Storybook day for Durham debutant
Durham 48 for 0 trail Surrey 237 (de Bruyn 57, Harinath 53, Davies 52, Buckley 5-86) by 189 runs
Ryan Buckley, Durham's 19-year-old offspinner, had an eventful 12 hours leading up to his first-class debut, in which he took 5 for 86. Having travelled down by train from Nottingham on Thursday night, after finishing a second XI match, Buckley went to the wrong hotel in London. Even when he went to right place, he arrived to find no room; instead, he had to make do with a sofa bed in with the Durham bowling coach, Alan Walker.
"It wasn't the best night's sleep," said a tired yet buoyant Buckley, who replaced the injured Gareth Breese. "I found out yesterday when I arrived that I was playing so I was nervous, but Alan snores as well so I wasn't going to get much anyway if I'm honest."
The nerves were evident. To watch his first spell alone was to know you were watching someone well aware he was up against an established player in Vikram Solanki. One can only imagine the number of spinners that he has milked in his time and there was every indication that Buckley would be added to that list. The third ball of his opening over was rather loosely played through third man - Buckley giving it the old mini-jump and yelp - but any sense of awkwardness on the senior player's part was dismissed with a pleasant checked drive through extra cover.
But then Solanki went - nonchalantly guiding a ball into the cupped hands of short-leg. From then on, each over from Buckley was slightly longer than the last, as he surveyed the pitch and his field with a bit more purpose than routine. If his selection this morning could be attributed as much to Breese's injury as Paul Collingwood's belief in him, then the support of his captain in the field would have allowed him to place more emphasis on the latter. For starters, Buckley had bowled more than 20 overs before tea, while the more senior spinner, Scott Borthwick, was not given a go until the 64th over. Up until that point, Borthwick had only bowled three first-innings overs, despite playing every game in the season so far.
In the field, two slips and a short-leg were operational, even during a period where Zander de Bruyn and Steven Davies looked like they could hit fours at will. Buckley gave Davies a reprieve on 1 when he shelled the most routine of return catches, but he kept plugging away even as he nervously watched the Surrey wicketkeeper compiled a half-century, most of which came off his bowling.
However, when Davies played around a low full toss from Borthwick, the floodgates opened and Buckley was in. In a destructive spell after tea, he took the last four Surrey wickets in 16 balls, giving away only four runs. It began with Gary Wilson, who could only watch on as a full ball spat up onto his glove and into the hands of Dale Benkenstein at short cover. De Bruyn followed with a dismissal than Buckley could only laugh about at the close; a full-blooded sweep shot than cannoned off Will Smith at short midwicket and looped, almost in slow motion, into the webbed palms of Phil Mustard.
Tim Linley followed, caught again at short cover, as he unluckily defended into his own foot before Buckley fired a quicker, fuller ball into the pads of Keedy to trap the No. 11 in front.
Surrey's collapse from 221 for 5 to 237 all out would have smarted, especially coming the day after their captain, Graeme Smith, returned home for further treatment on a troublesome ankle problem, and they might have further issues to deal with.
At stumps, the ECB pitch liaison officer was out to survey the track, seemingly suspicious of how a young upstart, who didn't take a wicket in the solitary five second XI overs he bowled last year, managed to wreak such havoc. Surrey will face a penalty should anything comes of the inspection but given England's poor showings against the turning ball in recent times, pitches conducive to spin are not in the ECB's worst interest.
But the day belonged to a young spinner from Darlington who has already bowled more than 70 overs this week and, by the end of this match, will have played eight days straight. He earned all of his wickets, from first to fifth; de Bruyn was unlucky, Wilson was tricked, a toe would do for Linley and plum was Keedy.
Ryan Buckley is no more a secret call. And who knows, he may even get his own room tonight.