Ryan Patel started the season with a flourish as Surrey made 168 for three against champions Warwickshire on a heavily rain-affected opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship campaign at Edgbaston.
Patel continued in the good form he had displayed in the pre-season friendlies, batting with verve to race to a 56-ball half-century after Surrey won the toss and chose to bat.
The 24-year-old struck 75 (107 balls) in an opening stand of 117 with Rory Burns before Warwickshire hit back among a series of rain breaks. Burns 41, (77 balls) and Patel fell within four balls of each other, albeit two hours apart either side of a heavy downpour.
Ollie Pope then moved sweetly to an unbeaten 40 (46 balls) in the last session of a day which brought the shivering crowd just 45.5 overs.
On a staccato day, with a bitterly cold wind blowing, it was a bracing opening to their title defence for Warwickshire who were missing their three most potent fast bowlers. Already without England pair Chris Woakes (unavailable) and Olly Stone (long-term injury) they are also without last year’s talisman Liam Norwell due to a back spasm.
After Surrey captain Burns called correctly, he was soon watching approvingly from the other end as Patel sped to his half century with five fours and two sixes. The 100 came up in the 22nd over and when the visitors reached the last ball before lunch on 117 without loss, their day was advancing perfectly to plan.
But Burns then lifted that ball back to bowler Danny Briggs and when play finally resumed in the afternoon, Patel flashed at the fourth ball, a wide offering from Olly Hannon-Dalby, and nicked it to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.
Hashim Amla’s 23-ball stay for two runs was ended when Hannon-Dalby shattered his stumps but, from 126 for three, Surrey were stabilised again by Pope who took advantage of some ill-directed bowling to hit eight fours.
Play resumes tomorrow at 11am. You can follow all the action, check the scorecard and see in-game highlights on the Warwickshire Match Centre.