On an otherwise uneventful day for recent exclusions from the national team, Ben Foakes reminded the England selectors of his superb glovework in Division One leaders Surrey’s match against Nottinghamshire.
Despite this amazing feat of agility, the visitors reached 399 all out, a lead of 44 on the first innings, with the help of 50 from all-rounder Lyndon James. Sean Abbott was the best of the home bowlers with 3 for 85. Notts’ centurion of day two Will Young was removed by Foakes for a magnificent 145.
When Surrey batted once more, Rory Burns scored two runs, but Dominic Sibley—another former England opener who was benched during the Ben Stokes/Brendon McCullum era—showed flashes of smoothness that belied his reputation as being too stodgy for “Bazball.”
The right-hander, who was dropped on 75, finally reached 83 while putting on a second wicket partnership of 141 with Tom Latham, who scored 60. However, the loss of late wickets left the hosts 200 for 5, leading by 156 runs.
Brett Hutton, Tuesday’s nightwatchman, who smashed five boundaries before edging Jordan Clark to Tom Latham at second slip, provided the majority of Nottinghamshire’s early batting energy.
When the hosts attempted an England-style short ball barrage, courtesy of Jamie Overton, the New Zealand Test batsman drove him ferociously for four before sending the following delivery hurtling over the ropes. Young had resumed at 106 not out.
It would take something unique to get rid of him, and Foakes was the one who gave them the inspiration.
Foakes has been ignored because Jonny Bairstow’s aggressive hitting is deemed to be more important than his glovework. Bairstow’s struggles behind the wickets in the Ashes series to date, despite his retention for the fourth Test next week, have increased calls for Foakes to come back.
Young chose to reverse-sweep his first ball with Will Jacks in the attack. With Young’s bat in his eyeline, Foakes held on to the top-edge wonderfully and had the foresight to stump the Kiwi, who’d overbalanced playing the shot, just in case his brilliant catch had gone unnoticed. As a result, a hitter was sent on his way by both umpires at the same time, which was unusual.
In Surrey’s first dig, James added a half-century to his career-best 6 for 74, sharing a stand of 64 with Calvin Harrison.
Surrey failed to collect maximum batting points for the first time this season when Abbott dismissed James and Dane Paterson in consecutive balls as the visitors finished one short of 400. Latham Finished With Five CatchesIn the innings.
Burns was lbw for the second time in the match, the ball set to rip out middle stump if the ‘Brown Hatters’ skipper’s pad hadn’t intervened.
Notts’ attack, without Ball, labored for a while after that, as Sibley and Latham appeared unconcerned.
Sibley, who is considered an onside player, hit three off/cover drives to reach 33 in his first 35 balls. Latham was more reserved, but the pair quickly reached the century mark after tea before Sibley won the sprint to 50, boosted by eight fours. Latham quickly followed, thanks to six boundaries.
Latham was strangled down the legside by Paterson, and Jamie Smith missed out with the hosts leading by exactly 100 points.
Sibley was dropped at slip when 75 but didn’t take advantage, slog-sweeping Matthew Montgomery into the hands of Paterson on the deep mid-wicket fence, and Foakes was caught behind in the dying throes of the day, handing Nottinghamshire the momentum heading into day four.