Jamie Smith century puts Surrey in command - Kia Oval Skip to main content

Jamie Smith served up defiance aplenty to register a hard-earned hundred and give Surrey the upper hand on day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium.

The 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman from Epsom found his touch to raise 111 not out from 238 balls, holding sway for five hours to help Surrey close on a well-placed 294-4.

Smith and Ollie Pope put on a partnership of 151 for the fourth wicket earlier in the day before Smith then shared in an unbroken stand of 106 with Sam Curran as Surrey took control in the final session of the day.

Ollie Pope weighed in with a notable 84, while the free-wheeling Sam Curran served up a late afternoon flourish to finish unbeaten on 57. The two young England players issuing timely reminders of their talent to the new England captain and Director.

Still seeking their first win of the season, Gloucestershire won the toss for the first time in 2022, elected to field and promptly reduced the visitors to 37-3 on a green-tinged pitch. But four dropped catches on a bitterly cold day prevented them from taking advantage of the excellent start afforded them by left arm seamers David Payne and Matt Taylor, who claimed two wickets apiece and made life difficult for the batsmen.

A return to county cricket for Mohammad Amir, recruited for the next three games, proved a chastening affair as the Pakistani Test star bowled with express pace but no luck, twice falling victim to fumbles in the slip cordon as the hosts paid the price for not taking their chances.

Gloucestershire will especially regret giving Smith a life on 48, James Bracey going full length behind the stumps without quite managing to hold on, much to the chagrin of the aggrieved Amir. Smith certainly made the most of his escape, staging a crucial recovery in partnership with Pope.

In the wake of a winter of discontent and bitter defeat, few players are guaranteed a place when England meet New Zealand in the First Test at Lord’s on June 2. Yet Pope has surely established himself as a surefire selection after his latest meaningful contribution. Accustomed to facing quick bowling on hard Australian surfaces during last winter’s Ashes series, the 24-year-old batsman has quickly readjusted to English conditions, coming into this contest with scores of 127, 58 and 47 under his belt. Dropped on 72 by Miles Hammond at slip attempting to work Graeme van Buuren’s slow left arm, he took full advantage of Gloucestershire’s profligacy and has now accrued 321 runs at an average of 64.2.

The day undoubtedly belonged to Jamie Smith though as he registered his fifth First Class century, mustering the character, resolve and judgment needed to play himself in he went to 50 via 118 balls, playing a pivotal role in a burgeoning partnership which required 33 overs to realise three figures.

The stand was worth 151 when Gloucestershire were finally afforded some relief, Pope losing concentration momentarily and clipping a length ball from Payne to Jack Taylor at mid-wicket with the score on 188. But there was no stopping the indomitable Smith, who drove Ryan Higgins straight down the ground to register his fifteenth boundary and with it his first hundred of the season.

Surrey had banked a batting bonus point by the time the second new ball was taken, and they had another in the bag after the aggressive Curran took advantage of a tiring attack to plunder nine boundaries in a 52-ball half century.
Exposed to the worst of the conditions and dismissed relatively cheaply in their first innings in three previous matches, Gloucestershire jumped at the chance to insert their opponents when skipper van Buuren called correctly beneath leaden skies. His decision proved the right one, Surrey’s top order struggling to contain Amir’s pace and the movement generated by Payne and Matt Taylor during a morning session in which leather dominated willow.

Rory Burns succumbed to Matt Taylor’s first ball, held by Chris Dent low down at second slip for six. Payne also announced himself by taking a wicket with his first delivery of the season, persuading the ball to nip back off the seam and pin Ryan Patel in his crease for nine. Hashim Amla was eventually squared up by Taylor and caught by Hammond at third slip, at which point Surrey were well and truly under the pump. From a shaky beginning they flourished and thanks to the efforts of Smith, Pope and Curran they can consider themselves to have a strong foothold in the game.