Taylor delighted and relieved as he claims first five-wicket haul for Northants

Tom Taylor claimed five for 41 for Northants against SurreyTom Taylor claimed five for 41 for Northants against Surrey
Tom Taylor claimed five for 41 for Northants against Surrey
Tom Taylor was delighted to claim his first five-wicket haul for Northants on the opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship against Surrey - but admitted he believes it should have happened a lot sooner!

Taylor, who joined the County from Leicestershire at the back end of last season, bowled superbly to take five for 41 from 19 overs as Surrey were bowled out for 252 at Wantage Road.

That was a good effort from the makeshift visitors, who travelled to Northampton deprived of the services of a host of first choice players for various reasons, including England calls, injuries and Covid-19 infections.

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Early on, Northants had them on the ropes at 15 for three and 61 for four, but 21-year-old Jamie Smith led a stirring fightback with a stunning 123 that included 17 fours and a six.

The County ended the day on seven without loss in their first innings.

So there will be frustration in the Northants camp that they allowed Surrey to battle back into the game, but for Taylor it was a day to celebrate as he claimed that first five-wicket haul for the Tudor Rose.

"Thankfully today was the day for me," said Taylor, who now has 23 first-class wickets this season, at an average of 28.78.

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"I've felt like it has been coming all year, so happy to get a first five-fer for Northamptonshire.

"I think 100 per cent I've bowled better this season than my figures suggest.

"In terms of chances created I think I'm right up there. We've got a little list of chances created in there and I'm right up the top.

"It would have been nice to see the results on my figures but it's a team game.

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"We are a bit light on bowlers with a few creaky bodies, so it's nice Ben (Sanderson) and I have got a bit of reward on what's a good pitch.

"It did a little bit with the new ball, but it has been sunny all day and the pitch is a good one, one of the best we've had."

Sanderson was as reliable as ever as he claimed four for 32 from 19.3 overs and Simon Kerrigan claimed one for 59 from 23 overs, but it was a bit of a struggle for the rest.

James Sales, on his first-class debut for the club having been recalled from England Under-19 duty, bowled 10 overs for 39 runs.

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Surrey batting star Smith admitted he had a bit of a dream day, and stated: "I don't think I've ever batted much better than that.

"I was a bit more responsible than normal. The plan was to be tight in defence, so it was slightly different to my normal style of play. A few of my dismissals this year having shown the tightest of defences.

"I've always been quite relaxed and chilled out when I've batted and I think today was no different.

"Fair play to Northants they were superb with the new ball and put us in a lot of trouble, but I saw it as a win/win situation. If I got out we could be 20-5, so I felt we could only gain in that situation so looked at it as a positive.

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"Will Jacks was superb today in one of his first red ball knocks for a while. It was about batting time and trying to put away the loose balls."

Play will resume at the County Ground at 10.30am on Monday.