Published: 4th May, 2014
Surrey battled hard on the opening day at Canterbury closing on 276-8 with the middle order all making valuable contributions. Jason Roy (60), Zafar Ansari (48) and on his debut Aneesh Kapil (38) all played well in the face of some excellent Kent bowling.
With the sun shining at the St.Lawrence Ground Surrey won the toss and Graeme Smith had no hesitation in batting first. Arun Harinath was named in the side for the first time this summer and Kapil was handed his Surrey debut.
Smith and Burns made their way to the middle and Kent’s new ball pairing of Doug Bollinger and Mitchell Claydon started very well. Smith scored Surrey’s first runs in the sixth over of the morning but he then departed for 3 when Bollinger trapped him on the crease and the captain was LBW.
Dominic Sibley and Burns came together and both had to work extremely hard in the face of some quality seam bowling. They both showed great patience as they took Surrey through the first hour of the day.
Sibley had moved onto 10 when he edged a good delivery from Adam Ball and Darren Stevens took a safe catch at first slip. Ansari came to the middle and stroked his third ball to the cover boundary but Burns then departed for 12 when he was LBW to Stevens to leave Surrey 32-3.
Steven Davies joined Ansari and got himself moving by pulling Ball to the midwicket boundary and then whipping him for four more. Ansari drove Stevens handsomely to the cover boundary on two occasions and Surrey went to the lunch break with the scoreboard reading 64-3.
After the interval Davies and Ansari started the afternoon session with boundaries and began to benefit from their hard work before lunch. Both looked in good form as they steadied the innings and relaid the foundations as the partnership moved past fifty.
Spin was introduced from Pavilion End in the shape of Adam Riley and he removed Davies for 31 as he looked to go over the top but only found Ben Harmison to leave Surrey 103-4. Roy started in impressive fashion driving his second delivery to the cover boundary and hitting Riley back over his head for four more.
Ansari continued to play extremely well looking watertight in defence but he was also quick to pounce on a scoring opportunity when it presented itself. He moved onto 48 but then struck a Riley delivery straight back to the bowler and departed after facing 101 deliveries.
Roy continued to look in excellent touch and he was joined by Arun Harinath as they guided Surrey to the tea break with the scoreboard reading 162-5. After the interval Roy moved to an excellent fifty from 91 deliveries when he danced down the pitch and lofted Riley to the long off boundary.
Harinath looked solid and the partnership between the pair was worth 47 when Roy looked to sweep Riley and was bowled for 60. Roy’s dismissal brought Kapil to the crease on his Surrey debut and he got off the mark in style cutting Riley to the cover point boundary.
Harinath was quick to seize on anything short of length and Kapil looked assured as Kent took the new ball. And Harinath on 33 departed when he cut the new ball straight to Brendon Nash off Claydon to leave Surrey 240-7.
Kapil continued to look assured in partnership with Stuart Meaker but on 38 he looked to loft Riley into the Pavilion and was stumped to end a very promising innings on his debut. Meaker and Matthew Dunn guided Surrey through to stumps as Dunn struck his first boundary in Championship cricket and Meaker played sensibly.
A very good day of tough cricket at Canterbury and more of the same awaits tomorrow.