Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Glos relinquish initiative

DAY 1 Close: Glos 321-8 (Ali 90, Marshall 76, Gidman 69; Nel 19-6-46-3, Dernbach 16-0-3-73)

A dramatic middle order collapse saw Gloucestershire relinquish their strong early position on the opening day of the season.

At 247-2, the shire were well placed to post a big first innings total, but two wickets from James Benning's steady seam bowling removed Kadir Ali (90) and captain Alex Gidman (69) to spark a collapse that saw seven wickets fall for just 37 runs.

Earlier in the day, a second wicket stand of 126 saw Hamish Marshall make 76 before he played on, but a 121 stand between Ali and Gidman steered the glos into a strong position. But James Benning had Ali LBW and Gidman pushed at a ball in the same over and was caught behind.

Jade Dernbach then returned with the second new ball to claim three further wickets and put Surrey on top after day one.

The shire had a great opportunity to push for a big score and take control of the match, however, a failure of batsman to go on and make big scores has seen the initiative lost. In addition, no-one was able to take control in the lower order to produce a rebuilding act.

Jon Lewis provided good resistance late in the day and his 27 off 24 balls could edge the shire up to a fourth batting point.

While moderate scoreboard pressure does exist, the flat Surrey pitch warrants a higher par score. Gloucestershire will probably be in the field before lunch tomorrow and favourable bowling conditions will need to be exploited if the shire are to regain the initiative in this match.

Official report: www.gloscricket.co.uk

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