In-form Gay relishing testing himself against county cricket's best attacks

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Emilio Gay is relishing the chance to prove himself against the best bowling that English county cricket has to offer.

The 22-year-old was the standout star of the opening day of Northants’ LV= Insurance County Championship Division One clash with Surrey at Wantage Road.

Gay batted superbly to hit 145 from 189 balls as the County posted 249 for four after being asked to bat by visiting skipper Rory Burns.

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And the former England batter can’t fail to have been impressed by the efforts of his fellow left-handed opener as Gay chalked up a third first-class century of his career - and his first at Northampton.

Emilio Gay scored a brilliant 145 for Northants against Surrey on MondayEmilio Gay scored a brilliant 145 for Northants against Surrey on Monday
Emilio Gay scored a brilliant 145 for Northants against Surrey on Monday

The elegant County man’s effort against the title challengers came less than a week after he hit an impressive 77 against Surrey’s rivals for the division one crown, Hampshire.

The fiercely ambitious Gay has made no secret of the fact he wants to play at the very top level, and making serious runs against two of the best bowling attacks in the country can only strengthen his self-belief and boost his confidence.

"It is a great opportunity as a youngster to come up against these teams,” said Gay, who has now scored 773 runs this summer and moved to second in the list of County run-scorers behind Luke Procter, who has 876.

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“It’s an opportunity to show what I am capable of and going toe-to-toe with the best bowlers in the country.

"I have shown in the last two games that I like the pressure and I like coming up against the top teams.

"The team needs me to occupy the crease as long as possible and I'm glad to score the runs today.

"It is pleasing to get a hundred after getting a few fifties previously.

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“I was really pleased with how positive I was and that is where my best cricket is at, when I'm positive and trying to score runs.

“That's how I want to go about my business.”

Gay found a strong ally at the County Ground in Rob Keogh, with the pair steadying the ship after the quickfire dismissals saw Northants slide from 77 without loss to 94 for three.

Keogh ended the day on 75 not out, with the pair putting on 155 together, and Gay was full of praise for his team-mate.

"It was good batting with Rob,” said the Bedford-born player.

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“He isn't old yet, but with his experience it is nice to bat with him.

“It was an important partnership after losing three quick wickets, it was important we build a partnership to work from as their momentum could have carried on through the middle order and the tail.

“Killing that momentum was key."

Play resumes at 10.30am on Tuesday, with Ricardo Vasconcelos at the crease with Keogh.