Surrey to learn lessons from Nottinghamshire defeat

Surrey were aiming to make a splash in their opening match of the County Championship Division One following their promotion last season.

The Oval-based club stormed to the Division Two title in the last campaign, winning eight of their 16 contests, and finished 10 points ahead of second-place Lancashire.

Former Derbyshire and Durham batsman Michael Di Venuto arrived as the club’s new head coach following the departure of Graham Ford.

Ravi Rampaul, Kumar Sangakkara and Mark Footitt arrived over the course of the winter to bolster the squad, while Australian opener Aaron Finch was added as cover for the veteran Sri Lankan batsman.

Surrey were tipped by many pundits before the start of the campaign to make a strong challenge for the Division One title, although the club have failed to lift the trophy since 2002.

However, their season got off to the worst possible start with a three-wicket defeat at the hands of Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Rampaul made a strong early impression by taking five wickets in Notts’ first innings, but he was powerless to stop the Midlands outfit from racking up 446 runs.

Gareth Batty’s men fell victim to the vaunted Nottinghamshire bowling attack in their first innings and were forced to follow-on before posting 389 thanks to a fine century from Arun Harinath in their second innings to leave the home side 169 runs to win.

Notts stemmed off a valiant attempt by the Surrey seamers to snatch the win, securing a narrow victory, despite the best efforts of Tom Curran and Rampaul.

However, there were plenty of positives to build on for Di Venuto and his team for the rest of the campaign, none more so than rising star Curran.

The 21-year-old took seven wickets at Trent Bridge to bolster his reputation as one of the finest young bowlers in the country, sending his average to an impressive 23.65.

Curran has already featured for the England Lions and, due to injury concerns over Steven Finn and Mark Wood, his time could come sooner rather than later with the senior team.

Despite their below-par performance at Trent Bridge, Surrey boast one of the best batting line-ups in the division, featuring two England hopefuls in Jason Roy and Rory Burns.

Roy has already displayed his quality in limited-overs cricket with a number of good displays at the ICC World Twenty20, but he will have one eye on dislodging Alex Hales as England’s Test opener, while Burns will share a similar ambition.

Zafar Ansari saw his dreams of representing England over the winter dashed after he dislocated his thumb just hours after receiving the call up. The 24-year-old has talent with both bat and ball and will be eager to put pressure on Moeen Ali with strong performances on the county circuit.

Surrey have a good mix of veterans and young players to launch a serious claim to the Division One title, and the Bet365 County Championship odds as of 18th April place them at 11/1 to secure the crown.

They will have learned a lot from their defeat at the hands of Notts, and will be determined to showcase their quality in the weeks to come.