As Surrey took advantage of Nottinghamshire’s severely depleted bowling capabilities to establish a strong foundation in their LV= Insurance County Championship match at the Kia Oval, Jordan Clark scored his maiden century of the year.
The all-rounder scored 107 runs and added 97 runs to a seventh-wicket stand with Sean Abbott to lead the home team to 339 for eight at the end of play after they had stumbled to 70 for four after being put in.
After losing their seamer Jake Ball to injury in the opening session, Nottinghamshire’s woes were made worse when Brett Hutton, another opening bowler, left the field due to cramps. At one point in the day, Hutton, who had previously increased his season’s total of wickets to 36—the joint-second-highest in Division One—tried to start bowling but pulled up again after only one delivery.
After Steven Mullaney was forced to withdraw due to a side injury, Haseeb Hameed assumed the leadership duties for Nottinghamshire. He won the toss and elected to bowl, which was immediately deemed the right choice when Hutton caught Rory Burns lbw for a second-ball duck.
The visitors struggled despite switching between their trio of frontline seamers, a stock that was further constrained when Ball exited the field after five mostly unsuccessful overs, while Hutton also launched a few deliveries that fizzed just past Tom Latham’s outside edge.
Latham and Dom Sibley seized the opportunity, with the latter clipping Lyndon James off his pads for four to raise the 50 partnership. At 66 for one with the lunch break approaching, Surrey appeared to be in a good position.
When Hutton returned to the Vauxhall End and got the ball to seam and take Sibley’s outside edge, the scenario quickly shifted as three wickets fell in just under three overs.
Taking the second of his five catches in the following over, wicketkeeper Tom Moores sprung deftly to his left to dismiss Jamie Smith for a duck off James, who bowled fiercely and also had Latham leg before sliding over his stumps.
When Will Jacks and Ben Foakes quickly created a partnership of 60 for the fourth wicket in the afternoon session, they launched a counterattack, sending both Hutton and Dane Paterson to the mid-off boundary.But another clever bowling switch paid off when Paterson started a new stint and convinced Jacks to charge his first delivery, which led to a thick edge that slammed into Moores’ glove.
While appearing strong off the back foot, Jordan Clark gladly collected the baton and quickly passed his partner. He then crashed Paterson for two cover boundaries before chopsticking him through point for four more.
However, Nottinghamshire was forced to give leg-spinner Calvin Harrison a longer period after Hutton’s mid-over exit shortly before tea, and Matthew Montgomery also turned his arm over.
Soon after tea, Jordan Clark pushed a single to reach his 50. However, Foakes feathered Paterson’s next ball behind and fell four short of that milestone. Despite this, Abbott proved to be a more than capable ally.
Midway through the previous session, Hutton returned to the attack, but Abbott’s first delivery was smashed to the fence before the bowler pulled up in the middle of his second delivery and trudged back to the dressing room.
When James caught him behind off an inside edge shortly after, Jordan Clark had advanced to his third first-class hundred of his career and had done it from 133 balls after coming down the track to blast Montgomery to the mid-on boundary.
After hitting James for consecutive fours to reach 48, Abbott appeared to be on his way to a half-century. However, he sliced the following ball to second slip, giving the Nottinghamshire all-rounder his fourth wicket of the day.