DURHAM debutant Usman Arshad is targeting a famous five as the home side look to put Surrey to the sword in their County Championship clash
T he 20-year-old marked his First-Class bow with a double-wicket maiden as the hosts reduced the visitors to 97-6 before bad light brought an early end to proceedings on Day Two.
The Bradford-born youngster finished with figures of 2-9 from his three over spell.
And now he would like to follow in the footsteps of team-mate and pal Ryan Buckley, who took 5-86 against the same opponents at the Oval back in May.
He said: “I’m going to try to emulate him (Buckley). He’s a good mate of mine, and he keeps texting me saying I’ve got five, so I’ve got to try to get five as well. I’ll have a go.”
Arshad had earlier made 15 with the bat as the home side posted a first-innings total of 421 – a championship record for Durham against Surrey.
While not feeling any nerves at being told he was to make his First-Class debut, Arshad admitted that wasn’t the case as he got to the crease.
“I wasn’t really nervous at first,” he said. “I got told on Wednesday that I was playing, so I’d had time to build up to it.
“I wasn’t even nervous as I walked out to bat, but as I took my guard the nerves started to kick in.”
It was a major landmark in the young cricketer’s career, but it will perhaps take him some time to reflect on everything that happened, although some of it was starting to sink in at stumps yesterday.
He said: “It was a big occasion, a big day for me, but I tried to take it one step at a time, and see what happened.
“I didn’t think I would get a bowl in the first session. I thought I might get a bowl after tea but obviously I tried to run in and bowl as hard as I could for the three overs that I bowled.
“All the coaches told me to relax, and to just try to hit the top of off stump, so that’s what I did, and luckily it paid off for me yesterday.”
Arshad said that there was no secret to his double success in his second over, and he revealed afterwards that he hadn’t realised that it was a maiden.
“I just moved my marker a bit further back, and ran in a bit harder, and the ball came out and landed in the right place.
“I think it was an inside edge on to the stump (the wicket of Zander de Bruyn his first scalp), but I’m going to take it as clean-bowled
“It was a moment I won’t forget ever. It didn’t really sink at first, and then as I got back to my mark it sunk in that I’ve actually got a First-Class wicket.
“I just tried to bowl the same at Gary Wilson (his second victim) and he managed to nick it, but I didn’t realise it was a maiden so thanks for telling me that.”
Had bad light not stopped play at tea yesterday, Surrey could have been in even bigger trouble at the close.
A superb, career best 8-96 career-from Chris Tremlett may have offered some kind of reminder to the England selectors, who left him out at the Oval, but it wasn’t enough for the visitors.
Support seemed in short supply for Tremlett as Durham worked their way to a commanding total.
The visitors might have felt they would be in for an easy ride with senior bowlers Graham Onions and Calum Thorp out injured, and all-rounder Ben Stokes on England Lions duty.
If they did, they were wrong.
Both Surrey openers were out with the total on five, youngster Jamie Harrison striking first when Rory Burns pushed forward and edged to Phil Mustard, who had earlier made an undefeated 45 with the bat.
Michael Richardson then held a good catch to his right at third slip to get rid of Arun Harinath off Chris Rushworth, and it became 20-3 when Vikram Solanki offered no stroke and was lbw to Harrison.
Harrison and Arshad both took two wickets apiece, while Mark Wood, who bowled Hashim Amla for 14 with his first ball, and Rushworth both claimed one scalp each.