Adam Riley took four wickets as Kent reduced Surrey to 276 for eight on day one of their LV= County Championship Division Two clash at the Spitfire Ground.
The 22-year-old mixed up pace and flight to good effect as his spin claimed the wickets of the three highest scorers of the day: Jason Roy, Zafar Ansari and Aneesh Kapil.
Roy top-scored with 60 before he was bowled by Riley, and Ansari was two short of a half-century when he offered a return catch.
Former Worcestershire player Kapil, making his debut, was stumped late in the day as Riley reached the close with figures of 4-77.
It was Riley’s team-mates who helped the hosts dominate early on though as they had Surrey on 32 for three after electing to bat first.
Australian left-armer Doug Bollinger trapped captain Graeme Smith lbw for three before Dominic Sibley was caught by Darren Stevens off Adam Ball.
Stevens then did the damage himself to remove opener Rory Burns lbw and leave Surrey, without a win in their opening three games, in trouble.
Ansari and Steven Davies, though, started to rebuild the innings with a stand of 71 until Riley got in on the act.
The spinner removed Davies first when Ben Harmison held on at mid-off after the wicketkeeper had made 31.
Ansari hit six fours in his 101-ball knock, but fell on 48 as Riley held a caught-and-bowled chance with a sharp low take.
And he had his third wicket when he bowled Roy behind his legs with the batsman trying to sweep.
Roy's 60 from 100 balls, his first championship half-century of the season, took the visitors to brink of the 200-mark, though, and Kapil and Arun Harinath continued his work by adding useful late runs.
Their seventh-wicket stand was worth 47, Harinath falling first for 33.
It was fitting that it was Riley who claimed the final wicket of the day, Kapil's stay ended by a Sam Billings stumping, to give Kent hope of keeping their opponents below 300.