Zafar Ansari, denied Nottinghamshire a wicket for an hour and three quarters before Andy Carter took out the latter's off stump. It was an impressive effort considering that the senior members of the Nottinghamshire attack - namely Andre Adams, Ben Phillips and Samit Patel - have more than 1,000 first-class wickets between them.
Burns had his bit of luck facing Harry Gurney, the left-arm seamer, when an attempted pull went straight up in the air. It seemed an age coming down, perhaps too long for Patel, who jogged in from short midwicket but somehow left the ball slip through his hands.
"I was pretty happy with the innings," Burns said afterwards. "It was a challenge against good bowlers. They are a good quality attack, that's why they are challenging at the top of the table. They give you a lot to think about but I tried to play at my tempo and did not feel in any trouble until I was out, really.
"Adams is always asking questions but I was pleased with the way I played him and until he did me with the slower ball I was comfortable."
Roy, generously entertaining the crowd on his birthday, played at an altogether different tempo, rarely passing up an opportunity to attack. He hit five sixes, mixing wonderful timing with the bold audacity that has become his signature. The innings ended with consecutive reverse sweeps for six off Patel's left-arm spin before, going down the pitch, he missed the next ball and was stumped.
The match ended after Stuart Meaker had added a lusty 29 to the five-wicket haul he had completed earlier, giving Surrey a second batting point. Four wickets for Adams, beginning with the slow yorker that foxed Burns, raised his tally for the season to 50 and gave Nottinghamshire their second bowling point.
Earlier in the day, the unfinished partnership between Chris Read and Adam Voges grew to 145 before Voges was leg before to a nip-backer from Jon Lewis. Read looked set for his 22nd career century until he was bowled by a full, quick delivery from Meaker, by which time a stand of 75 with Ben Phillips (47) had claimed a third batting point.
Read handed the wicketkeeping gloves to Riki Wessels for the last hour after taking a blow on his left index finger but the injury is not serious.