Middlesex enjoyed the better of the opening day of the London derby at the Kia Oval. They dismissed Surrey for 144 in their first innings with Jason Roy making 55*. And in reply Middlesex closed on 99-1 with Jade Dernbach taking the late wicket of Chris Rogers for 56.
Surrey decided to bat first after winning the toss and named a starting XI that saw two changes from the side that played Durham. Rory Hamilton-Brown came into the side and Murali Kartik was recalled as Jon Lewis and Matthew Spriegel missed out on selection.
Rory Burns and Zafar Ansari started the morning brightly both finding the boundary off the new ball pairing of Toby Roland Jones and Tim Murtagh. But Burns departed for 6 when he edged Murtagh to the safe hands of Dawid Malan at slip to leave Surrey 10-1.
Ansari was joined by Arun Harinath and they moved the score onto 28 until Ansari was caught behind off Roland-Jones for 10, a first Championship catch for Adam Rossington. And as Ansari made his way back to the dressing rooms rain started falling at the Kia Oval forcing the players off the field of play.
An early lunch was taken and play got underway at 13:30 and Surrey immediately found themselves 28-3 when Roland-Jones trapped Zander de Bruyn LBW without scoring. And that became 33-4 when Murtagh bowled Hamilton-Brown for 3.
Harinath had moved onto 14 but he was LBW to Roland-Jones and Surrey suddenly found themselves 41-5. Jason Roy began confidently finding the boundary on either side of the wicket and at the other end Steven Davies got off the mark punching Roland-Jones to the cover boundary.
Neil Dexter was brought into the attack from the Vauxhall End and he tempted Davies outside the off stump on 16 and a faint outside edge was taken by Rossington behind the stumps. Gareth Batty joined Roy and looked to steady the innings but on 9 he offered no shot to Dexter and was LBW to leave Surrey 97-7.
Roy and Murali Kartik moved Surrey past a hundred but then the rain then returned and an early tea was taken with Surrey 103-7 with Roy unbeaten on 33. Play resumed at 16:00 and the Surrey pair continued to play nicely as Roy mixed solid defence with elegant strokeplay.
Together they moved the score onto 138 but Murtagh then bowled Murali Kartik for 23 to leave Surrey 8 wickets down. Roy moved to an excellent fifty from his 74th delivery with a single off Roland- Jones. It had been a very good effort from Roy with his innings containing eight crisp boundaries.
Murtagh operating from the Pavilion End was in an excellent rhythm and he brought the Surrey innings to a swift conclusion. He firstly had Tim Linley caught by Sam Robson without scoring and next ball had Jade Dernbach LBW as Surrey were all out for 144 with Roy unbeaten on 55.
Chris Rogers and Sam Robson began the Middlesex reply in solid fashion with Rogers in particular looking to be positive. They moved Middlesex past fifty and Rogers from his 69th delivery took himself to an impressive half century which had included seven boundaries.
Together the Middlesex manoeuvred their side towards stumps and looked as if they would bat through the final session of the day. But Dernbach than made a crucial breakthrough when he bowled Rogers for 56 in the penultimate over as Middlesex went to stumps with the scoreboard reading 99-1 with Robson 29*
A tough opening day for Surrey and they know they will have to take wickets on the second morning to force themselves back into the game.