New-signing Karun Nair impresses on Northants debut at Edgbaston
The Indian batter has signed a short-term deal at Wantage Road, and will play the final three matches of the LV Insurance County Championship Division One campaign.
He was thrown straight into the action against Warwickshire on Sunday, and responded with an excellent innings, top-scoring with 78 from 177 balls as Northants posted 200 for five on a rain-affected day one.
The right-hander has replaced Australian Sam Whiteman as the club’s overseas signing.
Nair and Gay (77 from 149) rescued their side from 24 for two after the early dismissals of Hassan Azad and Luke Procter, the latter a somewhat controversial one as there was some doubt as to whether the ball carried to Sam Hain at slip.
The partnership of 147 turned things round, and although both fell in the final session, along with Rob Keogh, Saif Zaib and Lewis McManus saw things through to the close.
“It was the sort of pitch where you felt you were never quite in,” said Gay.
“It was quite hazy this morning with a lot of rain about so the ball was doing quite a lot.
"To rebuild after losing a couple of early wickets was vital and it was just a pleasure to bat with Karun, though it was disappointing for me to get out when I did because I set myself high standards and wanted to go on and get a hundred.
"Karun looked so calm and composed and nothing fazed him. It took him 21 balls to get off the mark but he just stayed in his bubble, which is important.
“He has probably not experienced much of English conditions and Duke balls so to come in and play like that in his first innings in those conditions against bowlers of the quality of Rushworth and Hannon-Dalby, says a lot about his quality."
Bears pace bowler Olly Hannon-Dalby, who claimed remarkable figures of three for 29 from 19 overs, feels the game is in the balance going into day two.
"It's probably about even-stevens,” he said.
“There was a period when Gay and Nair batted really well and kept us out and we weren't a million miles away but maybe just a smidge off it in the first two sessions.
“But we got our rewards in the last session.
“They didn't score many runs and we picked up three wickets in the session on what is a really good cricket wicket.
“If you are patient with the bat you can get value for your shots and get some runs but, as a bowler, if you bang it in the right area enough times.
“There are wickets to be had.”
Rock- bottom Northants need to win this game to keep alive their survival hopes.
Play resumes at 10.30am on Monday.
Quotes courtesy of Brian Halford at Edgbaston