Surrey waste early opportunity
Hampshire 153 for 2 (Adams 56*) v Surrey
To say that not much has gone to script for Surrey over the last few years is a bit like suggesting England were a touch off their game in Australia last winter. But while the national side might start to put matters right this summer, there is a feeling Surrey may have to experience a few more lows before the good times roll again.
Thanks to morning rain delaying start of play by four hours and then returning for a time after tea to lop off another eight overs, this match is still in its early stages. Already, though, the visitors are some way short of where they hoped to be after Graeme Smith won what looked a useful toss and understandably chose to bowl.
Wickets were already tumbling elsewhere in the land and Smith hoped that a green-tinged pitch, cloud cover and his potent-looking pace attack would combine to prove a real handful for second division pace-setters Hampshire. Instead, the hosts built a promising platform with first Michael Carberry and then Jimmy Adams to the fore.
Carberry's days as an England opener may have ended - that seems to be the widely held belief, anyway - following his small part in England's Ashes humiliation, but the 33-year-old will be cherished by Hampshire supporters for as long as wants to play.
Here, he did most of the early scoring while fellow left-hander Adams took stock at the other end. And, probably to Smith's dismay, there were a few too many opportunities for Carberry to execute his shots after Jade Dernbach and Stuart Meaker had initially failed to make either opener play quite enough against the new ball.
Even with Chris Tremlett unable to face his old county because of a back injury, Surrey had enough firepower in the locker with Matt Dunn, who took a five-for against Essex last weekend, coming on first change. But this time he released the pressure valve, instead of tightening it, and Hampshire were up and away.
Dunn, strongly built, is a fine prospect - one of eight members of this team to have come through Surrey's academy. But the 21-year-old needs to be nurtured - and anyone expecting him, or any member of Surrey's crop of talented juniors, to be a match-winner, game in and game out, should prepare for a nasty shock.
Both Dunn and Tom Curran - even younger, at 19 - were deposited for sixes by Carberry, who pulled and cut them with the greatest of glee as Hampshire, far from being put into difficulty, reached 66 at four an over.
Curran it was, though, who stopped Carberry in his tracks by finding an outside edge that Smith snaffled low at first slip despite the chance brushing the glove of diving keeper Steven Davies on its way to Surrey's captain.
A second wicket should have come Curran's way with Liam Dawson being dropped by Davies - two hands away to his right. That missed opportunity mattered little with Dawson being pinned lbw by Meaker without addition but Hampshire were in no mood to surrender their early advantage.
Having already passed 50 twice in six innings this season, Adams made it three in seven following the evening interruption and walked away a happy captain, unbeaten on 56 out of 153 for 2. Smith, on the other hand, wandered off with a bit to ponder.
David Lloyd is a former chief cricket correspondent of PA and the Evening Standard