SURREY V NOTTINGHAMSHIRE at the Kia Oval (SSCC1), 19-22 JUNE 2016

Seventh meets ninth and one suspects Samit Patel will be a key man for the visitors over the next four days. The former England all-rounder is averaging 45.00 with the bat and 29.71 in this season's County Championship. Patel likes playing Surrey, as well. Over the years, he has scored 593 first-class runs against them at an average of 65.88.

The inclusion of Matthew Carter in the Notts squad is an interesting one. In his only first-class appearance to date, against Somerset at Taunton last summer, the 20-year-old off-spinner (the younger brother of Andy Carter, who is now at Derbyshire) bagged a match aggregate 10-195.

However, the absence of Chris Read (broken hand) is a massive boost for the Oval outfit. Skipper Read is Nottinghamshire's heart and soul. Since the start of 2014, Read, whom many feel should have played a lot more for England, has scored 2,306 first-class runs at an average of 48.04 and expedited 123 dismissals. Without him, they are a very different side.

Steven Mullaney, who will captain in Read's absence, has not kicked on since making 113 against Surrey on the opening day of the season. Mullaney is averaging just 30.76. His opening partner Jake Libby (16.75) is also struggling to make a case that he represents a better long-term option than Greg Smith (20.63).

Other than Patel, the dangers with the bat, for Surrey, are Brendon Taylor, who appears to have rediscovered his mojo, overseas all-rounder Dan Christian and Riki Wessels; who may drop down the order if Notts lose the toss and find themselves in the field on day one, on account of needing to don the wicketkeeper's gloves.

The visitors' bowling line-up will be completed by Harry Gurney (24 championship wickets at 27.70 runs apiece this season), Jake Ball (22 at 25.59) and one of Luke Fletcher or Brett Hutton. In three games for Surrey last summer, on loan, Fletcher took eight wickets at an average of 19.37.

Surrey v Nottinghamshire - First-Class Records Sheet

Steven Davies looks set to make his 175th first-class appearance, likewise Samit Patel of Notts. Harry Gurney, who is exactly one hundred behind them, will be playing in his 75th first-class game assuming he gets the nod. Kumar Sangakkara is just 18 runs shy of 19,000 in f-c cricket and, to date, the number of first-class hundreds by Surrey batsmen stands at 1,998.

Dominic Sibley has come through a scan on his back and looks set to replace Jason Roy, who will join up with the England ODI and T20 squad to face Sri Lanka. The hoped for return of Mark Footitt has not materialised. The 30-year-old left-arm seamer is now suffering from a hip/groin issue, having been out, prior to that, with a side strain. James Burke, Aneesh Kapil and Gary Wilson are all named in the hosts' 14-man shortlist. Sam Curran, who will complete his A-Levels next week, is unavailable for selection.

Somerset 28-31 May 2016 Lost By 1 Wicket Taunton 264 & 138 102 & 301-9
Lancashire 22-24 May 2016 Lost By An Inns & 96 Runs Old Trafford 191 & 107 394
Middlesex 15-18 May 2016 Match Drawn The Oval 242 & 98-0 395
Yorkshire 8-11 May 2016 Lost By An Inns & 20 Runs Headingley 330 & 207 557-6d
Durham 1-4 May 2016 Match Drawn The Oval 457 & 244-6 607-7d

Now, before we do anything else, what's the forecast looking like (bearing in mind some bookies have stopped taking bets on this being the wettest June since records began)... Well, days one and three look okay, not so day two. But, given Surrey's plight, one would assume Alec Stewart and Michael Di Venuto have asked for a sporty result-inducing pitch. If things go the distance, Surrey might just have enough wherewithal to cancel out the win Notts scored in the opening week of the season. Prediction - Surrey to break their four-day duck.

Mullaney (capt), J.Libby, M.Lumb, B.Taylor, S.Patel, R.Wessels (wk), D.Christian, J.Ball, L.Fletcher, H.Gurney and M.Walker.

Neil Bainton and Nick Cook. Of the joint total of 21 County Championship games involving Surrey, in which Bainton and Cook have stood, Surrey have lost just two (Notts at the Oval 2008 and Derbyshire at the Oval 2010) and won a total of seven. Combined leg-before-o-meter: 18.7% of dismissals.

10-13 Apr 2016 Lost By 3 Wickets Trent Bridge Uncontested Field 225 & 389 446 & 172-7
8-11 Jul 2013 Match Drawn The Oval Surrey Bat 198 & 395-8d 410
15-18 May 2013 Lost By 114 Runs Trent Bridge Surrey Field 207 & 144 274 & 191
4-7 Sep 2012 Won By 195 Runs The Oval Surrey Bat 269 & 304 227 & 151
18-21 Jul 2012 Match Drawn Trent Bridge Surrey Field 252-6 328
17-19 Sep 2008 Lost By An Inns & 143 Runs The Oval Surrey Bat 267 & 122 532
11-14 Jul 2008 Match Drawn Trent Bridge Notts Field 403 218 & 372-6
26-29 Jul 2005 Match Drawn Trent Bridge Surrey Bat 136 & 292-6d 226 & 169-8
6-9 May 2005 Lost By An Inns & 71 Runs The Oval Surrey Bat 217 & 404 692-7d
13-15 Aug 2003 Won By An Inns & 211 Runs Whitgift Sch Surrey Bat 693 240 & 242
9-11 May 2003 Won By An Inns & 6 Runs Trent Bridge Notts Bat 393 211 & 176
1-2 Sep 1999 Won By 10 Wickets The Oval Notts Bat 199 & 153-0 115 & 233
19-21 Aug 1998 Won By 7 Wickets Trent Bridge Surrey Field 270 & 72-3 213 & 125
27-30 Jun 1997 Won By 131 Runs The Oval Surrey Bat 201-9d & 123-6d 73-1d & 120
22-26 Aug 1996 Match Drawn Trent Bridge Notts Bat 128-4d & 53-0 446-9d & Forfeited
20-24 Jul 1995 Won By 171 Runs Guildford Notts Field 239 & 528-9d 324 & 272
21-23 Jul 1994 Won By An Inns & 231 Runs Trent Bridge Notts Bat 604-4d 125 & 248
29-31 Jul 1993 Won By 3 Wickets The Oval Surrey Bat 228 & 147-7 68 & 306
7-10 Sep 1992 Lost By 5 Wickets Trent Bridge Surrey Bat 207 & 411 357 & 262-5
21-23 Jul 1992 Lost By 3 Wickets The Oval Notts Field 333-4d & 219-7d 201-2d & 352-7