Division One leaders Surrey reached 318/4 at stumps on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship with Kent at Beckenham.
Ollie Pope hit 96 in a stand of 178 with Ben Foakes, who was unbeaten on 86, while opener Ryan Patel made 76.
The division’s bottom side had reduced Surrey to 123/3 shortly after lunch, but despite two for 73 from Nathan Gilchrist, Kent laboured for most of the day.
Backed by a sizeable number of travelling fans, Surrey won the toss and chose to bat, to a collective groan from the home fanbase, demoralised after conceding 500 runs or more in every first innings so far this season.
Their initial pessimism proved well-grounded as openers Rory Burns and Patel were almost entirely untroubled during the morning session. Aside from an edge from the latter that just eluded the slips, Surrey suffered few alarms and Patel brought up his 50 when he pulled Gilchrist for four.
They were 105 without loss at lunch, only for Kent to drag themselves back into contention with three wickets for 17 runs at the start of the afternoon session. Patel slashed Matt Quinn to Zak Crawley at second slip and Burns was then lbw to Gilchrist for 30.
Hashim Amla made just 12 when he feathered the same bowler behind and for the next hour the scoring rate slowed, but Pope and Foakes tilted the momentum back in Surrey’s favour by batting through the rest of the session.
Pope then drove Darren Stevens for two to pass fifty, helping the visitors to 206/3 at tea. In a one-sided evening session, Foakes took a single from Daniel Bell-Drummond to reach his half-century, but Pope fell short of three figures when he was strangled down the leg-side by Stevens.
It was the first time Pope had been dismissed in the nineties in county cricket, but although Stevens looked threatening in the gathering gloom, Kent were unable to inflict any further damage, with Jamie Overton unbeaten on 12 at stumps.