Luke Procter’s telling contribution for Northamptonshire continued as the visitors faced a testing second day against Surrey.
Northamptonshire slid to 154 for 8 after Gus Atkinson and Jamie Overton’s 124-run ninth wicket stand had boosted the home team’s first innings total to 401.
Atkinson’s career-best 66 not out and Overton’s equally robust 59 rapidly took the game away from Northamptonshire after they had begun the second day promisingly with two quick wickets when Surrey resumed on 261 for six.
Sam Curran added only two runs to his overnight 71 before he nibbled at Tom Taylor, operating from around the wicket, and was held at first slip by Ricardo Vasconcelos – the Northamptonshire Captain happily better again after spending most of Day 1 off the field feeling ill.
And then Clark edged a Ben Sanderson leg-cutter to keeper Lewis McManus to go for 2, leaving Surrey 271 for eight. That, however, was as good as it got for Northamptonshire as Atkinson and Overton counter-attacked brilliantly in what became a record ninth wicket partnership for Surrey against Northamptonshire.
Overton posted a half-century and Atkinson completed his own excellent maiden first-class fifty, hitting 12 fours overall in a 98-ball effort which underlined his all-rounder claims.
Overton’s powerful innings ended, unexpectedly, with an edged forward defensive push at Rob Keogh’s off spin who also accounted for Worrall in the same over to end the innings on the stroke of lunch.
The Australian paceman signed in the winter after four seasons at Gloucestershire, then produced a magnificent eight-over new ball burst in which he found the edge of Vasconcelos on 14. By then Clark had already sent back both openers however, jagging one into Will Young’s pads to have the New Zealand Test batsman leg-before for 2 and then seeing Emilio Gay clip straight to Curran at square leg on 12.
Vasconcelos’s dismissal left Northamptonshire staggering at 28 for three and by tea they were 87 for five after Colin de Grandhomme had Keogh caught behind for 16 and Jamie Overton’s pace accounted for Saif Zaib, also edging to keeper Ben Foakes on 2.
Luke Procter was the one top-order player to find a way to be productive against the Surrey seamers. Procter raised a second half-century of the season, following his century last week at Chelmsford, and looked solid throughout as he rotated partners at the other end.
He found support from McManus before the keeper-batsman chipped a ball that jumped out of the punch to extra cover on 23. Procter, after reaching a 120-ball fifty with seven fours, battled gamely to finish the day on a brave unbeaten 61.
De Grandhomme returned to have Taylor taken low down at second slip for 2, edging an away-swinger, before Matt Kelly stayed a while for 17 until he edged Worrall to Foakes from what proved to be the final ball of the day.
Surrey 401 (Procter 3/68, Sanderson 3/72)
Northamptonshire 154/8 (Procter 61*, McManus 23)